In the last blog post I wrote, I talked about the importance of a pre round warm up and its relation to injury prevention (click here.)While injury prevention is important and should be enough to encourage you to consider warming up before your round, a proper warm up can also enhance your performance on the course. Research shows that warming up properly will increase the club head speed of all golfers. Increased club head speed leads to improved distance, consistency and accuracy on the course which will relate to decreases in your scores1!
This blog post will cover the following topics:
- The anatomy of a golf swing in relation to golf performance
- How flexibility in our hips can unlock our best swing
- The research of how to increase your swing speed, contact consistency and accuracy
Anatomy of the Golf Swing
If you read my previous blog post you’ll remember that I focused on the importance of the hips in relation to the golf swing by preventing over compensation of the low back. This doesn’t change when looking at our golf performance. The hips are still the most important component of our swing. The golf swing is all about rotation of the hips from backswing to downswing and follow through. The hips also happen to be home to the most powerful muscles of our body. That being said, if our hips aren’t flexible enough, they can also be the biggest detractor of our golf swing. Underutilization of the hips during golf swing will leave us with shots off target in both distance and accuracy.
Let’s take a look at the hips!
Over time, humans have become increasingly sedentary due to increases in technology and office jobs. Instead of walking everywhere we go, we now drive. Instead of manual labor, we now sit at a computer. This seated posture puts our hips in a closed position and decreases the length of the muscles in the front of the hip. Unfortunately, for many of our sports that we play including golf, the front of the hips need to be flexible and ready to go! Warming up can temporarily reverse the effects of our sitting posture in order to unlock the hips for our golf swing. Properly warming up the hips will improve our scores by improving proper contact, distance and accuracy2!
How hip flexibility improves our golf swing
It is shown that our hips have 90 degrees of rotation available to each individual hip, while each segment of our low back only offers 5 degrees of motion totaling up to only 25-30 degrees. Increasing flexibility of one specific muscle in the hips will allow for increasing in hip rotation. This muscle is called the iliopsoas. The iliopsoas muscle is one of the longest muscles in our body and connects our low back to our legs. If this muscle is not flexible, our hips are not allowed to rotate. Therefore, increasing flexibility is a must for a simple tee box warm up. A common hip flexor stretch such as the own shown below is an extremely effective way to increase hip rotation before our round.
How a proper dynamic warm up activates our hips
You may often hear that power in our golf swing comes from our legs. But when looking at people swing the club on the driving range and on the course, it is easy to see that most of us aren’t using our legs to drive our swing3. Many of us are rotating from our low back which will not only lead to injuries but will also decrease our ability to put the ball where we want it3. The reason behind this is that our hips are home to powerful muscles as well as a large amount of movement3.
If we aren’t getting the hip muscles ready for the golf swing, our low back will compensate and we will see decreases in club head speed leading to decreased accuracy and distance while increasing your scores2. Implementing warm ups that increase activation in the proper muscles of our hips will increase our ability to utilize our hips in our golf swing and allow us to generate more power.
The ability to implement a simple tee box warm up can reduce the effects of our daily sedentary lifestyles and unlock our hips to drive us to our best swing. Increasing flexibility and increasing muscle activation in the proper muscles will make your swing feel better and decrease your scores on any given round. Implementing a proper golf warm up will not only enhance your current round, but repeated implementation of a golf warm up over time positively correlates with steady increases in club head speed, solid contact and distances.2 But the warm up alone isn’t enough, it may affect your current round in a positive way but maintaining flexibility and strength in our hips and core will take your game to a whole new level. Implementing a warm up can not only increase our score but will also decrease our likelihood of getting injured.
If you are interested in learning more about a tee box warm up click on the link below where you can sign up for a 20 minute golf warm-up related visit with me to learn how:
1. We can improve our hip flexibility and reverse the effects of our daily lives before every round of golf
2. We can activate the muscles around our hips to increase the utilization of the biggest muscles in our body
3. Limitations in our hips can lead to a very treatable kind of low back pain.
Fradkin AJ, Sherman CA, Finch CF Improving golf performance with a warm up conditioning programme British Journal of Sports Medicine 2004;38:762-765
Gergley, J. C. (2009). Acute effects of passive static stretching during warm-up on driver clubhead speed, distance, accuracy, and consistent ball contact in young male competitive golfers. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 23(3), 863-867.
Sherman, C. A., & Finch, C. F. (2000). Preventing injuries to competitive and recreational adult golfers: what is the evidence?. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 3(1), 65-78.