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golf swing

Increase mobility and improve your golf swing

It goes without saying that mobility is key when it comes to the golf swing. But improving it involves more than you might think. Fitness professional Rachael Tibbs reveals all
 

When I say mobility, most assume it’s all to do with stretching and flexibility. However, to improve how we move and the positions we’re able to get into in our golf swing, it’s as much about strengthening as anything else.

Strengthening the muscles at the end range of any given movement is essential to being able to control that position.

Simply stretching a tight muscle will not give you the capability to produce an action as dynamic as that required in the golf swing.

By working on your movement and control through the three key areas (spine, shoulders and hips), you’ll not only feel improvements in your swing, but you’ll also benefit from better performance and health.

Hips

As we all know, a good hip turn is an essential part of the golf swing so mobility in this area is vital. Not only that, but without it, you put yourself at risk of injury as the body compensates for this lack of movement by straining other areas like the lower back.

Additionally, inadequate rotation often leads to inconsistency in your golf game. Lateral movements such as sways and slides become ingrained habits that help us feel like we’re making a full turn, but really we’re losing out on power and speed that could be generated by using our hips properly.

The 90/90 transition is a great way to improve the range of motion through the hips, making it easier to load into your backswing and rotate through impact.

And this tactical frog exercise develops strength in the inner and outer parts of the hip. This allows you to pull and push with the hips and generate more force in your swing.

T-Spine

Rotation of the torso is crucial in enabling you to make a full turn and load into your backswing. Without it, many players have a tendency to use their arms in the takeaway and lose the connection to the body. This can result in the shoulders becoming flat which makes it harder to generate power and strike the ball consistently.

A powerful rotation of the upper body starts with a pull from the lead arm as opposed to a push from the trail side. Being able to create this movement but also produce force and speed is an advantage in your golf swing.

The rotational punch and pull exercise below isolates the upper body and focuses on using both arms to create a pull and push movement.

They can be performed with a band or cable and are great for developing stability in the trunk and legs as well as creating torso rotation.

Having the ability to segment and move through the spine helps to maintain a healthy back but also allows us to create movement. Cat camels are a great exercise for this as you work through flexion (rounding of the spine) and extension (arching of the spine). Any limitations in either of these movement patterns will result in some form of compensation.

Shoulders

It is very important that we have adequate rotation at the shoulder, especially in the trail arm as this allows you to set the angle of the club at the top of your backswing. This will enable you to create more width and generate greater rotational forces.

The shoulder is a very unstable joint due to the large amount of movement it can achieve when optimal. To improve shoulder mobility, we must focus on strengthening the muscles that stabilise it.

A great way to do this is through these reverse openers. They challenge and strengthen the stabilisers of the shoulders and the core, which helps to ensure that energy produced from the ground can be effectively transferred to the clubhead.

These wall slides also help to develop mobility and strength of the shoulders as you maintain a neutral spine.

Working on all these exercises will help you develop better movement and control through your golf swing, which will improve ball striking and decrease the risk of injury.

Rachael Tibbs is a TPI L2 certified golf fitness professional based in Leeds. She specialises in golf-specific strength and conditioning. You can visit her website or follow her on Twitter

Andrew Wright

NCG's instruction editor. Terrible student so trying my hand at passing on some of the best advice I've never listened to. Member of Royal Troon. Favourite golfer is two-time major winner and hall of famer, Retief Goosen.

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