Functional Exercises for Golf

Hip Extension with Feet on the Stability Ball

Hip stability is a very important aspect of movement. No matter what you want to engage in, be it walking, running, tai chi, tennis, or swimming. Specifically, hip stability plays a key part in the mechanics of golf. The stability of your hips comes from good core engagement and the ability to coordinate the musculature of the Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip complex.

The primary purpose of the functional exercise being presented here is to develop Neuromuscular Integration. Neuromuscular Integration ties movements together so that the body, as a whole, operates as a synchronous unit.

How this exercise can benefit your golf game:

  1. Trains the posterior chain muscles (back, hamstrings, and glutes) to work together
  2. Conditions the core musculature as stabilizers
  3. Improves postural endurance
  4. Improves coordination
  5. Improves balance

Directions

  • Lie on your back and place your feet on the ball. Start with the feet separated and bring them closer together as you progress.
  • The little muscles are working
    We want to develop more spinal mobility.
  • Put your arms out to your side with the palms facing up. If this is your first time using the stability ball and your balance is not yet refined, your may want to place your calves on the ball and your arms straight out to the your sides at a 90° angle to your trunk.
  • From the start position, extend the hips into the air, over the count of three, until your ankle, hips and shoulder all line up. Hold for three seconds and then lower for three seconds.
  • Length of the lumbar spine
    The stability of the shoulders and the hips enables us to sustain this position.
  • As you become more proficient at this functional exercise, you can move your hands closer to your body. Also, you can either articulate the spine from the floor, place less of your legs on the ball or move your arms closer to your body, eventually placing them across your chest. All of these variations can serve to make the exercise more challenging and thereby lead to greater neuromuscular integration.

Instability in the hips leads to compensations in the mechanics of the golf swing. Specifically, when the hips are unstable, that instability translates into the shoulders, the spine and the knees. These parts of the body, that work to make up for the lack of stability in the hips, will eventually experience various aches, pains and sundry complications.

This is a challenging, yet basic, exercise. The hips may be restrictive due to tight hip flexors or the lower back may not be strong enough to support the work of the Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip complex. Greater nueromuscular integration, that comes as a result of performing this functional exercise, will help with challenges in the hips and low back areas. As you perform this exercise, these areas will become less and less of a hindrance to improving your golf game.

Video – Stretching the low back

References – Paul Chek, The Golf Biomechanics Manual, 2001

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