Rotational Stability: The Key to a Fluid Golf Swing

Written by Kyle

Rotational stability is super important in your golf swing – you need to be able to be stable in the musculature from your hips right up through your core and into your shoulder girdle or else your swing control will suffer and likely your power will too. Think about your swing as a kinetic chain of energy transfer from your legs right up to your arms. As energy is transferred up the chain, each level below needs to create a stable base or platform for the movement occurring about. So your hips rotate and then stabilize for the rotation in your trunk which in turn stabilizes the body for your arm movement. This occurs in both your backswing and forward swing so without good rotational stability, a lot can go wrong in just a few seconds.

Today I’m going to talk about an excellent, often overlooked exercise, that is functional and simple yet effective. It’s called the quadruped arm and leg raise. Yes it’s very descriptive but it’s a mouthful! So for simplicity’s sake I’ll refer to it as the Bird Dog, perhaps a familiar term for you yogis out there. And if you aren’t familiar with the exercise take a look at the video and you’ll quickly see why it’s called that ;). It is excellent for strengthening your low back muscles, abdominals and deep core muscles. And it has the added benefit of strengthening your glutes, your traps and your deltoids. All of these together is a perfect recipe for better posture, on and off of the golf course. To perform the exercise, start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees just outside of hip width. Keep your back flat. Slowly raise one arm out in front and the opposite leg straight back. Hold for 3-5 seconds and return back to all fours. Watch the video to see exactly how it’s done!

The Quadruped

 

What to Avoid

Rotating!  

Okay so this may seem counterintuitive since the first thing I mentioned is this blog was rotation. But we’re talking about rotational stability which is stabilizing your spine against rotation. A good way to ensure that you’re not rotating is placing a ball in the small of your back. You’ll quickly realize if you’re rotating because that ball will fall right off. This is not easy so go slowly and keep practicing!

Leaning outside your base of support

I commonly see this mistake. It pretty much goes hand-in-hand with rotating your spine. Leaning out over the supporting hip is going to make the exercise easier but it’s almost certainly meaning you’re rotating and not engaging your core. Not to mention you’re not getting the benefit of working glute medius, an important stabilizer of the hip joint. Widening your knee position can help remedy this or you can try performing the movement against the wall on the side of the supporting leg.

Hunching or overextending your spine  

Don’t hunch your upper back or overextend your low back. This puts your core and upper back muscles in a poor position to be properly activated and promotes bad, not good posture.

How to Make it More Challenging

Do it on a bench

Set up along the length of the bench with hand and opposite leg positioned on the bench. The padding of the bench will add instability and the height of the bench will ensure you perform the movement slowly and under control so you don’t fall off! For an added challenge, set up with just your knee and hand on the bench. Removing the foot removes a point of contact. For an even bigger challenge, set-up along the width of the bench.

Make your body longer

Lengthen your set-up by positioning your hands out in front of your shoulders instead of right under them. This will make your core work harder!

Add weight

Hold dumbbells in your hands and ankle weights around your ankles. It will add more stress on the core and work your glutes and upper back that much more.

 

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