This is Andrew Fodge with Fitness by Andrew Personal Training based out of Scottsdale, AZ. I am a TPI Certified Trainer and I’ve got this month’s golf fitness tip for you. John Greig, head pro at Tatum ranch and a colleague who works with us here, is going to help me demonstrate this month’s tip. Today we are going to talk about how to improve this hip hinge action when you get into setup posture, when you try to maintain posture, as you go through your swing. If you cannot maintain some type of athletic hinge or bend in the hips, you are going to have a really hard time developing any kind of speed, staying in posture, compressing the ball . What we are going to show, is a simple test that we use in our Titleist Performance Screen to see if there is restriction in the back of the legs, hamstrings or hips. I will also show 3 thing to fix that. We will start with a progression, from an easy stretch to a mobility exercise to a strength exercise. You don’t have to do all three, but they do help in terms of improving this action in your body. If you or your pro says “I need to keep a better hinge in my hips.”, this will be a great progression of exercises for you to see. The first exercise is a simple test to see if you can touch your toes. First, try to touch both at the same time. With the second part of this test, I want to make sure that each leg is balanced with the other and try touch each side individually. One side may be more mobile than the other, which is something that can be fixed later. Hopefully as we go through this, those legs balance out. If you sit a lot, if you are on your feet stuck in one position all day, you may have an imbalance. We are going to try to change the pattern that you are used to and get the functional movement that we need.
So the first thing that we will try is having John place his toes on this 3 inch foam block. If you do not have a block, you can use a rolled up beach towel. That will provide about the same height. Then we are going to place a second block between the knees, where they hinge. I want him to put a clamp like pressure on the block between the knees, maintaining it the whole time. With arms raised overhead, he is going to reach down for the toes. Knees slightly bent, putting a lot of pressure on that block. Keep the pressure, squeeze the glutes and reach back up for the ceiling. We will do 10 repetitions. As you can see, he is able to get lower with each rep. We are teaching his hips and legs that he can reach further. If you have never been able to touch your toes, this exercise could change that for you.
With our next variation, we will have his heels propped up. This is a bit more of a balance challenge, so be sure to go slow. We are teaching the body how to hinge from the hips. You will feel more activation coming from the abdominals, core, and overall balance throughout the body. The movement is the same, reaching up for the ceiling, then hinging forward for the toes keeping a controlled speed and reaching as far as you can for the floor, and the ceiling while keeping the clamp pressure with the knees. As you rise up, squeeze the glutes and contract your abs. About 10 reps should be enough. Now, we will repeat the initial test that we performed. I am very certain that if you did only this, your hinge and mobility through the hips would get better. It is a great warm up exercise for before you play or workout.
This next exercise is great for mobility.This is called a “Waiter’s Bow”, I’ve also heard it called “Forward Hinge”, “Hip Hinge”, “Good Morning”. It doesn’t matter, we just want it to improve our hip hinge by using the wall and a club. So take a club, preferably a long iron, or driver if you want to and i want it place the prop that we are using, from the tailbone, shoulder blades to the back of the head. We need to get a foot length away from the wall. Put one heel against the baseboard of the wall, the other heel against the big toe, and we will set our feet our foot length distance away from the wall. It is very important to measure. If you go too far out, it will be impossible, if you are too close, you are not going to feel it. Get into golf posture, keep the shaft of the club at the back of the head, the shoulder blades and the tailbone. Then, we are going to bow pushing the hips back, trying to touch the butt to the wall and rise back up, clenching the glutes. Hinging from the hips and popping back up. We are trying to stretch out the hamstrings at the same time our glutes touch the wall. You should feel both happening roughly at the same time. You can see John doing the hinge. Back is straight, we still have the natural curve of the spine, the lower back and the neck. We are not trying to straighten that out to much, trying to maintain neutral posture as we hinge from the hips. If your body has an easier time hinging the hips, this far, you can imagine how much easier golf posture will be. It will not be a struggle to maintain that hip hinge as you set up and as you are moving through your swing. We did one arm up and one behind, so it is important that you switch hand positions as. Sometimes you might not get as far due to a restriction in the upper back or spine. You can do 10 reps with left arm up and 10 more with the right arm up. Keeping that hinge going. This is another great warm up and will teach those hips to maintain a better hip hinge.
This is our strength exercise to help improve this hip hinge ability in the body. If you had a hard time with the previous 2 exercises. I would not suggest doing what we are about to demonstrate until those first 2 exercises become easier for you. If those were great, you feel like you are holding the posture and you feel ready for more of a challenge, then lets show you a deadlift using a kettlebell. We can use a kettle bell, dumbell, bar, medicine ball, any type of prop with some weight is going to work. We are using 35lbs, because I know John has done this before. If you are just starting to learn how to do this type of exercise, use 5-10 lbs until you feel like you’ve mastered that exercise with that weight. If you can do 10-15 repetitions for 2 sets, then I would say start to increase the weight to where you can do 8-12 reps with good form and technique. If you aren’t sure, get a trainer, call us here at Fitness By Andrew, find a trainer on MyTPI.com.
For this exercise, I will have John straddle the kettlebell. If you use a dumbbell or medicine ball, it is the same technique. Now he will line his ankles up with the kettlebell, hinge down almost into a squat, just to get set. Now I want his elbows pointing forward which helps line up his shoulder blades. He is in a nice, neutral posture with a flat back. If you cannot get into this position, do not perform this exercise.He’s going to squeeze the glutes, rise up nice and tall fully extended, clenching the glutes, stick the hips back out. What makes this a deadlift movement, is that the shins stay vertical. If this was a squat, the shins would angle forward, which they are not doing.When the shins are vertical, it keeps the tension and pressure in the hamstrings, glutes, and back side of hips. If you bring the knees forward, you are losing the benefit of the deadlift. We are going to 10 reps. Important to push the hips back, exaggerating the tension on the hips. When you are done, bend the knees, set it down and release the weight, and up. About 10 reps, if you can do 15 with the weight you are starting with, go a little heavier for 8-12 reps is a great margin to shoot for. If you need help, call us at Fitness By Andrew, or look on MyTPI.com for a trainer that might be in your area. That will be sure to help you.
Andrew Fodge is a certified Titleist Performance Institute golf fitness instructor, K-Vest Level 2 biomechanic specialist and the owner Fitness by Andrew LLC personal training in Scottsdale, Arizona. Specializing in Golf Fitness, High Intensity Intermittent Training, Sport Performance training and Weight Loss techniques. Andrew and his team are here to provide you with a comprehensive one-of-a-kind program to help you achieve real results. Call Andrew at 602-638-3000 or email at Andrew@fitnessbyandrew.com for a complementary golf performance screening.