The last two weeks of Building Your X-Factor focused on increasing your range of motion in the trunk. Without the proper flexibility and strength in the trunk your ability to generate more turn will be compromised.
The X-Factor specifically relates to the ration of rotation between the hips and shoulders. Jim McLean suggests that the optimal hip turn is 45 degrees to a 90 degree shoulder turn. Today we will target increasing your hip flexibility. Many of the e-mails I receive inquire about how to generate more action in the hips. Your ability to generate power from your hips will help you increase your distance off the tee. Additionally the ability to maintain mobility in the hips has a direct correlation to pain relief in the lumbar spine as well as the knees. Practice these yoga poses four days a week and you will see the results as you generate more action the hips as well a decrease in discomfort in the lower back.
Note: I practice these stretches after I travel and the poses immediately alleviates stiffness. Remember to breathe deeply, in and out through the nose.
Here we go!
Begin by stabilizing the ball against the wall. Place the top of your right foot against the ball and your right knee on the floor. Slide your left leg forward, draw your navel towards your spine and tuck the pelvis under. Inhale deeply and on the exhalation press the top of your right foot into the ball as you focus on increasing the angle of the heel to the glut. Relax the muscles, repeat five to ten times and switch sides.
Note: If this aggravates the left knee, place a towel under your knee.
Senior Golfer Tip: Modify the pose by standing as you place the top of the foot on the seat of a chair and use the back of a second chair to support the hands.
This pose is demonstrated in four positions ' the preparation, Par, Birdie and Eagle levels.
Begin with the legs together as you sit on your left glut. Bring the left leg forward and the right leg back.
The goal is to bring the femur to a ninety degree angle to the body and the lower leg at the knees to be at a ninety degree angle. Inhale as you draw the navel towards the spine and stabilize the core. On the exhalation, fold forward over the front leg. Hold for three breaths in this position and repeat five times. Switch sides.
Spread the legs as wide as possible and flex the feet towards the body. Engage the gluts and walk the hands forward between the legs. Hold for five breaths, return to the starting position and repeat three times.
Note: Maintain your posture in this pose. Keep rolling the shoulders back. It is not necessary to get your elbows to the floor. If you feel discomfort in the back of the knees, bend the knees slightly.
Place the outside of the left foot on the ball (or slightly above the right knee). Draw the navel towards your spine and on your exhale bend your right knee as you fold forward. Maintain your posture and focus on bringing your chest towards your shin. Hold for three deep breaths and repeat three times. Switch sides.
Note: I demonstrate this pose using the ball but if you are working on your balance remove the ball and balance on one leg.