Power from the Hips - Week 1

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In the golf swing the glutes and hips support a solid foundation as well as power and distance in your swing. Strength and flexibility in the hips is important in the acceleration phase of the golf swing. The ability to access that power from your glutes is a direct benefit from having flexibility in the hip flexors and quadriceps as well as promoting hip extension by using the full contraction of the glutes.
 
Additionally, the psoas, a muscle which connects at the inside of the femur bone up to the thoracic spine, effects stability of the lumbar spine. When the psoas is tight, as is the case with most golfers, it inhibits hip rotation, depleting maximum power at impact and inhibiting extension in the finish position of the golf swing.
 
In addition, often low back discomfort can be disguised as shortened hip flexors. When a golfer tries to increase abdominal strength to create a healthier back they often decrease hip mobility. Without this flexibility we will not only have a full range of motion in the hips and you will be challenged to engage and use the full intensity of the glutes to power through the swing.
 
The following yoga-based stretch / pose focuses directly on the hips and glutes. Remember to breathe deeply through the nose.
 
Hip Flexor stretch with ball:

Note: This stretch can be done with the top of your back foot on a Thera-Ball, the wall or place the top of the foot on the floor.
 
Yoga for GolfersPar Level: Begin on your hands and knees placing the right foot on the ball. Bring the left knee so it is directly under your shoulder, touching your left wrist. Inhale deeply through the nose. On the exhalation press the top of the foot into the ball and squeeze your right glute. Inhale again and on the next exhale allow the body to relax as you move deeper into the stretch. Repeat five times.

 
Yoga for GolfersBirdie Level: Bring the left foot to the floor, placing the left knee at a 90 degree angle. Note: Do not allow the angle at the knee to be less than 90 degrees. Repeat as described above for three more repetitions.

 
Yoga for GolfersEagle Level: Place your hands on your knee bringing your body to an upright position. Note: It is critical that you engage your core abdominal muscles. Pull your navel towards your spine and visualize your ribcage listing off the waist. Repeat the dynamic stretch three more times.

 
Half and Full Pigeon pose:

Note: In these poses you should never experience any knee discomfort.
 
Yoga for GolfersHalf Pigeon pose - Par Level: Place the left leg at a 90 degree angle in front of the body and the right leg behind you at a 90 degree angle. Inhale as you pull the navel towards the spine and fold the upper body over the front leg on the exhalation. Repeat five times and switch sides.

 
Yoga for GolfersFull Pigeon pose - Eagle Level: Bring the left leg forward aligning the left knee directly under the left shoulder. Slide the right leg back while focusing on maintaining the top of the leg facing the floor. Do not allow the right leg to externally rotate. Fold forward and hold for five to ten breaths. Switch sides.

 
Bound Angle pose at the wall:

Yoga for GolfersPar Level: Sit as tall as possible with the entire spine against the wall. Bring the soles of the feet together and towards the groin. On the exhalation press the knees towards the floor. Hold for three seconds, relax and repeat five times.


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    Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@KRTotalFitness.com or visit www.KRTotalFitness.com.