Monday, April 30, 2012

Golfers and Pelvis Dis-Association

It's that time of the year again! The time when old, wealthy golfers approach me to hear the big secret to hitting the golf ball an extra 50 yards...or how to lower their handicap...or how to keep their lower backs from tightening up once they get to the 6th hole. The golf professionals will try to sell them a new $350 club, while I will lie them on a table and assess their hip mobility. With a few stretches, corrective drills, and special movement cues, I will set them on their way, to hopefully, a more enjoyable game and one less useless club in their bag.

Since 2005-2006, I've been a big proponent of hip mobility. So much,  that at the time, I developed a DVD product just on the topic.  Before working with golfers, I had learned that the more freedom  there is at the hip joint, the more the workload shifts to the hips and glutes, rather than the lumbar spine. Years ago,  I suffered chronic low back pain from incorrect squatting, useless leg presses, and overall poor posture. Through my own corrective exercise studies and working with more sedentary clients that sat all day; I learned how to incorporate corrective drills to move the hips more independently from the torso. The more mobile the hips became,  the less stress was experienced by the lower back. Essentially, the lower back muscles were spared during heavy lifting sessions and the force production was generated by the stronger hips and glutes. The erectors of the lower back still came into play during triple extension movements, but they weren't the primary movers that you typically see in individuals with poor posture (sway back or kyphotic).

As I begin my season working with golfers desperately seeking the "solution" to their swinging woes, I am often reminded at how much it will take to "free the hips". One of the drills that I tend to demonstrate is the Pelvis Dis-Association Drill:

Try the exercise by placing your feet about shoulder-width apart and slightly bending the knees and hips. This is your "athletic stance". Secondly, place your arms over your chest (like a mummy). With your shoulder blades pulled back and tight, keep your belly button facing straight ahead. With the feet "grabbing" the ground, begin to rotate or shift your hips left and right--sort of like you are performing the hula dance. The most important aspect of this drill is to avoid having the torso move or rotate with the hips.

In this article I wrote for Mike Robertson a while back, I explain that movement is produced within our body's system of levers. In order to initiate movement, stop it, or change the speed of it, we have to brace one part of the body to allow the intended segments to move in the manner that we desire. The ground is used intentionally and extensively in sports and daily life. For the drill above, the upper and lower body segments are dis-associated from each other by means of stability and mobility. In the stable segment, the torso is braced by way of core stability. The ground  or surface becomes a major player in the next video, because we change the segments that are mobile and stable.

In the T-Spine Dis-association Drill above, the lower body "grabs" the floor and braces to separate the torso from the lower body. These two drills are the premise to an effective golf swing and were introduced by Dr. Greg Rose for Titliest years ago.

Remember, you want to dis-associate the two segments. At first, your rotation will be very slight and possibly minimal. Continue this drill at least everyday for approximately 2 minutes 2-4 times a day. Within a few weeks, you should begin to see a "swiveling" effect between your bottom half and top half. This process can be made quicker with regular foam rolling and massage therapy to increase tissue suppleness.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?


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