This is part 2 of a 4 part series examining different phases of the golf swing. These phases include the set-up, back swing, transition into the downswing, and weight shift and rotation to impact. Most know that each phase is important into achieving a consistent and powerful golf swing. What this series will provide are simple exercise interventions to make each phase easier for the amateur golfer. Today I will be writing about physical interventions and exercises to make a better back swing.

In previous posts (see post 1 and post 1B) I talked about the importance of posture and gave you some exercises to help improve your golf address and set-up. Without going into detail (click links if you would like details!), I cannot underemphasize the importance of getting into a good set-up. It truly sets the stage for more success with the following phases of the golf swing. Once you improve your posture, it’s time to start thinking about improving your backswing.

Proper sequencing and maintenance of posture in the backswing is crucial for developing a consistent and powerful swing. It is widely accepted that the correct sequence of the backswing leads with a takeaway of the club head with the hands and arms, followed by rotation of the torso, and then rotation of the hips. Many amateur golfers tend rotate into the backswing without any separation of their upper and lower body. This makes it impossible to achieve proper back-swing sequencing and leads to a greater risk of loss of posture The consequence of this is an increased chance that your club head will deviate off plane which will lead to inconsistent ball striking

 

 

Again, the proper sequence of the back-swing is hands, torso, hips. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. When I evaluate the movements of golfers just beginning golf fitness programs I commonly see the inability of them to independently rotate their upper and lower body. Most beginners will not be able to rotate their torso while keeping the hips still, and vise versa. If the golfer cannot independently rotate the upper and lower body then swing flaws in the backswing are likely.

One exercise called the Torso Acceleration drill is a great way to test your ability to rotate your upper body independently of the lower body. Begin this drill by assuming a neutral address posture right in front of a wall and cross your arms around your chest. In this position, both of your glutes (butt cheeks) should be lightly touching the wall. Now, while maintaining glute contact with the wall, rotate your torso into a backswing position. If your left butt cheek (for a right handed golfer) leaves the wall then you know your hips are rotating with your torso. This should be avoided! Return to a neutral position and repeat to the other side.

There are a number of reasons as to why golfers struggle to rotationally separate their upper body from their lower body. I suggest you find golf fitness professional in your area to pinpoint your physical weaknesses and restrictions. However, issues with upper body rotational separation commonly come from upper body restriction in rotational range of motion, and poor stability of the lower body and hips. To improve your range of motion and mobility, try doing the open book exercise. To improve the strength and stability at your hips, try the clam shell and glute bridge exercise. Do these for a week or two and come back and re-assess the Torso Acceleration drill. You should see an improvement of both the drill and your ability to properly sequence and maintain posture in the golf swing.

In my next post I will continue to talk about the backswing and provide more advanced exercises for you to try. If you have any questions about this or golf fitness in general, please email me directly at [email protected].

Jason Rivkin, BS, CGFI-FL1

Golf Fitness Coach

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