The Importance of the Hip Flexors in the Golf Swing

Many of us have found ourselves in a sedated lifestyle which places us in a seated position for most of the hour of the day. Most of us are guilty of not ‘undoing’ the bad stresses of the day (i.e. stretching, exercise, relaxation) and often becomes a compounded issue over time. This week we will be looking at an important area of the body that is most affected by social habits that may be hurting your back and your golf game; the hip flexor. 

The hip flexor area can be defined as the area in front of the hip that can consist of the lower abdominal region and upper thigh. In detail, the primary hip flexor complex, named the iliopsoas, begins longt the transverse processes of the lumbar spine and along the iliac crest of the pelvis. The isliopsoas travels anteriorly over the ipsilateral coxal bone and attaches to the lesser tubercle of the femur located on the upper groin area. Looking at is function, this muscle plays a huge role in movement in the saggital plane, influences rotational movement that occurs in the frontal plane as well as hip alignment issues. Due to its line of pull, the hip flexor can be stretched in both hip extension and 90 degree internal rotation.

Anterior view of the iliopsoas complex

When sustaining a seated position for long periods of time, the hip flexor is able to shorten which allows for the connective tissues to bind up if not properly stretched. Let us look at this particular area in how it effects the golf swing if the right hip flexor is shortened. Due to the needed internal rotation of the right hip at the top of the swing (right handed golfer), any restriction or hip misalignment can decrease the ability to do so. This lack of ‘loading’ of the right hip prevents efficient firing to promote proper sequencing in the downswing. Hip extension on the right side is also necessary to completely ‘finish’ the swing. A restricted iliopsoas complex will again prevent such movement and create an abbreviated swing.

To effectively stretch the hip flexor, refer to kneeling hip flexor stretch link. It will give you proper details on how focus the stretch on the proper side. As a general rule of thumb, spend more time stretching the side that feels tighter. It is important to create balance in the body to reduce the risk of injury. Work consistently on increasing hip flexibility and see it improve your golf swing and lifestyle.

If you try these exercises and you find them to be too challenging or uncomfortable, do not continue, until you have consulted with your physician.  All exercises for golf should be customized to your needs after a proper evaluation.

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