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Optimal training for hip and thoracic mobility in your golf swing!

Optimal training for hip and thoracic mobility in your golf swing!

Optimal training for hip and thoracic mobility in your golf swing!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

In my golf instruction, I talk a lot to my students about rotational power in their golf swing.  

I have also learned that since introducing biomechanics testing into my instruction, some people need to move their lower bodies quicker.  But some cannot do so because of biomechanic restrictions and need to move their upper torso quicker to create speed for more distance.  These exercises make perfect sense to me as they address both of these optimal training issues perfectly.  Thanks to Travis Hansen of GolfWrx for putting together a great article!

Optimal training for hip and thoracic mobility in your golf swing!

When it comes to athletic-based training (sprinting, agility work, plyometrics, conditioning, resistance training, etc.), I’m pretty certain golfers don’t come to mind when you think of those who can benefit from these particular training methods. Fortunately, real-world evidence and science say otherwise.

My training staff and I were recently granted the opportunity to work with the University of Nevada-Reno men’s golf team. We found that these men are committed to excellence, and are gladly willing to do whatever it takes within the rules to gain a competitive edge over their competition. In this article, I’m going to outline most of our specific training approach with this group of golfers, and include some training parameters, research studies, video demonstrations, and sound evidence to hopefully supply some new insight into what’s necessary when training these kinds of golfers.

I will cover six specific topics over the course of two articles, which are pertinent to golfers for optimal athletic and physical development, along with programming guidelines including “modified” exercise variations, training frequency concerns and intensity management techniques.

No. 1: Hip and Thoracic Mobility

According to the Joint by Joint Approach, made famous by renown physical therapist Gray Cook and strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle, the entire collection of joints throughout the body alternates between primary needs of either mobility or stability. As it pertains to golf specifically, the hips and middle back require and are anatomically designed to display adequate mobility levels throughout a swing pattern. Often times though, this is not the case upon various forms of assessment. As a result, common and predictable compensation patterns begin to emerge at the knee and lumbar spine. Unfortunately, range of motion capacity is naturally limited at these locations, especially the low back.

According to Mark Buckley, thoracic rotation accounts for 60-70 degrees of rotary motion, while the lower back accounts for 10-15 degrees. (1) A major difference to say the least. I should note that there is an absolute plethora of evidence indicating injury at each segment of our spine at various local structures that is beyond the scope of this article. Based on the information above, however, it is safe to conclude that if you do not abide by the motion standard set forth by your spinal architecture then you are asking for trouble.

Below is a circuit that we perform 1-2 times per week with the team to help keep both of these areas loose.


The exercises disclosed above do carry with them an inherent risk for potential injury if performed incorrectly.  Have the direct supervision of a qualified training professional.  Make sure to consult either your physician or coach before engaging in these activities or anything highly strenuous in nature.

To see the rest of the exercises to get your game (and body) mobile, go here!

Source:  Travis Hansen   GolfWrx

Pictures: Michael Boyle,   Maria Ly

Thanks for watching – Optimal training for hip and thoracic mobility in your golf swing!

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