Generating More Power from Hip Rotation - Lessons from Martial Arts

Susan Hill
 


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One of the important lessons of Martial Arts training is the ability to use hip rotation as a way to generate power and speed for maximum impact.

Martial artists know that the hips are where the body's ‘center of gravity’ is located. It lends balance and stability to every move. The lower body is designed for power- the upper body for finesse.

If you can translate this knowledge into a better golf swing, you will be blessed with both power and accuracy.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Hip rotation holds the key to a powerful swing. Do you want to turn easily from the hip and get more yards out of your swing? It's not hard when you know the proven secrets of golf pros.

The first thing you need to know about turning, is that you won't get a flawless turn till you develop stabilization and strength in the lower body.

To get your upper body in sync, make sure you stand straight with your shoulders pulled back, to facilitate that perfect swinging motion from the shoulder- instead of the elbow. Practice turning your shoulders as far back as possible, with your trunk acting as the pivot. If you are right handed, you can see your left shoulder aligned with your chin.

Strong shoulders and well-conditioned abs are a must to maximize torque, while minimizing the distorting forces at the hip- which can lead to imbalances and injury.

Top players initiate their downswing with the powerful muscles of the abs and hips. Once the desired momentum is generated by the lower body, they use their arm muscles to effectively “fine tune" the swing.

Recreational players, on the other hand, use their arm muscles right at the outset. As a result, they are unable to recruit the latent muscle-power in their lower body, while the arm muscles work extra hard both to power and guide the club. No wonder it leads to a shaky, inconsistent swing!

Many players employ faulty swing mechanics, which actually dissipate the energy generated by the lower body, before it can be transmitted to the upper body.

Recreational golfers show a higher tendency for movements that rob swing momentum, such as hip sliding and lateral bending.

The reason can often be traced to reduced range of motion in the hip joints. Often, the process of aging or a sedentary lifestyle can lead you to lose some internal rotation at the hip joint. This condition can be helped with stretches and strengthening exercises that target the hip flexors, hip adductors (inner thigh and groin), hip adductors (outer thighs or hips) and the glutes (buttocks).

Susan Hill is a fitness trainer, CHEK golf biomechanic and sports nutrition specialist. Her work has been featured in Golf Illustrated, Travel Golf, Resort Living and SELF magazine. For on-line golf specific exercises and stretches, visit http://www.fitnessforgolf.com

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