I think I speak for almost every avid golfer when I say that we all want to improve our scores! Did you know that it could be something as simple as hip mobility keeping you from that. We see many people in the clinic with either too much or too little hip mobility. This blog will discuss ways to test your hip mobility at home, how to improve it, and how to put that into your swing to gain yardage and money in your pocket from your buddies.
What is hip mobility?
The hip joint is known as a ball and socket joint that has several muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding it. Being mobile in this joint means that you have the ability to complete all the motions it supports without pain, pinching, or compensation. Your hip was built to complete flexion (forward), extension (backward), internal rotation (knee in), external rotation (knee out), adduction (lateral), adduction (medial). If one of these motions is restricted it could lead to potential injury. It is important that your hip not only be mobile enough to complete these, but to have the appropriate strength to support that motion.
How do you test hip mobility?
There is an appropriate amount of degrees in which the hip should complete each motion above. This is something we can look at in the clinic with a special device. At home, there are some quick assessments to determine if you lack the proper hip mobility.
Hip Internal Rotation: sit on a flat surface like a chair with your bottom all the way at the edge. Raise one leg up (not too high, just enough to get your foot off the floor) and bring your knee towards your belly button. Make sure to not lift your buttcheek off the chair (this will make it seem like you have more motion than you do).
Hip External Rotation: Repeat the same steps from hip internal rotation but bring your knee away from your belly button.
*note these movements should be pain free and you should not have to struggle or use your arms to achieve them.
How can hip mobility lead to a better golf swing?
It is important in the swing to have a solid base that you can rotate around. If you lack hip mobility (typically with hip internal and external rotation) your body will compensate up the chain and you will end up using more upper body or arms. Not only can this lead to injuries but you will end up coming over the top of the ball and your shot will not be good. Opening your hip for more motion will allow you to generate power from your lower body which is where it should come from. Too many players think that their upper body is what controls the swing and generates force. Sorry to say, this isn’t the case.
Ways to improve hip mobility
There are different ways to gain hip mobility but it is important to make sure that you do not push yourself into pain. Some of the mobility stretches we do here in the clinic include:
- Figure 4
- Windshield wipers (laying down on your back or seated moving in and out of hip internal and external rotation)
- Frog stretch
- Fire hydrants on all fours
- Deep goblet squat with heavier weight held between the legs
Although these are good to help increase flexibility in the hip joint it does not mean that you don’t have other issues that need to be addressed. Physical Therapy is the preferred method for hip pain in all but the most severe cases and would include hands on manual techniques, dry needling (if needed and wanted), soft tissue work, joint mobility work, stretching, hip pain exercises and strengthening, kinesiotaping (if needed), likely working on the knee and the ankle, and whatever else you needed that would get you better. Getting relief won’t take long and many people leave feeling better the first day. Even if you didn’t leave feeling better the first day it would only take 1-2 more visits max to start noticing improvements. However, starting that first day you would feel better right away knowing what is wrong and having a plan to fix it.
If you want even more information on how to ease your hip pain starting today please consider downloading our free report “5 Ways to Ease Hip Pain” and Help You Get Back To Moving Pain Free by clicking on the image below.