Tiger Woods, Your Hips And The X Factor

Guest Post by golfgurls.com fitness instructor Kathy Ekdahl (originally published in April, 2010.)

What made Tiger Woods famous?

You’ve seen my previous posts about Tiger; how I personally feel he failed all of us, especially his family and himself, so I won’t go on here about that topic. To me, his apology seemed sincere, but only time will tell. So I’d like to get back to what made Tiger most famous, besides his voracious appetite for sex- Golf!

One of the things that makes Tiger Wood’s golf swing so amazing is his ability to rotate his hips on the downswing to insure lots of power at ball strike. Transferring weight from the ground, up through the hips, and into the clubface, is all about hip rotation.

As you know, I am not a golf pro, so please don’t break this description down as if I were a pro…. but here goes the explanation why hips are so important for golf:

In order to store up potential energy and thus power, the hips must be able to rotate separately from the torso. On the takeaway, torso/shoulders should turn without excessive movement of the hips. You will get a very slight internal rotation of the hips, but otherwise they should stay still. As you transfer weight from the front foot to back foot, if the hips are still, you are storing up power. If the hips turn with the shoulders, or you sway right, this results in a power leak. On the downswing, now is the time to rotate hips before shoulders, transferring weight from back foot to front. It is this ability to rotate hips separately from the torso/shoulders that is called the X factor. It is this separation that is the key to power and a big part of why some people can hit the ball long, and others can’t.

It’s hard to teach a speedy hip turn, but it can be done. However, before you begin to work with speed, you must have baseline optimal flexibility and core strength.

How do you know where you stand? Well… here’s a little test. Stand at address with arms crossed over the body. Rotate torso/shoulders as if you were at the takeaway. Do your hips move too? If so- then you’ll have a real problem trying to train your hips for improved power and distance. Next, get in same position, but move hips only. Does your upper body move too? Same thing here; hips must be able to rotate without torso moving. This is both a flexibility and a core strength issue. You may have tight hips, or tight, rounded shoulder/torso, or a weak core. A TPI Certified Golf Fitness Professional- like myself- can test for all of these physical issues.

Once you have identified your tight or weak areas, you can then correct them with exercise, building your baseline of flexibility and core strength. Only then can you move on to training to increase power. I often use medicine balls and cable equipment to teach hip rotation and weight transference- but, you must first work on your flexibility and core strength. One step at a time!

. . . . .

Kathy Ekdahl, CSCS, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, is the owner of Personal Best Personal Training in Hudson, Massachusetts. She is a former health club owner and has been teaching Yoga since 1997. Kathy is also a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor and is the Staff Personal Trainer at The International Golf Club, Bolton, MA. She will soon publish a series of Golf Fitness Guides and videos in association with golfgurls.com.

  1 comment for “Tiger Woods, Your Hips And The X Factor

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