is an area of the body with a very important status in the movement industry.
It has nicknames like “powerhouse” and “king of the swing,” and it rhymes with
Elvis. It’s the pelvis, of course, and golfers should take note.
pelvis is important because it connects your legs to your spine and acts as the
gatekeeper for energy to flow from lower body to upper body. Basically, the key
movements of the pelvis bear the big responsibility to either assist or impede
movements of the pelvis either build up your speed and transfer it up the chain
or become the log jam that slows the energy flow. In the golf swing this log
jam displays as poor sequencing, limited club head speed and can contribute to
lower back issues. When the hips and lumbar spine remain stiff the golfer often
moves out of posture and thus limits the full transfer of power.
motions are subtle but powerful to move and manage forces. We know from sensor
technology that the pelvis performs three moves: rotation, tilting and hiking.
Because of the proximity between the spine and legs your pelvic movement
capacity is mostly dictated by your hip and spine mobility.
to fully describe pelvic movement we can view these elliptical bones as a
bucket of water. When the front of the pelvis tilts down we are “pouring water
out the front.” And when the pelvis tilts into a posterior position at impact,
we are “pouring water out of the back of the bucket.” At that moment, our
glutes and abdominals contract or shorten and the lumbar back flattens into
flexion. At the impact position, the pelvis also stops rotating to then allow
the transfer of energy to the trunk.
In today’s article, Robert Scott, PGA
professional, demonstrates three great exercises you can practice to gain more
strength and control of your pelvis for rotation and tilting. Please follow medical
advice if you currently experience lower back pain as these exercises are not
meant to rehabilitate an injured back but are intended to strengthen and thus
prevent back issues.
Pelvic Tilting on Pad – Start by laying down face up with your
trunk and head elevated on a pad. Bring the front of the hips closer to your
lower ribs to flatten the lower back and brace the glutes while keeping your
feet on the floor. This is like “pouring water out of the back” for posterior
tilting. Then squeeze your lower back and tilt the tailbone back to the floor.
This is like “pouring water out of the front” for anterior tilting. Repeat
slowly while recruiting as much abdominal, lower back and hip muscles as you
Kneeling Pelvic Tilts & Loading – Start in a half-kneeling
position with one knee on a pad and the other leg in front bent to 90
degrees. Tilt the pelvis of the kneeling side hip back and forth a few times.
Hold the pelvis under or in the posterior position to load the hip as used at
impact. Now attempt to check your loading by lifting the other leg off the
ground quickly as a test. Reposition yourself and repeat to improve your
posterior tilt for good hip loading.
Rotation or Rolling from Quadruped – While in an all-fours position,
extend one leg straight and maintain neutral spine. Begin rolling the pelvis
down and back up as far as you can so that you feel the stretch on the inner
and outer hip. Maintain straight arms, level shoulders and head. When doing the
pelvic rotation/rolling you will be also rotating the spine as we do in the
Mastery of these pelvic movements and
mobility through hips and spine will add more power and many more years of
enjoyment to your game. With modern golfers harnessing more power through
equipment and instruction it becomes even more important to make sure your “powerhouse”
can handle that.
Pam Owens is the Director of Fitness for Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston and the owner of Pam Owens Fitness. A two-time Golf Digest Top 50 Fitness Professional, Pam helps golfers all over the world get lean, bendy, and powerful with online or in-person coaching. For a free golf warm-up, click here.