There's a lot talked about the need to turn in the swing. But how much turn is enough and how much is too much? Jeremy explains in this video.
I’ve talked about the pelvic bend at setup in a previous blog. In this article I’m discussing how the pelvis should behave on the backswing. Remembering pelvis bend is the forward and backward tilt of the pelvis. (Flexion and extension).
If we start with around 20’ of forward flexion at address then as we make our backswing that number should go down to around 15’ to allow us to rotate into and load our backswing correctly.
Too much bend
If we see the number go up on the backswing or start above 20’ and stay there then we are looking at dynamic S-posture. This is when we create an arch in our lower back as we go back. Creating too much bend will restrict how far we can turn, it will also cause our shoulders to move back on too flat a plane. Most importantly it is a very dangerous position for your back and repetitions of swings with this flaw will almost certainly result in back injury.
Losing the bend
Conversely if you lose too much bend on the way back this indicates that too much is happening with pelvis on the way back. For people with moderate to good flexibility this will usually cause an over-rotation and over swing. Inflexible people often get in this position to try and complete the backswing. The problem with completing the backswing this way is that you’ll lose stability and definitely lose your posture on the backswing.
Firstly make sure you get your posture correct at address. See the pelvic bend at address to get the lowdown on this. Once your setup is nailed down make sure you keep the abdominals engaged for the entirety of the backswing.
Obviously prior to doing this you need to make sure you have the mobility and stability in your body to be able to make the swing. If you don’t have the adequate range of motion then you may not be able to make a full backswing without some compromises. If you lack the stability you may not be able to feel the core engagement required.
If you’d like to come in for a lesson or a TPI screening the drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or book in here.
I’ve previously talked about the pelvic bend in the swing. For this blog I want to talk torso. It’s obvious to everyone that the golfer is bent forward at address. This is a given. For an optimum we are looking at around 40’ of forward bend at address. This will vary depend on the athlete but as an average it’s a good marker. What people don’t realise is by how this bend with change during the swing. In order to stay centred and make a good rotation in the backswing a golfer will lose nearly all their forward bend. I feel for most people your forward bend should drop to between 0 and 10’ at the top of the swing. The forward bend is replaced by side bend (which has been mentioned in earlier videos but I’ll go over again soon). If you don’t allow your body to extend on the way back one of two things happen. For most people they won’t turn fully and will create very little power through rotation in the swing. A lot of people who slice the ball can suffer from this as the lack of turn can result in a swing path travelling left. The second fault that can stem from lack of extension on the way back is moving the head too far off the ball (away from the target). This causes multiple problems, not least very poor ball striking.
Have a look at the video to find out a good way to think about your forward bend during the backswing.
Can you extend too much? Well if you’re a stack and tilt guy then the answer is probably not. But for most golf biomechanics and golf fitness professionals staying away from negative bend or reverse spine angle is the key. This can result in swing and body issues later on.
If you’d like to learn more about the golf body and golf swing why not come in for a lesson with myself?
Let’s talk pelvis. One of the great advantages of using the K-Vest is that allows me to examine the swing in 3D rather than just the 2D images of video. It tracks three planes of movements rotation, forward flexion and extension and side flexion.
What we do during a lesson is to get the golf to make some swings and then from this I get a ton of information on what’s happening with the body during the swing. I use this data alongside the club and ball data I receive from my launch monitor and the two video angles. This allows me to get right into what’s actually happening during the swing.
One of the first areas I like to look at is the pelvis in the golf and the first metric to view is pelvic bend. Pelvis bend is how much the pelvis tilts forwards and backwards during the swing. The reason we start with the pelvis as it’s really the hub of the body and therefore the hub of our golf swing. If we’re building the swing it makes sense to work from the ground up.
The first thing to look for in the swing is the pelvic bend at address. What I like to see is around 20’ of forward bend at address. If we see less than this it is usually showing what we call C-posture which is where the pelvis is too tucked and results in a rounded back position in the swing. As a lot of my clients are experienced players this is actually a position I rarely see. More common and definitely more dangerous is when I see a larger amount of pelvic bend. When the pelvis is tilted too far forward (and the golfer has the correct length of club!) usually indicates S-posture. This is a position a lot of players start in, often as a result of either poor understanding or poor coaching. The thought of stick your bum out, or straight back can result in people over exaggerating their posture position. This creates a situation where the spine gets in too much lumber (lower back) extension. It disengages our abdominal muscles and puts more pressure on the lumber spine. This leads to a number of problems Firstly it can cause big problems with your spinal health. Secondly it prepares you to create a swing in which you’ll most likely over extend your back going back. Plus it can lead to flat shoulder plane and many other possible complications.
To correct this we need to work on find the correct pelvic angle. Depending on your body awareness and control you can find this either in a kneeling position or in your golf posture. If you struggle to find this in golf posture start in a kneeling position. What we need to is to tilt the pelvis forwards and backwards. Start by tilting the pelvis forwards as far as it will go. Then tuck it under as far as possible. Repeat the forward flexion and then tuck under until your pelvis is in the middle of both positions. Finding the process in this order allows you to recruit your core muscles so that they are engaged at the start of your swing.
Most people underestimate the effect that the posture can have on the swing. It is essential to start from the correct dynamic posture, if you’re posture is incorrect then you are starting at a disadvantage.
So in my previous blog I talked power testing. This testing is a follow on from the TPI Level 1 screen and will help to establish the golfers potential to generate power. I say potential as obviously it takes more than pure athletic ability to be able to hit the golf ball a long way. But as a way to determine potential it’s a fantastic tool.
The power test helps to establish areas of weakness that we can improve upon to realise more power in the golfer. Once we have identify the areas of weakness we need to then determine whether the lack of power is due to strength or speed. The easiest way to do this is to test for strength. We do this by testing single arm pushing and pulling strength over 8 reps and also additional tests for leg and grip strength. All of these tests are simple pass/fail tests that determine whether the golfer has enough strength to potentially be able to generate the power required in the power tests. A pass in these tests would indicate that we need to work on speed whereas a fail would indicate that we should be targeting strength first.
Remember that prior to all of this we have tested the players mobility and stability and will implement any required training on these areas before we talk about strength and speed. The problem with mobility and stability work is that it’s not sexy. Players would always prefer lifting heavy stuff or working on speed and agility before working on range of motion and stabilisation. But not only is it difficult to create power with either a lack of stability and/or mobility it is also difficult to transmit power to the golf ball with an efficient swing if you need to make compensations in your swing for a lack of mobility. The optimum way in which to get in shape for golf is:
This doesn’t mean that you can’t work on areas concurrently it just means that the priority has to be on mobility first and then stability etc etc. This will give you the best results with the lowest risk of injury.
Alongside all of this we need to be looking at technique to ensure that the player is developing his technique to utilise all of the athletic tools in his arsenal.
I'm glad that people are becoming more aware of the body-swing connection in golf. This video features three stretches you can do to help improve your swing