Anyone dedicated to a golf fitness program is probably wondering: what makes a great golf swing? Some might say hip rotation, others shoulder alignment or even the overall power of your swing. One thing that might not immediately come to mind though is hamstring flexibility.
What does hamstring flexibility have to do with your golf swing? More than you might think. When your body rotates to swing a golf club, your core muscles stabilize your body, your forearms, wrist and biceps control accuracy and your legs create the necessary stability and power throughout the swing. Within your legs, the hamstrings have an important role to play in creating a strong base to keep you balanced.
Any dedicated golfer knows how important physical fitness is to your performance on the golf course. This is why physical fitness is highlighted as one of the 5 Elements of Success at The Golf Performance Center. These elements – desire to improve, coaching, mental game, custom golf equipment and physical fitness – all play a crucial role in your development as an athlete.
If you’re taking the time to do workouts for golf or participate in a golf fitness program, it’s important to take the time to work out and stretch those muscles. Any golf leg workout worth its salt should include plenty of exercises for the hamstrings, and we can tell you why.
Hamstring Flexibility and Golf Swing Technique
The group of muscles referred to as the “hamstrings” consist of four large muscles on the back of each upper leg. If you look at a hamstring diagram, you’ll see those muscles connect to the base of your pelvis on one end and attach behind the knee on the other. A few of their primary roles include knee flexion and hip extension, in addition to internal and external rotation of the hip.
The hamstring group also plays a large role in the ability to hip hinge at address. This can be a very powerful motion when done properly, however when the hamstrings are tight it will be difficult to hinge properly from your hip. The hip hinge is a type of motion every golfer needs the ability to perform in order to achieve the proper setup posture in the golf swing.
In addition to finding difficulty with address, dynamic posture will be affected when the hips extend too early in the golf swing (early extension) as a result of the hamstrings not wanting to be stretched when the hips begin rotating in transition. This early extension of the hips toward the golf ball will affect the path of the club and force compensations in our movement to get the club in a position that allows the ball to go in the direction we intended.
How to Get More Flexible Hamstrings
If hamstring flexibility is so important to a good golf swing, you might be wondering “How flexible should my hamstrings be?” and “Which golfer workouts will improve hamstring flexibility?”
Off the golf course, tight hamstrings can affect your ability to perform certain lifts in the gym safely. When the hip flexors become tight and the glutes are weak (lower crossed syndrome), the anterior tilt of the pelvis will result in the hamstrings being chronically tight since they are always in a lengthened state.
Working on corrective exercises that help you find a neutral pelvis will be important, in addition to lengthening and strengthening those hamstrings.
One of the best golf strength exercises that targets the hamstrings is Romanian Deadlifts. These can be done by balancing on one foot with the opposite leg balanced in midair, with a slight bend in the knee of the leg supporting your weight.
With (or without) weights in both hands at either side of your body, feel the weight in the heels of your feet while keeping them fully on the ground and slowly allow your body to bend over forward, hinging at the hip and your arms following the movement of your body out in front of you; make sure to keep your core engaged. Stop before your hands touch the floor and when your other foot is raised and your back is flat.
Keeping your balance and with weight still in your heels, slowly raise yourself back up with your arms going back to their place on either side of your hips and your raised foot meeting your stabilized ankle. Repeat eight reps on both legs for three sets.
In order to avoid injury during golf workouts and to ensure you’re using the proper form, we highly recommend using a trainer. A trainer will help you target key muscle groups and design personalized workouts based on your current weaknesses and fitness goals.
Golf Trainers and Workouts for Golf at the GPC
Trainers at The Golf Performance Center are experts on developing workouts for golf, including the best golf leg workouts to increase hamstring flexibility. By working with our trainers, you can rest assured that you’re completing an especially developed golf fitness program that will improve all aspects of your performance on the golf course.
Whether you need a nutrition plan to follow or a program with the best golf strength exercises to have you feeling your best, the trainers at the GPC are some of the most knowledgeable in the golf industry (and certified TPI coaches!).
Find out today how to get a fitness assessment through the Player Development Index, informed by the tenants of the 5 Elements of Success, so you can take advantage of resources and support on your way to improve your golf performance.