Hamstrings and the golf swing
By Erika Larkin on 6/20/12
Erika Larkin is the Director of Instruction at Larkin Golf Learning Community at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virigina. She was recently named the 2012 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year" and the 2011 "Top Golf Pro" by Washingtonian Magazine and she's oobgolf's newest columnist. She'll be writing on a variety of topics including instruction, so if you have a question for her or an idea for a column, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
Many of my students have tight hamstrings. Many of my students lose control of their posture and angles in the golf swing. These two elements are closely related and can be cause and effect!
Now just think... if you try and bend forward from your waist to touch your toes, your knees will want to bend if your hamstrings are tight. In the golf swing we are bent over from the waist and we start with our knees bent. However, at the moment of impact, the goal would be to get your front leg relatively straight in order to clear that hip. At the same time it’s important to hold your original posture (bent from the waist). So, if your hamstrings are tight you will either keep the front knee bent to compensate which causes a slide and loss of stability OR you will stand up out of your posture because of the inability to stay flexed at the waist while keeping a leg straight.
Certainly there are other reasons why one may stand up in a golf swing, but hopefully this gets you thinking about stretching more often. Try this standing stretch. Put your feet close together- then roll up a towel and hold it in between your knees. Raise your heels on the edge of a book or foam roller. Bend forward as far as you can. Hold this position for 3 seconds and repeat 8 times. Try this again with your toes raised up instead for an even better stretch. You’ll be amazed at how much better you will do flat-footed after this exercise!
Image via Flickr, lululemon athletica
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[ comments ]
Well done, i'll have to try that.
damn you touchy enter button... anyway, I've found out that between when i warm up and when i'm hitting the ball well, i do notice that my hamstrings and legs in general have worked out the knots and stiffness moreso than my back and lats and never really gave it much thought. I guess this makes sense according to the article. i can't wait to consciously try it.
and that my friends is why I have a stretching routine of 20 minutes every morning whether I am playing that day or not! Keeps everything ready to go.
Good topic. Tight hamstrings is an epidemic from what I have gathered and definitely affects the swing in a big way. I don't do a lot of stretching these days but dead-lifts and hyperextension exercises in my workouts help keep me fairly limber.
I once read in an article that said not to bounce or do quick, abbreviated stretches because you could actually tear something. it's better to hold the stretch for about 20 seconds. not sure if it's true though because these things change all the time.
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