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Quick and Discreet Golf Hip Warm Up

    Let’s be honest. We all want to make time to warm up before a round. Some stretching, maybe a nice dynamic routine that you just got from Golf Digest; followed by a few practice shots with each iron. If you are like me, you find yourself getting to the golf course five minutes before your round. Just enough time to make one practice putt and duff a couple chip shots! As I am running to the tee box with my shoe laces untied I try to make time for a quick warm up while everyone is preparing to hit. Not optimal, but that’s life. The worst part about going through a warm up in front of your buddies, especially if you are a less than par golfer, is the amount of pressure that comes with it. “Look at Joe over there warming up like he’s the next Tiger Woods, or better yet, Miguel Ángel Jiménez.” The goal of this post is to give you some ideas for a quick and discreet hip warm up when you are short on time that will help you look a little bit more like a pro during your round.

    golf, hip warm up, hip mobility, TPI



    Conducting a warm up that targets the hips, especially if that’s your problem area, can have a big impact on your swing and how your body feels throughout the round. Hip mobility plays a major role in your ability to get into good positions during your golf swing. If you are missing motion at your hips, you are guaranteed to set yourself up for failure. Missing motion at your hips can lead to the majority of swing faults seen in amateurs. This includes loss of posture, early extension, reverse spine angle, and sway.  

    PGA professionals usually have more than 60 degrees of internal and external rotation at each hip. Average hip mobility according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is actually 45 degrees of internal and external hip rotation. According to the Titleist Performance Institute, many people they treat show up with less than 40 degrees of hip motion in each direction. You may never reach 60 degrees or 45 degrees, but that is ok! If both you and your swing coach know your limitations it will help you to create a plan to work around them. 

    People like Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, and many of the tour players, were born with super mobile joints. What’s awesome about these athletes is that they have developed fine-tuned coordination for that extra mobility. If you are someone who has always been on the “tighter” side, this is good and bad news. Good news in the sense that you probably have a big window for improvement. The bad news is you still aren’t Dustin Johnson. 

    Before you start your next round, take a second to see what your hip motion looks like. This is a great test that physical therapists use to check hip range of motion. One thing to remember is that this test is more than just mobility; it is also factoring in your balance, which can severely impact your range of motion! It is also one of the stretches you can do during your round. 2 for the price of 1. Hold your applause!



    standing hip internal rotation, golf hip warm up


    Prescription: 30 seconds to 1 minute each


    This one could easily be called the windshield wiper. This can be done from the comfort of your golf cart. To add a balance component to this stretch, and make it more golf specific, perform hip rotation standing (the same move you did to test your hip rotation: see above). Use a golf club or something sturdy for support if necessary.

    Instructions: Rotate the leg in while pushing your hip across your body gently.

    seated hip internal rotation, golf hip warm up


    Man, this one is a piece of cake. Everyone sits with their legs crossed! Creating motion in all directions at your hips provides a huge benefit to your swing. Working in the trunk rotation is the cherry on top.

    Instructions: Gently push your thigh down to create more of a stretch while crossing each leg.  Feel free to rotate your trunk to start loosening up the back as well. 

    figure four stretch, figure 4, hip external rotation seated, golf warm up


    You can also pretend to pick up a nice shiny penny during this stretch to keep it more inconspicuous. Limitations in your hamstring mobility can be a culprit for loss of posture in your swing and back pain.

    Instructions: While using the cart for support (if necessary), place one leg inside of the cart. Bend forward from the hips making sure you do not lose your neutral back position. Place a hand on the lower back for feedback. Try bracing your abdominals while stretching the hamstrings to help reinforce a neutral back position. 

    standing hamstring stretch, golf warm up


    You won’t be able to hide during this exercise unless your cart is parked perfectly. Get the cart between you and your playing mates to so you can really get deep in that squat, sumo wrestling style. Golfers that can demonstrate a beautiful deep squat are able to stay in posture during their swing according to Titleist Performance Institute data.

    Instructions: Support yourself using the golf cart. Try to keep your feet straight. As you get to the bottom of your squat work on opening up your hips by applying some pressure to the inner thigh with your elbow. 

       golf cart squat, hip opener, golf warm up


    Getting those hips more mobile can get you into great positions in your golf swing. In turn, saving your back and shoulders. Once you discreetly get through these hip stretches recheck your standing hip internal rotation to see if you made an improvement or just take some practice swings to see if you feel a difference. Rechecking the positions you are working toward in your swing after stretching is critical to ensure you are actually making change! 


    Dr. Michael Infantino, DPT, PT