Separation Anxiety

Golf Pros | By Travis Johnson –

Are you losing power in your golf swing by not being able to separate your upper body from your lower body?

During your golf swing, are you able to rotate your lower body while your upper body remains relatively stationary?  Golfers can add more power to their golf swing by increasing their lower body separation. By adding more power to your golf swing, you will be able to add more distance on every golf shot.

As a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Golf Fitness Professional, I see many amateur golfers lose power in their golf swing because they are not able to separate their upper body from their lower body.  This loss of power could cause a loss of 50 to 100 yards off of the tee. This loss of yardage is very important when you don’t want a long approach shot and would like to have an easier shot when going for hitting the green in regulation.

On the downswing, turning your lower body while letting your upper body slowly follow, eventually forces a hip movement that will make the upper body follow, which will generate a great amount of power as you accelerate through the ball.  For golfers who have a fitness program that helps separate the rotation of their lower and upper body, they will pick up a good amount of yardage on every shot.

If you have limited hip rotation on your downswing, it’s highly likely that you have an inability to rotate your lower body without moving your upper body.  Here are some like factors to limited hip rotation:

Poor coordination
Limited hip mobility
Lack of muscle conditioning
Lack of core stability
Poor thoracic and lumber spine mobility

A few exercises that can help with separating the lower body and upper body include:

Sledge Hammer Stationary Lunges with Rotation.

Get in the stationary lunge position by stepping forward with either leg, and hold the sledge hammer out in front of you.  While in lunge position, lower your body towards to ground, slow and controlled, pause in the lower position and then, rotate your upper body in the direction of your front leg. Then rotate back to starting position and come back to starting stationary lunge position. Do three sets of five to 10 lunges and rotation on each leg.

Bent Over Cable Upper Body Rotation.

Begin in a position as if you were holding a 5 iron. Hold a cable in one hand, and hold both arms down in front of your legs. Now, without moving your lower body, rotate your upper body where the arm with the cable is straight and parallel to the floor, and the arm without the cable is up and perpendicular to the floor. Rotate upper body back down to starting position and repeat. Do three sets of six to eight rotations on each side.

One Leg Bench Squat with Light Barbell Overhead.

Put one leg up on a bench and the other leg out in front. Hold a light weight barbell over your head.  Bend back leg towards the ground, pause at the bottom of squat, and then rotate your upper body in the direction of the front leg while holding your arms up.  Rotate back to starting position, and stand up into starting squat position and repeat. Do three sets of eight to 10 reps on each side.

TRX Push Up Position Draw In.

The TRX is great at working on your core stability. Get in push-up position with feet in TRX straps. While in push-up position, bring your knees in towards your chest without moving your upper body and then take your legs back out to get back in to push-up position. Keep your upper body flat. Don’t let your back fall down, and don’t stick your hips up high as either of these positions would keep your core from activating.

The hips are a tremendous source of power in the golf swing when activated at the right time. With the hips being located in your core area, they definitely have the ability to activate your upper and lower halves when put to use.  Use these few exercises to work in strengthening and conditioning your body for separation in your golf swing.  Here’s to extra yardage in those future powerful drives!