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Improving Your Golf Swing X-Factor Through Flexibility Exercises

 

Flexibility is the third key fitness element for golf.

The golf backswing is effectively the coiling up of a spring until an optimal point of tension; then releasing that tension as a controlled explosion. The golf club harnesses that energy and transfers it to the golf ball.

The more torque a golfer can build in his back swing, the more energy departed to the golf ball, and the more distance it will travel.

To be able to build up torque, you need to be able to effect a consistent shoulder turn. The more this can be done, maintaining the hips in line with the target line, the better.

For most of us, the shoulder turn is facilitiated by an accompanying turning of the hips. This hip turn effectively reduces the torque, depending upon the degree of hip turn, to the degree of shoulder turn.

This relativity between shoulder and hip turn is referred to in golf as the "X-Factor".

More correctly, the "X-Factor" is the difference between your hip turn and your shoulder turn. The greater the difference, the more coil and power you'll achieve at impact, and the longer the drive.

For example:

  • A full shoulder turn of 90 degrees on the backswing, minus a hip turn of say, 30 degrees, gives an "X-Factor" of 60, which is pretty good. Any "X-Factor" over 50 isn't bad for a more mature golfer. [That’s all of us over the age of 40!]
  • A shoulder turn of 70 degrees, minus a hip turn of only 10 degrees, also generates an "X-Factor" of 60.

You get the picture….it’s the X-Factor that drives the power of the swing, not just the shoulder turn in isolation.

I prefer to keep my hip turn to the point that allows me to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground. This gives me better feel for my weight transfer and balance.

 

Common Backswing Mistakes

Two common faults in the backswing seen in amateur golfers are:

  • Huge shoulder turn, accompanied by big turn of the hips and left foot coming off the ground in the backswing.
  • Taking the club back too far without turning the shoulders

Both of these faults show a lack of understanding of the X-Factor and a lack of golf fitness.

 

How To Improve Your X-Factor

The ONLY way to improve your "X-Factor" is to through flexibility exercises that stretch and strengthen the rotary muscles of your core.

This takes a consistent effort, with a total body strength and stretching routine to improve your golf swing and golf game.

Two exercises that increase your strength and flexibility:

  1. Lunge With A Twist
  2. Seated Twist

 

Lunge With A Twist

This exercise strengthens your legs and improves upper body rotation,giving noticeable improvement in very short time..

  1. Holding a small handweight, stand with your arms hanging straight in front of the body, palms facing inwards.
  2. Lunge forward with your right leg, with arms coming up to the horizontal position, palms down.
  3. Rotate your upper body to the right side, keeping arms at chest height.
  4. Return to starting position and repeat with the right leg.

Do 3 sets of 6 reps each side

 

Seated Twist

This exercise is similar to the one above, but isolates the lower body and concentrates your effort on the upper body.

  1. Sit erect on a balance [stability] ball or chair
  2. Hold the dumbbell palms down, straight out in front of your chest
  3. Maintain the erect posture, and head facing forwards whilst you rotate your arms and shoulders as far to the right as is possible without the head moving.
  4. Slowly reverse through the starting position, then around to the left side.

Do 3 sets of 6 reps on each side.

 

See more flexiblity exercises in “Driving Your Handicap Lower With Golf Fitness”