Strengthen Your Hip Abductor Muscles for a Better Weight Shift

A good weight shift and a good hip rotation are essential parts of a good golf swing. But if your hip muscles are tight and weak, you're more likely to "achieve" hip slide, rather than hip rotation. And that's not a good thing.

Below you'll see an exercise designed to strengthen muscles that can help you improve your golf swing weight shift and hip rotation.

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Hip Slide vs. Hip Rotation

Hips and Weight Shift

Golf Fitness Magazine

Ever wondered why some of the smaller pros, both on the LPGA and PGA tours, can crush the ball even with their small builds? One reason is that they maximize their hip rotation in the golf swing and shift their weight correctly.

Hip rotation in a golf swing is one of the most important parts of developing an efficient golf swing. In a study presented by the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers looked at the difference between hip strength and level of golf ability and the difference between hip strength and self-reported driving distance. Researchers studied the strength of the hip muscles that move the legs toward and away from the center of the body (hip adduction and abduction strength, respectively).

The study showed hip abduction strength was significantly higher in better golfers. In addition, all the hip movements tended to be stronger in the best golfers who had the lowest handicaps and longest driving distances.

The hip abductor muscles are a group of four muscles located in the buttocks region on both sides of the body. The abductors' main function is to abduct, or separate, your legs away from the midline of the body. This occurs in the golf swing when you shift your weight on the backswing and downswing.

If your hips are tight and weak, the tendency is to slide the hips to the side on the backswing instead of turning them, which causes the dreaded reverse upper body tilt (left photo).

This is a very weak position in the golf swing and will cause numerous faults in your swing. Ideally, you want to rotate your hips on the backswing in order to load your weight correctly. Think of winding your upper body over your lower body, so that your left shoulder (if you are right-handed) ends up over your right knee. You will now have your upper body stacked correctly over your rotated hip (right photo).

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Hip Strength Exercise

Hip Rotation and Weight Shift
Use fitness bands to strengthen your hips for a better weight shift.

Golf Fitness Magazine

To strengthen your hip muscles, try this abductor exercise:

  • Stand on a resistance band with your feet shoulder-width apart as if you were standing in your address position.
  • Hold an end of the band in each hand and pull-up until the band is taut.
  • Shift your weight to the right as you lift your left leg out to the side as high as you can.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Do three sets of 12 repetitions.
  • Repeat exercise on other leg to avoid muscle imbalances.
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Weight Shift Drill

Hip Rotation and Weight Shift
Practice rotating your hips on the backswing for the correct weight shift.

Golf Fitness Magazine

To learn how to shift your weight correctly, try this golf swing drill:

  • Set up in your address position with a club placed behind your shoulders.
  • Lift your left heel (if you are right-handed) and balance on your toes. All your weight should be on your right foot.
  • Slowly wind your upper body to the top of your backswing. Feel how your right hip is rotating, not sliding.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Do three sets of 12 repetitions.
  • Repeat exercise on the other leg.