Did you ever meet a golfer who wouldn’t want to hit the ball farther if they could?
If you’re struggling with consistency and complaining about a loss of power not being able to do this move is likely the culprit.
So what is this magic move?
It’s called a pelvic tilt.
As you see in the above illustration the simplest way to think about the pelvic tilt is to compare your pelvis with a bucket of water. If I asked you to pour the water out of the bucket you would need to tilt the edge forward, that motion is known as an anterior tilt. That tilt increases the arch in your lower back opposite your belly button.
Now can you tilt the water back in the bucket? That movement is known as a posterior tilt. Sounds simple enough, right? Oh, I forgot to mention…you need to be able to do this WITHOUT moving or disrupting your upper body!
Think you can do it?
Ok, let’s try. Get into a 5 iron posture with your arms folded across your chest. Without moving your upper body tilt your pelvis forward increasing the arch in the lumbar spine. Once this move is accomplished, tilt the pelvis posteriorly or backward, removing the arch from the lower back.
Test Objective For The Pelvic Tilt Test
The Pelvic Tilt Test is for overall mobility of the hips and the lumbar spine and a player’s ability to control the position of the pelvis and stay in posture.
NOTE: Proper execution of this test will yield a forward and backward tilting of the pelvis with minimal leg/knee movement and limited upper body forward and backward movement. And the movement should be nice and smooth and easy. No jolting or vibrations while moving from one position to the other. If you can do it but there is a lot of movement in the rest of the body we call that the “shake and bake”.
No “Shake and Bake”
The ability to move and control the position of the pelvis is critical for optimal power transfer from the lower body to the upper body during the golf swing.
Well, statistics show most of you will. Statistics from the Titleist Performance Institute show that 65% of you will have some difficulty with some or all parts of this movement pattern as opposed to 38% of PGA players. If you struggle with this movement pattern then this is your first Body-Swing connection (how your body movement can affect your golf swing). In other words, is your golf swing the way it is because of the way your body is moving. Are you struggling with a particular shot or part of your game because of how your body is moving?
Signs of Trouble
- Your starting posture already has your pelvis tilted too far forward. We call that ‘S’ Posture at address and it looks like this. Setting up wtih ‘S’ posture brings your weight forward, onto the toes and your toes are like the brakes of a car, your heels the accelerator, so you are starting your swing with the parking brake in the ON position!
What causes this forward tilt of the pelvis? Well anatomically, tight hip flexors. Practically, being in the seated position most of your life.
Look familiar? The average amount of hours my clients spend seated (at work) is 10! That doesn’t include your commute, sitting at the breakfast and dinner table, and being in the fetal position while you sleep. So you are spending most of your life with your hips flexed. That makes them tight and weak. But more importantly, it makes your glutes and abs (the King and Queen of the golf swing) long and weak.
‘S’ posture is also a common cause of Low Back Pain in golfers and Low Back Pain is the #1 reason golfers leave the game!
Other Signs Of Trouble
- You can’t move your pelvis at all. This is very common amongst my older clients. They see me doing it and when they try to do nothing happens. The pelvis is locked.
- You can tilt forward but struggle tilting backwards.
- When you try to move your pelvis you just stand up.
- You can do it, but your body vibrates or shakes while making the move.
All of these are signs of weak glutes and a weak core.
Do I Really Need To Be Able To Do That?
Unequivocally, YES! But only if you want more power and consistency in your swing.
So all of the best players in the world do this, it’s just that it’s happening so fast you don’t see it. A better golfer will address the ball with a forward tilt of the pelvis and a straight spine. That spine resembles the letter ‘I’, I for IDEAL.
As that player goes into the top of the backswing that curve will increase (or extend). Now, here is where the magic move happens. In the time it takes to get from the top of the backswing to impact the lumbar spine goes from the extended position (anterior tilt) to the (posterior tilt) position (tail bone tucked under) or flattening of the lower back. It’s just hard to see that because it’s happening at such a high speed.
What muscles are responsible for creating that posterior tilt? You guessed it! The King and the Queen, the glutes, and the abs.
How Does This Effect My Power And Consistency?
Well, let’s think of this. Imagine your legs are the prongs of an electrical plug and your torso (aka ‘the core’) is the outlet itself. As you go into the posterior tilt you are connecting the legs into the trunk. This connection is what transfers energy generated from pushing into the ground with your feet to the lead shoulder, arm, club, and finally the ball. If you cannot create or control this pelvis motion you are likely going to moves your hips towards the golf ball too early in the downswing sequence. This move is known as early extension because the hips extend (or straight up) too soon in the swing and disconnects the legs from the torso.
No connection, no power.
Additionally, when the hips move forward too soon there is a dramatic loss of your body angles with effects your path and plane. The hips tend to get in the way of where the hands should be and this typically results in an upper-body dominant swing pattern and a loss of power and consistency.
Golfing Is Like Jumping
Yes, golfing is a controlled jump with a turn! If you think of any ground based rotational athletes: a tennis serve, a volleyball serve and slam, a basetball dunk, and so on, the athlete drops down towards the ground in order to use the elastic energy to go back up. If you look at the athlete above you can see in the position second from the right there is a little curve in his low back but that curve reverses itself while he’s still in the air. That is the transition from anterior to posterior tilt and it’s what’s responsible for generating energy from the ground up.
Watch the clip below as legendary Long Drive Champion, Jason Zuback demonstrates how to create a powerful golf swing.
Brett’s Bottom Line:
Being able to create and control the pelvic tilt motion is critical to more power and consistency in your swing. Movement patterns or motor patterns are built around physical limitations. Physical limitations don’t magically fix themselves. Not even the newest, most expensive driver can help you move your pelvis like Elvis.
If you want to do that, you need to fix it in the gym (or at home) with an exercise strategy designed specifically for that purpose.
Put that dumbbell down dude. That’s not gonna help your golf game!
What’s Next? Would You Like Some Help With That?
This is how we can work together if you want more help. Yes, I’m serious about taking action and want to ‘get clear’ on a strategy and game plan by talking to the coach. Call (917) 596-8485 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will set up a complimentary :45 minute strategy session phone call and go over what you need and if we make a good fit for one another. If we do then we move onto scheduling your physical screen and see what your boyd is physically capable of so that when you are working on your golf swing you don’t try to make changes that you just won’t be able to do. Working on something that can’t happen is very frustrating and takes the fun out of the game.
“When your body doesn’t work the way it needs to – to play golf the way you want to – come see the Guru. I can help you Play Golf Better!”