Upper vs. Lower Body Rotation in Backswing

Confused about how your upper body rotates in the backswing compared to your lower body? This video gives you a unique way to think about it to make it simple.

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Dave
Can we say that the lower body turn is an affect of the upper body rotation. Rather than an intensional movement in the lower body?
June 2, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dave. Pulling back with the trail shoulder the hips would have to rotate to reach full rotation. So, you could say the rotation is pulling the hip back.
June 3, 2021
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M. (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Craig, In the Certification EBook, chapter 9 this is mentioned: shoulders turn another 45o for a full 90 turn hips turn approximately 45 Does this mean, compared to the hips the shoulders stay in same position and the extra 45 degree shoulder rotation is actually the 45 degree hips rotation? Thanks for helping! Marcel
March 17, 2020
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
The 45 degree shoulder turn in the takeaway is added to the 45 degree hip turn that happens from the end of the takeaway to the top of the backswing. Those two put together equal 90 degrees. The driving force for the rotation is the trail side shoulder the entire time though. The hips start to get pulled closed, in relation to the target line, by the force of the shoulders attempting to continue to rotate after 45 degrees of rotation. By time the shoulders get to 90 degrees, they will have pulled the hips 45 degrees closed.
March 17, 2020
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Eric
I remember this drawing from Hogan’s book. He said he worked on keeping the hips quiet in the first part of the swing until they were pulled by the body. This has been helpful for me. I had too much hip movement and I would end up with a buckled lead hip and too much inward knee bend on my lead leg. Do you agree with this Hogan drawing?
June 18, 2019
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Eric
Couldn’t tell if drawing went through
June 18, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. I don't have a drawing on my end.
October 30, 2019
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David
Even though i feel i am pulling more with my right side in the takeaway i still manage to pull my arms too flat and sometimes behind me. What drill is best to get more arm elevation. I feel i sometimes tilt rather than turn to get elevation.
May 5, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello David. Take a look at the 4 Square Drill and Pool Noodle Drill.
May 5, 2019
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David
Craig these certainly help although i feel i might be overdoing the arm lifting a bit on the short chips how much should i be doing on say the 10-30m shots? Thanks.
May 6, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello David. There is very minimal elevation before the 9 O'Clock position in the swing. With pitches and chips you don't want very much elevation.
May 6, 2019
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Michael
A few weeks ago, I reviewed a video that contained the "one-third to one-third" swing drill. I want to re-review it, but I cannot find it now. What step was the drill in and what was the name of the video?
March 29, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. The 9 to 3 Drill Video I believe you are referring too. Should be in the Downswing Section under RST Drills typically after you master Step 4.
March 29, 2019
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Michael
Thank you!
March 29, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. Most welcome.
March 29, 2019
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Paul
Hi, should the entire upper body be rotated as one unit during the backswingg? What I mean is should the sternum and belly button contantly be aligned, using core to rotate torso. Or should bellybutton be facing ball during backswing, with sternum rotating against core to create torque .Thanks.
March 9, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. The belly button will move. It won't be perfectly inline with the sternum. But, the core will assist in rotation. Your feeling will be more the belt buckle stays stable to get more separation.
March 9, 2019
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Giap
Are my hips at a good position at the top of my backswing or it’s a little open?
November 25, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Giap. I haven't seen you top position. But, the hips will be around 45 degrees closed at the top with 90 degrees of shoulder turn.
November 26, 2018
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Ron
The thought of keeping the belt buckle pointing forward as I pull back with the right shoulder blade has been very effective for me in many ways. Better separation of my hips and shoulders, No more over rotation of the hips and jutting out of the left knee at the top, a loaded, torqued feeling at the top and better sequencing in the downswing. I am now working on the post up move of the lead leg in the downswing and when I get this right I'm hitting some real quality golf shots. Thanks for the help!
November 14, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ron. Awesome. Sounds like a good plan to me. Thanks for the post.
November 14, 2018
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Eric
I love the Rotary Swing web-site, but frankly it is a lot of information. As a 20+ year flying elbow player I've figured out, what can cause the flying elbow: 1. Shoulder/hips: turning the hips immediately gets me in a bad position with my left leg and it is hard to get through on the downswing so I usually come over the top. 2. Glide (Glide): pushing from the left, not doing the right shoulder glide. 3. Elevation: not elevating my hands/arms results in a low backswing into the flying elow. 4. Weight shift: not getting into my right heel, being into my right front foot can also lead to a push. 5. Alignment: aligning left with my hip (my issue), work on feet, knees, hips, shoulders and eyes along parallel left target line. I have developed an acronym for after I get my alignment: SGEW - Shoulder, Glide, Elevation, Weight Shift. When I do this properly, I get a great result. It is really hard to do all of this in my swing, even with the acronym, any thoughts? I find keeping the left arm out the hardest and really try to keep my left shoulder relaxed.
August 27, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. I would work on the Winter Golf Training Program - Backswing Video. It will help with staying relaxed, but also less thought. If you can work to a good shift, rotation and lead arm position. Then, you can gradually add the trail arm by not letting it interfere with the prior motion.
August 27, 2018
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Eric
Holy cow that works amazing - Winter Backswing Drill. Gets rid of so much thought. Did it three times to one ball hit. Straight down the middle. Swing feels great. Thanks!!!!!
August 28, 2018
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jennifer
"Swing" the clubhead up to the top of the backswing and the body will do the correct movements. don't place the clubhead....swing it. why make it so complicated?
June 1, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jennifer. All players have different issues which is why we have to delve into deeper problems. However, if you move your body correctly and keep your arms in front. Pretty simple to make an efficient backswing.
June 2, 2018
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Scott
This video really helped me in learning how to load the right side in the backswing as I think I was trying to rotate my hips and upper body together because of past teachings. Thanks for recommending, Craig. I've always been taught that restricting the right side hip turn can lead to back problems. Is this not true?
December 18, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Scott. If you restrict the hip turn too much (create excessive torque) it may lead to back issues. That's why we allow for hip turn (roughly 45 degrees in the backswing), or slightly more if necessary. As you continue to pull your trail shoulder back to reach a full shoulder turn the hip needs to be allowed to rotate.
December 18, 2017
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margaret
On the core bar. How do I get the arm holders smaller. I am a woman and they are too big. They just slide down my arms
November 20, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Margaret. The cuffs, or the slider adjustment? The cuffs unfortunately will not change in size. However, if you can adjust the slider (push the rounded ball in) the cuff size shouldn't matter if you get the proper distance between the arms.
November 20, 2017
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Michael
Should I feel like I am restricting the amount of rotation of my lower body in the backswing (i.e., try to keep my right hip from turning too its full ability) or should I freely let my hips turn as much as they want, as long as I'm maintaining my right knee flex and hip line?When I do try to restrict rotation, it feels like I am using my right quad muscle to keep my right hip from pulling back so much.
September 8, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. You will start to engage other muscles to restrict turn. It is fine to allow the hip to rotate freely as long as the trail knee is maintained and you don't have crazy flexibility allowing for over turning.
September 8, 2017
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Michael
Hi Craig, I'm a little confused--do I try to restrict lower body turn or not?
September 9, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. The lower half will turn roughly 45 degrees in the backswing. To help complete your turn you do need to allow for the trail hip to rotate. The goal is to not let it over rotate. By maintaining trail knee flexion it should restrict your hips enough from over turning and allow you to make a full shoulder turn.
September 9, 2017
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Michael
Left knee laser beam, keeping belt buckle pointed forward during the backswing... this is another way of explaining the same thing it seems, another very helpful video for those of us that struggle with overturning to start the backswing. I can't tell you how much these swing thoughts help me whenever my swing goes awry. When my backswing just doesn't feel right, it's almost always because I'm rotating my hips along with my upper body, and my left knee turns in. Thanks again!
June 25, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Micheal, glad to hear the videos are helping you. Make sure you are spending as much time as you can to correct the issue perfectly at slow speeds and then gradually ramping up the speed so you can check this swing fault off your list.
June 26, 2017
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Peter
Thank you - great tips - very well explained. Peter Myrtle Beach SC
June 25, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Peter. Glad you liked the video.
June 25, 2017
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Jim
Great video that really works. One thing that has helped me to reduce my lower body rotation into the back swing, is to reduce pushing off the left side. Without that initial push , the lower body will lag behind the upper body. The feeling is the upper body is pulling the lower body into the back swing. Thanks, Jim
June 25, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jim. Thanks for the post. Yes, the pull from the trail shoulder blade will assist pulling the lower body in the backswing.
June 25, 2017
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Tim
I understand why your upper body has to move twice as fast as your lower body because your shoulders are moving twice as far as your hips. Does this also mean in your backswing that your upper and lower body stop turning back at the same time {or is your upper body still turning back as your lower body initiates the downswing}?
June 21, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tim. For most players, the shift back to the lead side will start slightly before you complete the backswing. However, (myself - former hip spinner) I feel that they almost stop at the same time because I tend to rush the transition too quickly with the hips.
June 21, 2017
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Tim
My tempo is similar as I tend to rush my transition as well and it feels like my upper and lower body stop at the same time in my backswing. My swing has been largely hands and arms with lots of rotation. Lots of work to do on more width and leverage with less rotation! I think accomplishing that will give me a greater feeling of lower body leading the downswing. Thanks for your response.
June 21, 2017

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