Torso, Hips Over Rotating in Backswing

How much shoulder turn is too much and how much is not enough? Depends on how it's measured... At some point you need to understand shoulder blade protraction and how it helps the hips from over turning.

  • Getting "150° of turn" like the pros doesn't mean rotating your rib cage that far
  • If you try to turn your torso that much, your hips will get pulled too far around
  • Rotate your rib cage 90° or so - the rest of the "rotation" is actually provided by shoulder protraction
  • Extend your arm as if to shake hands with someone - that's shoulder protraction

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Douglas
Yesterday, I received my LiveView Pro I had recently ordered. This morning, I recorded one of my swings to observe the results. Good Lord, I see a huge over rotation in my swing. I had no idea that I was doing this until now--thanks to the LiveView Pro. I also had no idea that my left arm is bending at the top of my swing, which I believe is caused my over rotation. It appears that I have a lot of work to do to resolve these faults. I'm hoping that LiveView Pro will help me resolve these faults quickly.
March 11, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Douglas. Great. Feedback is vital!!!!!!!!
March 11, 2021
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Jens
Recently had a lesson with a k-vest and found that top of backswing i am on average 55° hips and 110° shoulder and at impact my hips are Only in the range of 12°-7° open. And i don't know how to fix this. Was a 3h lesson so we for sure spent some time at it. The sequence is a bit messy hips start the downswing and also Peak first, but then hands follow as second and torso and shoulders are sorta even in when they engage from the top. Teacher told me that the speed ratios of everything was Good except hips which had a super poor peak speed and that was measing the swing up, something along the line of "the hips aren't helping the torso turn so thats why the arms fire as second in the chain". I need to work on getting the swing shorter. Believe this also explains why i get a bit too flat, probably what enables the extra possible turn, cheating it out somehow. But i honestly feel like all i am doing from the top is really pushing into my left foot agressively and extending the hip backwards, so the sometimes 7° at impact was super dishartening to see. Looking at the graph my hipspeed got to 400 although it was way after impact. Which explains the sensation i have that my upper body eventually when comming through locks up and then shoves through in some weird motion. Guess that is when the hips accelerate again. If i only get to 7° feeling like im really crushing something under my left foot, is that maybe the problem? Do i need to feel more like i spin the hips in place from the top?
August 10, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jens. 2 things. 1) You tend to over swing the arms to the top. When the arms are over swung/deep your legs will tend to quit. As you start down you have all the momentum and inertia from the club swinging and your brain tells you to shut of the legs to not fall over. Tightening up the over swing will start to help. 2) You must start the transition sooner. Which will help also with problem number 1. As you start reaching the top the hips need to start working the other direction. Starting the downswing before completing the backswing. That way you can get the hips back.
August 10, 2020
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David
So the lead shoulder protracts, got it. Does the trail shoulder retract then to get to that view where it appears the pros turn 100-110 degrees?
November 26, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello David. The trail shoulder will be pulling down and in towards the spine throughout the backswing. Retracting/gliding. And, to reach the larger turn the lead shoulder will have a slight bit of protraction.
November 26, 2018
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Anders
Is there a good video about seperation of the upper and lower body or a drill to practice the shoulders square while the hips are open at impact?
March 3, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Anders. Step 2 - Core Rotation is your best bet. Upper vs. Lower Body Rotation Video as well.
March 4, 2018
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Patrick
I just had a swing review from Aaron and he gave me some things to work on. One of the things was not letting my wrists fold back and drop the club below parallel at the top. I bought a Zepp 2 swing analyzer and they recommend the club be at 270 degrees at the top (setup is 0 degrees and 270 degrees is club parallel and pointing at target). I was probably at 285 degrees or more. The example he gave me of Chuck's backswing made it look more like he was at 240 or 250 degrees (not sure how accurately I am guessing). What degree would you say the club shaft should be at top? Is it different for driver and irons?
July 6, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Patrick. It would be hard to give you the proper measurement according to what your Zepp might read. However, if the trail arm has only 90 degrees of flexion and the wrists are properly (not overly) set. You shouldn't reach parallel to the ground. The driver my due to length and being a specialty club. Use the Self Analysis to upload your swing an compare with Chuck's. When both are relatively the same at the top. See if you can go back and find out what your device said about the position.
July 8, 2017
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Patrick
Ok thanks.
July 8, 2017
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Wyatt
Last weekend I played a round of golf with my spouse and another chap who continually outdrove me by some 30 to 50 yards. Being a male, I concentrated on a bigger wider turn and did manage to hit about 3 drives up to my mates distance (and quite a bit further than my average, as it was our home course). Afterwards my wife put a damper on it all by making a comment that my left knee was dipping badly. I suspect she's right, but can you comment on what may have happened and what I might do to still hit it further but keep the knees level?
February 26, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Wyatt. Are you right handed or left handed? Can you describe the dipping in more detail? During backswing, downswing, impact, etc?
February 27, 2017
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Wyatt
Hi, I'm right handed and I think the left knee dips along with the left hip (my wife calls it swivel hips!!)
February 27, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Wyatt. If the lead knee dips too much or drops during the backswing. You are either not letting the trail hip rotate enough, or losing the weight forward. Work on your rotation with the core and lower half with the RSA Core Video and the Laser Beam Knee Drills for Stability. I think you started to rotate better back (for the distance), but let the lead knee get lazy. https://rotaryswing.com/videos/full-swing-basics/rotary-swing-5-step-golf-swing-system/core-rotation-left-arm-club-rsa
February 27, 2017
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Eric
If the left arm protracts, does that mean that the left shoulder blade should move away from the spine as well? That's what seems to happen with me.
October 21, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Take a look at Left Shoulder Push in the Backswing.
October 22, 2016
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Terry
Does the backswing finish by just the arms moving or is it complete with the torso rotation stop? Sounds like the final movement would be the shoulder protraction? Trying to understand the sequence and timeline of the final backswing movements. thx Terry
August 8, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Terry. The trail shoulder movement will help pull the trail hip to the proper turning point and there will be a touch of lead shoulder protraction for added rotation (Left Shoulder Push in the Backswing Video). The arms shouldn't move though independently of you rotating. Rotation stops and the arms should stop.
August 8, 2016
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Orlando
i think I have and continue to struggle with this where I try to focus on Right shoulder blade (RSB) glide however wind up either over rotating the entire upper torso or the opposite and focusing on the positions so much it is mostly an arms takeaway. When I sync it right it is effortless and extremely powerful. No sync = wildly inconsistent. Is a good fix imagining the body encased in cement from the lower chest down? Then a focus on RSB would hopefully give me the proper sequence I am desperate to nail.
August 1, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Orlando. If you have the tendency to over rotate feeling the lower half more stable and allowing the trail shoulder pull to move the hips is definitely okay. Combine the Laser Beam Knee Drills for Stability Video and rotate with the trail shoulder.
August 1, 2016
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Djamil
Hi, I test some motion to feel the protraction and in my swing it seems i make a big protraction of my left shoulder, i am sure it's not good and can causes injuries isn't it? If it's not good to do a big protraction does it mean i should try not to Put my club to far in my backswing. When i make a shorter backswing i feel better and have less tension in the back of my shoulder...(I feel less my left shoulder blade moving away from my spine) Hope i am clear Djamil
November 1, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Djamil. There will be some shoulder protraction at the top. But, you don't want to try and overly extend the arms out away from the body for added turn. You want to maintain the connection as best as possible. The shorter swing for you sounds more cohesive to the body as a unit.
November 2, 2015
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Djamil
Thank you for the response. So if i understand what you say if i make a shorter swing it's ok because i will be certainly more connected and i will keep my arms in front of my chest.
November 2, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Yes. You can start getting away from efficiency when the arms start disconnecting from the body.
November 2, 2015
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Loran
This shoulder protraction occurs when during the golf swing? The takeaway or the backswing? The left shoulder does not push in the takeaway but it does have a job of shoulder protraction, no? Are they two different feelings and movements?
October 28, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Loan. There is some slight lead shoulder protraction at the top of the backswing. The lead shoulder will not push in the takeaway. You more than likely will just feel a little stretch at the top with the lead arm.
October 29, 2015
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Loran
That shoulder protraction is more of a reach over, correct? If not, I am leaning my chest and shoulders back in the top swing. I know the hips move very little in the takeaway...but when does a golfer should prepare to rotate 45 degrees the hips in the backswing? Or is this a more gradual natural inclination in golf sport?
September 23, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. You don't need to manually move the 45 degrees. As you continue to pull with the trail shoulder blade from the takeaway to the top. The pull will start to open the hips going back. By maintaining good knee flexion and load. You will build some torque and not over rotate.
September 23, 2015
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Loran
Then, the hips move relatively little compared to the rotation of shoulders?
August 26, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. The shoulders will cover more distance compared to the amount of hip turn.
August 26, 2015
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Loran
The shoulder blade protraction can also serve as a balance from over rotating plus hip rotation?
July 14, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. The lead shoulder blade will protract at the top. A better balance than over rotating the body and/or hips.
July 15, 2015
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edward
At what point in the backswing does the left shoulder protraction start? Towards the end? Gradual from the start? Before/after right elbow flexion? How much of a stretch in the left lat should one feel?
October 14, 2014
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Edward, The left shoulder protraction starts when the right arm is being folded up towards the sky. It's the folding of the right arm that pulls the left arm across the center line of the sternum. If the shoulder did not protract at this point, then the left hand would not be over the right elbow (which is caused by an external rotation of the right humerus) at the top of the backswing. If the left hand is not above the right elbow at the top of the backswing, then it is very easy for the right elbow to fly away from the body and become disconnected from the box. One should never be actively trying to protract the left shoulder, it should happen naturally. If you try to protract it, then you'll tend to get your arms deep in the swing, causing you to get stuck. As for how the lat should feel, that will depend on your flexibility level and your sensitivity to feeling muscles stretch so, it's hard to describe how that muscle is going to feel to you. However, if you're getting the proper amount of separation from your hips and your shoulders in the backswing, you'll find it to be relatively difficult to talk or breath at the top of your swing. Not a strangling kind of difficulty, but it will be harder than it was standing at address. I hope this tip helped, R.J.
October 14, 2014
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DENIS
Very good video. But are you saying the we should not attempt to get the torso to 90 degrees - but say 70-80 degrees - and let the shoulder protraction do the rest? For the reason that to attempt a 90 degree torso turn will spin the hips too far?
September 10, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Denis. Rotate as much as you can with your flexibility. If it's 90 degrees or around that allow shoulder protraction to take care of the rest. Yes, if you attempt too much you will tend to over rotate the body as well.
September 10, 2014
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Giampietro
That's brilliant! I've been wondering for years how shoulders rotation specicicaly works... but have a little question: we always want the club staiyng in front of us during the swing. So with shoulders protraction it'seems that they go a bit "scordinate" from the body. Don't know if a make it clear...
August 22, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Giampietro. Yes we want the club staying in front, but towards the end of the swing as elbow flexion occurs. The arms and hands will begin to cross centerline. Its not huge movement, but just enough. It won't get un-coordinated with the body.
August 22, 2014
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Mike
Eureka! not worrying about getting to 90% sets my hips at 45* and extending the left arm takes care of the shoulder turn. Worth the price of admission. At the start of the downswing, would a feeling of dropping or sagging the right knee to the left be an effective way to prevent so much knee straightening?
July 1, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Mike. I wouldn't want you to lock the knee into a position by sagging the knee to the left. It might cause undo strain. Take a Look at the Right Knee Laser Beam Drill in the Backswing Advanced Section. Try to maintain the flexion longer.
July 1, 2014

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