5 Minutes to Master Body Rotation in the golf swing teaches you how to rotate properly and use your core rather than the momentum from your arms and hands to make a full shoulder turn.
Learning how to rotate your body properly in the golf swing is a huge piece that most people don't understand how to do. In this segment, we're going to talk about developing the keys to rotation and understanding the movement of the arms or lack thereof, really. I'm going to give you five simple ways to go through it to help you learn to rotate properly, groove rotation, and learn to get your arms under control and in sync with your body.
The first thing you're going to do is that you're going to stand straight up. You're always going to do things not in your golf posture, not with the golf club when you start out, because you need to boil everything down to the simplest moving pieces that you can so your brain has time to understand and feel and pay attention to all the different parts that are actually working here. Even something as simple as doing the shoulder rotation is a part that involves a lot of muscles. We want to get the kinesthetic awareness of what it is we're exactly we're trying to do and feel throughout this whole rotation in the golf backswing and the downswing.
For right now, we're just going to focus really on the backswing. We're going to talk about how the shoulders rotate going back. I want you to stand up with me, get your feet just slightly outside of neutral joint alignment or neutral alignment. What you're going to do is you're going to start out with your hands in that same position that we did when we were getting into our setup posture for bowing forward, right in front of your body. Right in front of your chest, hands are vertical. All I want you to do is I want you to turn without turning your hips. You're going to start to feel these muscles. These are called your oblique muscles, and these are the muscles that are designed to help rotate your torso and your hips.
What we're going to do is we're just going to turn, feeling those muscles. We're going to do this really slow at first, because I want you to take your time and feel these muscles, your obliques, starting to engage. That's the first part that I want you to become aware of. For those of you who have spent some time working on the takeaway and paying attention to that right shoulder blade glide, you may also feel that as well. That's a great thing, because that is going to help pull all that rotation in around your spine. Right now, we have primarily the obliques as our key checkpoint, and for the more advanced guys, that right shoulder blade glide moving in towards the spine.
All we're doing is we're just rotating around our spine here. The reason I put your hands in front of your chest is I want you to ... Once you have done this a few times, you can go back and forth both directions ... is I want you to start to feel first of all, whether or not your hips go with it. If you look at my hips right now, my upper torso is turning, but my hips are remaining very quiet. That's the first goal here, is that your hips need to be not following along in your rotation. It may seem like, gosh, I'm really not moving my hips, but if you watch yourself in a mirror, a ton of golfers that we see every day just trying to ask them to rotate, they do this. They realize that their hips are what are moving all over the place in the golf swing, and so they have no control. Until they learn to just stand here and do this very simple drill without turning their hips, there's no way they're ever going to do it in the golf swing.
You're going to start out, again, just here, no hip rotation to start. Once you've got that where your hips feel pretty quiet ... You're not going to make a full 90-degree shoulder turn at this point. It's really just about 45 degrees with no hip turn. Now, if you can feel your obliques and maybe feel that right shoulder blade working in towards the spine a little bit, now I want you to really pay attention to your lead hand. If you're a right-handed golfer, that's your left hand.
I want you to pay attention to if you're starting to push your right hand away from the center of your chest. It may be very, very subtle at first. You may not even notice it, that your shoulder tenses up, that you're putting increased pressure on your right hand, but I would say at least nine out of 10 golfers that we work with at the academy start pushing from the left side, and they can't even feel it at first. That's why we take all of these drills down to the bare minimum so that you can start to feel when things are working that shouldn't be. Right now, we're really just feeling our obliques, the right shoulder blade, hips are staying quiet. If you feel your hands pushing across, or if you look in the mirror from down the line and your hands have moved away from the center of your chest, it's that you're pushing with that left side.
When we do that, this is why so many golfers can't get their back to the target. When we get into looking at the full swing, we have so many golfers who say, "Oh, I've never gotten my shoulders to the target or my back to the target. I've never made a full shoulder turn. I'm not flexible enough." Well, in all the years that I've been teaching, I've never once had a student that I couldn't get their back to the target. It has nothing to do with flexibility. It has to do with moving from the right spots. Obviously, being a golf instructor in Florida, I teach older golfers all the time, who have very limited flexibility, but if you pull your right shoulder back behind your head, the movement to make a full shoulder turn is tiny. You're only moving your shoulder about six inches.
To do this, anybody can do this. Anybody has enough flexibility to pull their right shoulder behind their head. If you're pushing from the left, then it's very tough to make a full shoulder turn. We want to really monitor this that we're not pushing from that left hand. Our left hand is nice and relaxed. We're really just using our obliques and that right shoulder blade to rotate our torso. Okay? You're going to do it. You're going to need to do this. Some people may get it right away, but I highly recommend that everybody spend at least five or 10 minutes just doing this without getting into your posture, without moving your arms, so you can start to become aware of these muscles. These are what actually need to transport the club back during the backswing.
Once you've mastered this, once you can feel that you're no longer pushing from the left ... You can feel both obliques rotating your torso, maybe feel that shoulder blade moving in ... then we're going to add the arms, but still standing upright. Okay? Still standing in the same posture, now all you're going to do is let your arms come out about 45 degrees away from you. In other words, they're going to be about belt buckle height. Now, they're going to be about an inch apart. What you're going to do is make that same motion. I'm just going to use my torso to rotate back, and my hands should still remain right in front of my body.
Now, if you go back and you start seeing that your hands are here, you can see that my chest, it's pointing this way, and my hands are pointing this way. This is a push across with my left arm. That same tension that I might have felt when I was pushing against my left hand, I should feel that in my left shoulder as I'm doing this drill with my hands an inch apart. I'm going to notice that I'm starting to tense up. My chest muscle is starting to tighten up. My shoulder is starting to tighten up, and I'm starting to push across my body. We obviously don't want that, because that's what's going to inhibit the shoulder turn.
Instead, a good visual for this is imagine that you're leaving your hands right there where they are at the golf setup, and you're just focusing on turning your torso. I'm actually imagining that I'm trying to leave my hands here and not moving them at all. If I imagine to myself that I'm leaving them behind and I'm just focusing on using my obliques to rotate me and that right shoulder blade glide, I'd lose this tension in my left shoulder. I lose starting to do this. Now I can keep my hands intact and make good rotation.
We're going to start to do this using both obliques, back and forth. You may notice that on if you start to rotate back to the left, that you want to start pushing from the right side. Now your right shoulder is getting activated. We want those both shoulders to stay very relaxed. All we're doing is keep watching our hands, make sure they stay one inch apart, and use the obliques to rotate your torso. Do this very, very slow at first. Your brain does not work at full speed. We know this by now. It's going to take time. Just do it very slow, nice and relaxed. Use your obliques. Rotate your torso. Once again, this is something you need to do 20, 30, 40 times at first, the first time you do it, before you can start to master this and do it correctly. That's the second piece.
The third part is that we're going to actually go back to our hands in that bowing position, and we're going to get into our golf posture. If you've already gone through the setup videos, you know how to get into your posture. You're going to hinge from the hips. You're going to get in the box. Now I'm going to put my hands right here in front of my chest, and I'm going to use my obliques to rotate back and use my obliques to rotate through. No hip rotation at this point. Now, what you'll notice is that your rotation, the way that your muscles engage, is going to feel a little bit different.
Once you hinge from the hips, you're putting your muscles in a way that's a different position. They're going to get stretched and used differently. It's going to feel a little bit different to rotate. That's why you need to do this without a golf club, without your arms in position. You're solely just starting to see if you want to start pushing again, whether or not your hips start turning. For a lot of you, it's going to be very common, because as soon as you get into this posture, the first thing you're going to do is go back to your golf swing thoughts instead of just learning new movement patterns, and go right back into turning your hips and pushing your arms across.
We're going to stay nice and relaxed. Hands are relaxed. There's no tension in my left shoulder. My left arm is just completely relaxed as I rotate back to the left. My right side is really relaxed. It's just both of my obliques working back and through. On the backswing, I can use that right shoulder blade a little bit. You're going to do that until you feel, again, that you're confident that you're not pushing from this left side. You're not engaging this left shoulder, and you're not turning your hips.
Once you master that, we're going to go on to the fourth step, which is in posture, in the box, but now our arms are hanging down in a setup position. Okay? Now our hands are one inch apart in a setup position, and we're going to do the exact same thing. Okay? We're not going to swing our arms. This is where if you failed on the first one where you couldn't stop pushing from this side, don't even bother with this one, because you're never going to get it right. You need to start from the beginning and work your way up to this.
Now, as I get into my setup position, my hands are one inch apart, and I'm going to really take my time, feel my obliques, try to leave my hands at address. Right away, if you feel any tension doing this, you need to go back to address, relax that shoulder. If you feel your shoulders tensing up, shrug your shoulders up to your ears, and then pull them down and get back in the box and let your shoulders relax. Your arms are nice and relaxed. Use your obliques to rotate back, nice and slow. Imagine that you're leaving your hands back at setup, no hip turn, and rotate through. Not worried about weight transfer at this point. That's an advanced step that we'll add later. We're simply doing the shoulder blade movement and the torso rotation in our setup position. Nothing else. Forget about golf for a second. You're just learning new movement patterns. One inch apart with the hands. Leave the hands at address. Use your obliques and your shoulder blade to transport your arms back. Okay?
You're going to need to do this one a lot, because this is the fourth step in the process that we've gone through. This is the most advanced one that we've gone through. We started with the simple one, and we added a little bit more complicated. Then we went back to simple in posture. Now we're making it a little bit more complicated.
The last one is we're going to add a golf club. This is where things get really tricky, because as soon as we put this little guy back in your hands, the whole thing is thrown out the door. You're going to take your time before you get back to actually hitting golf balls, swinging a golf club, and doing this drill with a golf club, because as we all know, as soon as you put that little white devil in front of you, everything is started all over. We forget all the things that we're working on. That's why we've got to drill this over and over. That's why the workout program at the end of this video is there for you to follow, so that in a few weeks, you'll start to really understand and feel this, and you won't know any other way to move. That's the goal is to get you to move correctly and build that into your movement patterns.
Now, we're going to get into our setup position again. We're going to do it with a golf club this time. We're going to do the exact same movement. We're not going to swing our arms. We're not going to worry about positions at this point. All we're doing is rotating back, trying to leave my arms in place. Right now, I'm focusing on feeling my obliques. I'm focusing on feeling the exact same things I did when I was at the very beginning. I'm not changing anything. Even though I've got a golf club in my hand, my mental power, my mental focus, is still here and on my shoulder blade and keeping my hands and arms nice and relaxed. I'm pulling back.
If you notice any tension and grabbing that golf club tighter in your left hand, any tension here, go back immediately to address, relax your hands. At first, you may have to hold the club really lightly to be able to do this, but as you begin to rotate, you'll start to feel that the club is now being literally transported back and moving solely because you're using your obliques and your shoulder blade. Nothing else. You're not doing this with your hands. You're not moving your arms. You're not moving from your shoulders. This is the key and the secret to making a centered rotation, making a full turn, and keeping the golf club perfectly in sync with the body.
Now when I continue to do this and rotate correctly back, I'm going to add rotation through. My hands are just following along. They're always in the center of my body. If they start to move out away and the club's no longer pointing at the center of my body, I've got to go back to the beginning and start over again. This is the key drill that once you've moved past the first four, you're ready to add this. Once you master this, you're ready to start hitting golf balls again.
This drill is the prerequisite, really, for the nine to three drill, where you're actually hitting balls out on the range. You need to work this drill a lot before you go out and start hitting golf balls. If you master this five-step program that I just set out for you, your body rotation, your arm movement, all of these things will improve dramatically. Please take the time to focus on this. Do it right, and your golf swing will improve a ton.
-Dr. Jeffrey Broker, Assoc. Prof. in Biomechanics at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Former Senior Biomechanist for U.S. Olympics Committee
-Hub Orr - Happy PREMIUM MEMBER of RotarySwing.com
-Sam Jarman, PGA Golf Instructor in the UK