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Three Common Swing Faults: Reverse Spine Angle

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rev-sp-top-bk-sw-port

In this third and final instalment of my three article series, I am going to look at reverse spine angle.

Regardless of ability, reverse spine angle in the set up and the backswing causes power leaks, inconsistent ball striking and injury. Here’s the good news; it’s really easy to fix with an understanding of basic concepts and few simple exercises.

The Issue: Reverse spine angle

rev sp set up land

By reverse spine angle, I mean the position that your hips and pelvis get into relative to your upper back and head. The photos above give a good example of reverse spine angle at address and at the top of the backswing. As you can see, the top of the spine is essentially pointing more toward the target than away from it. This means we are going to start by essentially rotating in the wrong direction and getting a lot of weight on to our LEFT side during the backswing.

What this leads to is the upper body moving to the RIGHT in the downswing, essentially “backing up.” This mean there has to be a major adjustment of the body coming back into impact where the right side of the body is shortened in an attempt to get the club back to the ball in a decent position. This is pretty detrimental to the body due to a lot strain going through the lower back and wrists especially. It can also cause inconsistency due to the amount of timing involved trying to manipulate the club back into position with the hands. You will often see a reverse spine angle causing early extension in the downswing.

The Fix: Setup posture drills and dynamic rotation drills

The fix for the setup is to use a mirror and get into good posture (spine angle pointing away from the target) and then cement it using the Ramsay Posture Belt and knee band. Performing the setup posture drills that involve stomping of the feet and pulsing of the arms (rapid muscle activation) will send lots of messages to the brain to activate the key muscles that are involved in holding the correct posture. By increasing brain and body connection using this technique, the new set up posture will ingrain and become natural much more quickly.

Below are a couple of short videos on how to use the knee band and Ramsay Posture Belt and tubing for maximum effect.

[youtube id=”T9PTi4ofmGs” width=”620″ height=”360″]

[youtube id=”0StuDgRdOP8″ width=”620″ height=”360″]

The position at the top of the backswing is often fixed by resolving the issue at set up. However, on occasions players can find their way into reverse spine angle positions even from a solid set up. In this circumstance we use the Ramsay Posture Belt in a more dynamic way.

We set up in good posture and then start to rotate into a good position, again using a mirror for instant visual feedback. When we are able to complete the desired movement, it’s then time to add stomping and pulsing (rapid muscle activation) as well as ramping up the speed of rotation. All of this again develops the mind-body connection and helps the player to weed out the old spine angle and ingrain the new.

Below is a mini program of setup posture drills and strength exercises to help you with your backswing and posterior chain strength.

For many of the exercises, we prescribe we use the Ramsay Posture Belt (above), a great bit of kit that allows us to get into good posture and then make small but very rapid muscle activations and reopen that neural pathway back to the brain. That makes us more aware of those key postural muscles and more likely to use them during setup and swing.

Equipment Needed

  • Ramsay Posture Belt: The ultimate tool for training golf posture and movement patterns.
  • Knee Band: Can be used around the knee, ankle or foot to activate and strengthen glute muscles.

Note: All products are available to purchase at http://www.randallfitsystems.com/content/products.

Here are some alternatives you might find lying around at home that you can substitute for the recommended products. They are not as effective, but adequate for lower-level exercises.

  • For the Ramsay Posture Belt, golfers can substitute a resistance band or theraband tubing.
  • For the Spiky Ball, golfers can substitute a tennis ball, cricket ball or golf ball.
  • For the knee Band, golfers can substitute a resistance band tied in a loop.

Follow this program is you feel as though you might have some issues with reverse spine angle.

The Program

Perform As a circuit: Three rounds with 20 seconds rest between exercises.

  1.  Set Up Posture Drill (30 seconds).
  2. Dynamic Turn to Right (45 seconds).
  3. Resistance Band Hip Sink (8 reps each side).

No. 1: Set Up Posture Drill

SET UP POSTURE DRILL

 

Purpose

  • Initial stage of exercises for development of postural awareness.

Positioning

  • Posture belt, knee band.
  • In set up position.
  • Hands and arms in front loop.

Form

  • Stomp and pulse working through three speeds (33-66-99).
  • Maintain posture.

Tips

  • Watch head position, retract chin.
  • Check form in mirror.

Video

[youtube id=”qdkfUtlhD3I” width=”620″ height=”360″]

No. 2: Dynamic turn to the right

DYNAMIC TURN TO RIGHT 2

Purpose

  • Develop dynamic rotation whilst maintaining posture.

Positioning

  • Posture belt and knee band, arms in up position.

Form

  • Stomp working through three speeds (33-66-99).
  • Make slow controlled rotations to the the right.
  • Keep posture and balance throughout the movement.

Tips

  • Watch head position, retract chin.
  • Check form in mirror.

Video

[youtube id=”eJB_nguKUnM” width=”620″ height=”360″]

No. 3: Resistance Band Hip Sink

RESISTANCE BAND HIP SINK 3RESISTANCE BAND HIP SINK 2

Purpose

  • Train hip sink motor pattern.

Positioning

  • Resistance band or double cable.
  • Holding band or cable in neutral grip position.
  • Athletic stance.

Form

  • Make hip sink movement.
  • Keep connection in back and pull the arms in on same side as hip sink.
  • Alternate the movement from side to side.

Tips

  • Feel glute, back and core ALL working together in the movement.
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Nick Randall is a Strength and Conditioning Coach, Presenter and Rehab Expert contracted by PGA Tour Players, Division 1 colleges and national teams to deliver golf fitness services. Via his Golf Fit Pro website, app, articles and online training services, Nick offers the opportunity to the golfing world to access his unique knowledge and service offerings. www.golffitpro.net

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. cole

    Apr 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I see a lot of beginners doing this and wondering why they can’t hit the ball.

  2. Nick Buchan

    Apr 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Nice job Nick! Really like the resistance band hip sink exercise. Great to train a probably far to often overlooked movement pattern for golfers. Would you look at external rotation of the trail shoulder in a player with reverse spine angle at all?

    • Nick Randall

      Apr 11, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks Nick, the hip sink exercise is a favourite of mine. We often talk about disassociation between upper and lower body and rightly so, it’s a very important motor patterns to learn initially. But it’s rare that I see people using a drill to get them working in harmony, which is what we really want in the golf swing.

      Regards external rotation of the trail shoulder – this is something I ALWAYS screen for, it’s a very important range of motion to look at. You are right that a reverse spine angle pattern could well be a result of compensating for a lack of external rotation in the trail shoulder. When our body comes up against a physical road block which prevents us from getting into the right position then a compensatory movement is very likely to occur.

      This is a great article which explains how shoulder restrictions affect the golf swing;

      http://strongergolf.org/2014/02/27/shoulder-mobility-swing-plane/

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Instruction

Golf 101: What is a strong grip?

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What is a strong grip? Before we answer that, consider this: How you grip it might be the first thing you learn, and arguably the first foundation you adapt—and it can form the DNA for your whole golf swing.

The proper way to hold a golf club has many variables: hand size, finger size, sports you play, where you feel strength, etc. It’s not an exact science. However, when you begin, you will get introduced to the common terminology for describing a grip—strong, weak, and neutral.

Let’s focus on the strong grip as it is, in my opinion, the best way to hold a club when you are young as it puts the clubface in a stronger position at the top and instinctively encourages a fair bit of rotation to not only hit it solid but straight.

The list of players on tour with strong grips is long: Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Fred Couples, David Duval, and Bernhard Langer all play with a strong grip.

But what is a strong grip? Well like my first teacher Mike Montgomery (Director of Golf at Glendale CC in Seattle) used to say to me, “it looks like you are revving up a Harley with that grip”. Point is the knuckles on my left hand were pointing to the sky and my right palm was facing the same way.

Something like this:

Of course, there are variations to it, but that is your run of the mill, monkey wrench strong grip. Players typically will start there when they are young and tweak as they gain more experience. The right hand might make it’s way more on top, left-hand knuckles might show two instead of three, and the club may move its way out of the palms and further down into the fingers.

Good golf can be played from any position you find comfortable, especially when you find the body matchup to go with it.

Watch this great vid from @JakeHuttGolf

In very simple terms, here are 3 pros and 3 cons of a strong grip.

Pros

  1. Encourages a closed clubface which helps deloft the club at impact and helps you hit further
  2. It’s an athletic position which encourages rotation
  3. Players with strong grips tend to strike it solidly

Cons

  1. Encourages a closed clubface which helps deloft the club at impact and can cause you to hit it low and left
  2. If you don’t learn to rotate you could be in for a long career of ducks and trees
  3. Players with strong grips tend to fight a hook and getting the ball in the air

 

Make Sense?

 

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Clement: Driver lesson to max out distance and help you get fit properly

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This is an essential video on how to get you prepared for a driver fitting at your local Club Champion or favorite golf shop or store. I will be showing you two essential drills that we use at Wisdom In Golf, which will get you in the right focus for your driver fitting session which will also give you way more accuracy and consistency out on the golf course. What you should be looking for before your fitting session is the consistency of the golf ball hitting the center face of the driver and your ability to maintain an ascending angle of attack to your target.

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Clement: How to use the legs in the golf swing

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Shawn Clement’s Wisdom in Golf has been going against mainstream instruction for the last 40 years. Before that, we had the Snead Squat, and the teachings of Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus and Wisdom in Golf has taken it from there while others were too busy nipping and tucking all the talent and natural ability out of the game through video analysis. Those teachings showed up in the ’80s, we have theorized on what to do with our body parts and we have examined under a microscope what the leg work of the PGA Tour and LPGA tour players have. We taught “resist with the legs and coil upper body against the lower body” and paid a heavy price both physically and mentally. Then we said “stable lower body,” then finally, just a couple of years ago, we start saying to “let the hips turn” in the backswing.

Well, we have been doing our own thing and blazing a trail for our 115, 000 followers, and because your Human-machine is free of wires and strings, it knows what to do if you give it a clear task. CLARITY IN YOUR TASK will get you the consistency in the movement and it is important for your mind to understand so you know how to let things happen! Enjoy this video on proper leg work in the golf swing and enjoy the practice in your backyard with the easy drills we provide you!

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