Fitness Friday: Mike Malaska trains your hips and upper torso to work independently
*Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he continues an interview with Mike Malaska, the current PGA Teacher of the Year. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman**.
Here's Ron: Last week, PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Malaska explained that many amateur golfers who hit slices or pulls do so because their upper torso and hips can't rotate independently. If you watch slow-motion video of players such as Rory McIlroy or Charles Howell III, you'll see that during the downswing their hips rotate toward the target much faster than their chest and shoulders do. The hips are pointing at the target at impact, but their shoulders are still facing the ball. This helps them generate a tremendous amount of power by swinging the club in a whip-like fashion.
When amateurs with poor hip or thoracic-spine (mid-back) mobility try to copy McIlroy's swing, they usually end up hitting a slice or a pull because the entire trunk turns together and it causes the swing path to come from outside the target line on the downswing to inside the target line post impact. This is known as "coming over the top."
Malaska gave you a quick swing fix on the course (drop your right foot back at address) and also a drill to improve your hips' ability to rotate without much movement of the upper torso. But several requests from my Twitter followers asked for more things they could do in the gym to help gain better separation of the hips and upper torso.
So here are two exercises that will help you train your hips and upper torso to work independently. Click on the video below.