This is Part 3 in a series of five articles highlighting the why and how of core development. We’ll explore the concept, its role in the golf swing, and provide examples of exercises to develop each aspect.
Anti-Extension – Part 1
Anti-Lateral Flexion – Part 2
Anti-Rotation – Part 3
Rotational Power – Part 4
Miscellaneous Core Techniques - Part 5
The majority of golfers want to gain more distance. Increasing club head speed becomes essential. There are various forces impacting club head speed. One of the contributors is torque. Torque is a twisting force that causes rotation.
So, why then would we want to train anti-rotation?
Anti-rotation is important because it protects your lumbar spine. Part of the core's natural function is to protect and stabilize your spine. Training the core musculature to stabilize the lumbar spine will help reduce the likelihood of injury from repeat torsion. Remember, in a golf swing, rotation should be occurring at the hips and upper back (thoracic spine). In the picture below, the image on the left shows internal rotation into the trail leg during the backswing. The picture on the right, shows the opposite - internal rotation into the lead leg hip joint and external rotation of the trail leg hip joint. The lumbar spine stays stable while rotation and motion occurs around it.
The lumbar spine was not meant to rotate. In fact, there is about 13 degrees of movement throughout the lumbar spine. That's just 0-2 degrees per segment. Lower back pain often results from the lumbar spine being unable to adequately stabilize and buffer the rotational forces generated in our swings.
Let's use a 10-handicap golfer as an example. Over 18 holes, they may take 50 full swings. For each swing, add two practice swings. So after the round, that golfer has rotated approximately 150x in just one direction. Then, add in time at the range practicing, more rounds during the week, and you start to understand the volume of stress and the impact rotation can have if your body can't resist it in the proper ways.
Anti-rotational exercises will help deal with that rotational stress. The exercises can be done in a variety of different ways - unilateral moves (ex. Single-leg Deadlift), moves unilaterally loaded (ex. 1-arm DB Bench Press), or movements with an outside force trying to rotate and twist you while you resist (ex. Half-kneeling Chops/Lifts, Pallof Press).
Here are some examples of anti-rotational exercises.
Half-Kneeling Chops/Lifts - very little motion should occur at the shoulders.
Pallof Press Variations
Anti-rotation Plank Variations - these provide an anti-extension component for even more benefit.
Wide-Stance Anti-Rotation Chop