The Foam Roller Hip Flexor Exercise is a great self-massage exercise that will give your hip flexor muscles (in the front of your hips) a deep and effective sports massage, thus improving the health and quality of your muscle tissue and helping you to perform better. It will also alleviate soreness and make your muscles feel better.
The foam roller overloads the muscle tissues through compression, causing your nerves to relax, signalling muscle spasms to shut off, pumping blood and and getting your lymphatic system flowing, to help muscle recovery and regeneration. You’ll work out those knots (muscle adhesions) in your muscles caused either by inactivity, by the repetitive strain of the golf swing, or by walking a tough golf course. This will enable you to stretch the muscles back out to their original length, making them more pliable and functional.
The Foam Roller Hip Flexor Exercise can be performed both before and after playing golf, practising on the range, or other physical activity. It’s also great after sitting in the same position for a while, and can be enjoyed anywhere and anytime you feel tight and in need of a massage, such as while watching television or before bedtime.
This exercise requires a foam roller, also referred to as a foam roll.
For more information on the foam roller and its benefits, see An Introduction to the Foam Roller – The Golfer’s Best Friend.
- Start by lying face down, with a foam roller under the front of one hip and your other leg to the side. Use your forearms to help support your weight, keep your abdominal muscles engaged, and place as much weight on the foam roller as you can tolerate.
- Roll along the front of your upper thigh to your hip.
- Repeat with the roller under your other hip.
For a really deep massage, you can cross your other leg over the back of the leg being massaged to increase the compression on your hip. You can also use the edge of the foam roller to get really deep into your psoas major muscle.
Work the foam roller back and forth, gliding the front of your hip over the foam roller, for 30 to 60 seconds on each leg. As you work you’ll discover muscle spasms and tender pressure points, hold on each pressure point for an additional 30 seconds until the muscle releases from spasm.
The first time you perform this exercise, it might be a little painful, just like a professional sports massage would be, but that’s just a sign that you stand to benefit enormously from it. After the first few sessions, it will start to become considerably easier and more comfortable. The better it feels, and the less it hurts, the better the quality of your muscle tissue.
Only go as deep as you can tolerate, and slowly build up the amount of time you spend on this exercise.
How Will It Benefit Your Golf Swing?
During the downswing, the obliques and hip flexors are highly activated, creating a crunch-like position as your hips extend and your pelvis tilts (your belt buckle stays level, pointing forwards) while your chest remains over the ball.
The hip flexors are an important part of your core, working to maintain posture, generate power, stabilise the body, and to decelerate the lower body for efficient energy transfer coming into impact.
Maintaining the quality and function of your hip flexors is very important for maintaining posture through the downswing and impact, especially with the longer clubs, where the greater length of the club’s shaft increases the forces that must be absorbed by the body.
Your hip flexors attach from your spine to your legs. When they are weak, they are not able to withstand the high forces of the longer clubs and are unable to hold your spine angle. This results in early extension (loss of spine angle) as the hip flexors lengthen under high loads, resulting in a loss of spinal posture before impact.
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Golf Anatomy and Kinesiology, a collection of articles describing the roles of the muscles involved in the golf swing.
Core muscles, which describes the muscles that run the length of your trunk and torso.
Oblique muscles, which describes in more detail your side abdominals, which help you to bend from the side or twist your torso, and their role in the golf swing.