THIS IS WHY USING YOUR GLUTES IN THE GOLF SWING IS SO ESSENTIAL

(and some exercises to help you strengthen them)
In this post we are going to discuss the importance of using your glutes in the golf swing.

We will show you how some of the greatest ball strikers generate power by properly using their butt in the golf swing.

But we won’t leave you hanging. We also give you a bunch of exercises to help you strengthen your glutes in the gym.

Finally because you are so AWESOME. We include a downloadable FREE guide.

So without further ado let’s get started.
Exercises for Glutes in the Golf Swing PDF
Chapter 1

The science behind the glutes in the golf swing

Before we get started, lets review why using your glutes in the golf swing is so vital.

In this chapter we back it up with some research.

Don’t care about the science?

That’s fine, just skip to the next chapter.
Chapter 1 - Hip Flexibility in the golf swing
We first used the chart below in our post on exercises to increase swing speed.
Using your glutes in the golf swing - joints that matter
It is adapted from a 2005 study called “Work and Power Analysis of the Golf Swing” that shows more than 70% of the “work” generated during the downswing comes from the major joints around the back, core, and hips!

Note that the muscles that power the hips are predominantly the glutes.

And in Davies & DiSaia’s book on golf anatomy the glutes were identified as a primer mover for generating more speed in the golf swing.
Golf Swing Anatomy - Craig Davies
As Meredith Parker points out HERE,

The glutes stabilize the pelvis during the golf swing.

They prevent excessive lateral movement during the backswing.

Without proper stabilization provided by the glutes, the result can be an excessive amount of swaying vis a vis rotation (power) in the swing.

The glutes are the main muscle group that allows the knees to externally rotate.

Let’s have a look at what that means.

Below is a Lu Xiaojun, one of my favorite Olympic lifters.

This is a blog on using your glutes in the golf swing, why are we talking about Olympic lifters?

Well, they are some of the best squatters in the world so we have to use them as a model.

I want you to note two things:

1) His hips move back first before he bends his knees. Not the other way around.
Olympic LIfter Squat Sequence Sending HIps Back
2. His knees track the same direction as the toes aka knees drive out (not in) when squatting.

Both of these are signs of proper functioning glutes.
Lu Squat Sequence Knees Out
These movements carry over to your golf swing because for many of the game’s best

Their knees will externally rotate in transition.

In transition, there is a slight squat that occurs.

At impact, one hip will externally rotate while the other will internally rotate.

The glutes play a major role in performing all the above.

Now let’s examine some of the best in action.
Chapter 2

How the great ball strikers used their glutes in the golf swing.

Ok enough with the science.

Let’s examine how some of the best ball strikers of all time use their glutes in the golf swing.

Let’s examine Tiger, Hogan and Snead.
Chapter 1 - Hip Flexibility in the golf swing
If you have been around the game long enough you have heard of the “Snead Squat”.

We can see in the sequence below that as Snead transitioned from the top of the back swing his left knee would go from internal to external rotation.

AKA his left knee would start to point in the same direction as his toes.

Very similar to performing a proper squat as demonstrated earlier.
Snead Front View Sequence
The same can be seen for the great Ben Hogan.
Hogan Front View Sequence - Knee Out
And yes even Tiger Woods does so to some extent.

Albeit, he had less external rotation due to the impending left knee issues that would pop up in 2008, right after these photos were taken.
Tiger Front View Sequence - Knee Out
This external rotation, or knees driving outward, recruits the same muscles that an Olympic lifter (or anyone for that matter) does when performing a proper squat.

They are all using “firing the glutes.”

Let’s look at these players and how they use their glutes in the golf swing from down the line.

You get a better sense of a squatting motion that occurs in the swing.

Focusing on the vertical line we can see that all great ball strikers keep their glutes on the line in the downswing.

This is very similar to performing a proper squat.

The hips must move back first. This loads the posterior chain (hammies, glutes, low back) which are much stronger together than the quads.

Snead moves his left hip glute back to the line as he drops the club into the “slot.”
Snead Squat Sequence Down the Line
Below we see Hogan performing the same move of sending the left hip/glute back to the yellow line.
Hogan Squat Sequence Down the Line
And finally the GOAT, Tiger Woods does the same move. In fact, in 2007-2008, Tiger was prone to squat too much causing the club to get stuck behind him leading to a high block or a snap hook if he turned it over.

But that is a discussion for another day.
Tiger Squat Sequence Down the Line

Finally let’s examine how these great ball strikers glutes function at impact.

I want you to notice a few things:

1) The left hip/glute is rotating away from the target.

2) The right hip/glute is rotating towards the target.

3) At impact the lead leg is pretty straight

4) You can see the seam of their pants at impact.

5) Finally you see both the left and right glutes at impact.

Here is Ben Hogan demonstrating it. 

The sequence displays the right glute/hip driving towards the target.

The left hip/glute rotates away from the target (middle image). 

All as the lead leg straightens.

And at impact, you can see both glutes as the hips have opened to the target.

Hogan Impact Sequence Driving with the glutes in golf swing
Here is Sam Snead performing the same move.
Snead Impact Sequence
And finally Tiger Woods himself. This sequence is from 2000 when he played some of the best golf in history.
Tiger Woods Impact Sequence
This type of move requires a lot of flexibility in the back and hips.

And it also requires them to engage their glutes to generate a lot of power.

You can really see that in the sequence of Tiger.

If you zoom in on the far right, you see he is driving so hard he gives himself a little wedgie (insert jokes here).
Chapter 3

Exercises to help you strengthen your glutes for golf

We have reviewed the science behind why using your glutes in golf is so important.

Then we showed you how some of the greatest ball strikers in golf have done so.

Now let’s give you some exercises to help strengthen those muscles.

Many of these exercises also appear in our post on exercises to add some club head speed.

But we also added a couple more.
Chapter 1 - Hip Flexibility in the golf swing
Sumo Deadlift
sumo Deadlift exercises for strengthening your glutes in the golf swing

Not only does the sumo deadlift target the glutes but it also strengthens the hamstrings. This variation of the deadlift is a bit different. Your hands will be inside your feet with your legs set out wide.

  • How wide your feet are will vary, but it should allow for your shins to be perpendicular to the floor.
  • The back stays flat and shoulders start directly over the bar.
  • Grip the bar just inside shoulder width.
  • Engage the lats to feel as if you are squeezing golf tees underneath your armpits.
  • Push through the floor as your hips and shoulders rise at the same rate.
  • Stand to full extension with the hips, knees, and shoulders fully locked out.
Barbell Glute Hip Thrusts
Glute Hip thrust exercise for Golf

The barbell glute hip thrust strengthens the glutes and helps build some hip speed and explosiveness as we saw earlier with Tiger. You will need a bench, barbell, and weights.

  • Your shoulder blades will be set on the bench.
  • The feet are flat on the floor with shins perpendicular to the floor.
  • The barbell rests in the hip crease. You can pad it up with a towel for comfort.
  • Drive the weight up by really squeezing the glutes.
  • Hold the top of the reps for a half-second before lowering back down and repeating.
Weighted Lunges
Weighted Walking Lunge

The weighted lunge is another great unilateral movement that will strengthen the glutes as well as legs. 

  • Take a full grip on a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells.
  • One foot will step forward. Keep the heel down on the forward foot.
  • Lower your torso until the back knee touches the ground.
  • The shin of the forward leg remains vertical and the torso should remain vertical the entire time.
  • Stand to full extension of the hips and knees.
Lunge Complex

The lunge complex is a combination of the walking lunge as well as the reverse lunge. 

  • Start with no weight. 
  • Perform a walking lunge by stepping one foot forward keeping the heel down and chest tall.
  • Lower your torso until the back knee touches the ground.
  • Stand and return back to the starting position by stepping the foot back. 
  • Then perform a reverse lunge by stepping the same foot back. 
  • Lower yourself until the knee touches the ground. 
  • Stand back up to the starting position.
  • That is one rep. 
  • Feel free to add weight as you get stronger. 
X-Band Walks
X Band Walks

X-Band walks are a great exercise to strengthen the muscles in the glutes as well as the back. Start off with a light band and as you progress you can go to a thicker band.

  • Step into the band with your feet about shoulder width apart.
  • Cross the band up to form an “X.”
  • Set your hips back slightly as if to perform an air squat. Knees are bent and stay out over the toes the entire time.
  • Walk laterally in one direction and then repeat in the other direction.
  • Keep your steps wide and small.
Dynamic Lateral Box Step Ups
Dynamic Lateral Box Step Up

We will finish up with the dynamic lateral box step  up.

  • Set up standing on top of a box holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Place one foot on the box.
  • Stomp on the box with one foot followed by a fast extension of the hip and knee.
  • Squeeze the quad and glute to drive up onto the box.
  • This mimics the extension that is created by the lead leg during a golf swing.
  • Stand to full extension.
  • Return to the start position before performing the next rep.

Download this list for FREE

This Free eBook will keep you using your glutes in the golf swing the right way!
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