For a long time, I can remember being very lonely in my insistence that you don’t want to restrict the hip turn on your back swing pivot, because the lower back is nearly fused to the hips – I found this excellent description of the range of twisting motion you can expect from the lower back or lumbar region:
From a blog called The Nest, I found information on the lower back motion range, and for twisting, it says the following (the bold parts are my emphasis):
The facet joints of the lumbar spine allow for very limited rotation, or twisting. Each vertebra can rotate only one to two degrees before the facet joints compress, preventing further movement.
The total amount of rotation In the lumbar spine is only five to seven degrees. This helps to protect the intervertebral disks.
If any one segment were to twist more than about three degrees, it could result in the fibers of the disk tearing.
Good stuff there, but something any kinesiology or biomechanics specialist should already know and be working from, wouldn’t you say?
Here’s A Diagram Showing The Lumbar Region
And you wonder why guys who swing modern style eventually have to go to the back specialist – you’re not supposed to twist the lower back at any time, and especially not when performing high-speed athletic motions.
I am a pretty flexible individual (I can still touch my knuckles to the ground bending over, let alone touch my toes, with my legs straightened), and this the range of twisting I can safely get in my back, and this includes the range of twist allowed in the mid-back, as demonstrated in the newly released “E = MCS” video:
So, it was encouraging to read the following posting on Golf WRX by Tom Stickney II, and this posting is not to bash him, but to point out some of the responses to his suggestion that some people may want to keep their right knee flexed on the back swing in order to restrict the hip rotation on the back swing pivot:
1) When the rear knee holds it flex to the top, you will find that it will cause the hips to have a more restricted motion on the backswing.
Unfortunately, Stickney uses TIGER WOODS to illustrate his point, and TW is the poster child of what the modern golf swing can do to your back, so this is actually an argument against doing this very thing, in my mind.
But whichever swinger he could have chosen, the fact remains you don’t want to do this.
I don’t advise restricting the hip turn, ever, because if you want to make a shorter back swing, you do it with the entire body, meaning the hips and shoulders don’t turn as much.
You never want to try to restrict the hip turn and yet strive for a full shoulder turn, because now you’re going to be twisting the lower back.
And so, I won’t quote extensively from the the posting itself because I disagree with the premise, but these comments were very encouraging: