Dissociation, or separation, is simply the ability to move body parts independently of one another. In this case, moving the upper and lower body independently of each other.
It is important to be able to dissociate the upper and lower body in golf to optimise swing efficiency, hit the ball farther, improve accuracy, minimise unwanted swing characteristics and to reduce the risk of injury.
These dissociation drills aren’t only useful for golfers or junior golfers, but for any juniors playing rotational sports. It is important to keep fitness fun for juniors.
- Plank w/ Upper Body Dissociation – From a long lever plank position (or top push up position) aiming to keep your legs and pelvis as still as possible whilst turning your torso left and then right, pointing towards the ceiling with the non-weight bearing hand. Try 30 seconds. But remember, quality movement over quantity.
- American Football-Fast Feet – Adopt an athletic stance and posture (in the ‘ready’ position). Begin taking fast little steps and whilst keeping your body facing forwards, quickly jump your feet round to the left (i.e. so your stance is facing the left and your upper body is still facing forwards) and then quickly jump back. Keep your feet moving fast and then repeat towards the right. Try 30 seconds.
- Mountain Climber Dissociations – From the top push up position bring one knee up quickly across the body, towards the opposite elbow and then return to the start. Repeat on the same side for 10-15 reps and change sides. Focus on turning the hips and driving the knee under and across your body.
- Upper Body Dissociation w/Tennis Ball – Adopt an athletic stance (or the ‘ready’ position) with a resistance band around your knees (optional). Keeping your hips/ lower body facing forwards, quickly rotate your torso as far as you can to the left, bounce the tennis ball behind you and then quickly rotate to the right and repeat. Perform 10-15 each side.
- Quick Feet w/Upper Body Dissociation – Adopt a golf posture with a resistance band around your knees (optional). Start taking little steps, as if you were stamping on the floor quickly. Keeping the feet moving and the hips facing forwards, rotate the torso left and right repeatedly. Perform 10-12 each side.
- Space Invaders Dissociation – Similarly to number 5, but instead of stamping on the spot, you will take a little step out with the left foot and then a little step in with the right… and repeat quickly to move to the left. Then, repeat to the right. Perform 20 little steps in each direction.
You may find these difficult to begin with, but after a bit of practise, you will see improvement. As you might also notice after trying these drills above, they are not only great for helping with your dissociation of the upper and lower body, but great for training the core and glutes. You might also notice that some drills require you to move faster, and this is great specificity for golf. The additional benefit of this is that it gets the heart rate up and great for general fitness.