What Is Reverse Tilt?

Hip SlideA reverse tilt (aka reverse spine angle and reverse pivot) occurs when the hips slide laterally away from the target instead of rotating, causing the upper body to tilt in the opposite direction in order to maintain balance. It is important to eradicate this fault because not only does it rob your swing of both power and accuracy, it is also one of the major causes of low back pain in golfers.

So What Are The Possible Causes Of A Reverse Tilt?

So, what are the physical restrictions that cause this movement pattern?

Reverse TiltIf the hips are tight, obviously there is a tendency is to slide them instead of turning them, but a golfer needs strength in the muscles around the hip joint too. If weight is loaded into a weak trail hip, any deficiency triggers compensations along the kinetic chain, because the body’s fascia is interconnected and, as with any tensegrity structure, it is totally reactionary. So, typically, there would be excessive internal rotation and adduction of the hip, causing a lateral sway, rather than a rotation, of the pelvis, with elevation on the trail side and an almost immediate lateral bending of the torso towards the opposite side in a desperate effort to maintain balance.

Neither is the problem confined to the hips alone. Many golfers who have restricted mobility in their upper back also suffer from the dreaded reverse-tilt during their backswing. This is caused by a hyper-extension of their lower back (lumbar spine) as they try to compensate for the limited range of motion in their upper back (thoracic spine). This is especially true if there is tightness in the latissimus dorsi in the target side of the back.  Trying to rotate beyond the stretch threshold pulls the upper body back toward the target, resulting in a poor position ‘at the top’ – often outside and above the correct swing plane, leading to an over-the-top downswing and a highly destructive slice. It’s quite common to see a golfer with limited thoracic mobility ‘pick the club up’ in too vertical a backswing, because they can’t adequately rotate their spine.  They may start the club out on plane, but then, inevitably, they lift it skyward, as their restricted range of motion kicks in, forcing their arms to take over.

The reverse tilt makes proper sequencing difficult, because the lower body’s ability to initiate the downswing is inhibited. Consequently, the upper body continues to dominate the swing, creating path problems and limiting power.

Golfers with this problem commonly have an imbalanced musculature and find it virtually impossible to maintain their spine angle. The ability to stabilize the spine angle during the backswing and downswing is directly proportional to the strength and stability of the muscles in your core and lower body. Stability demands a balanced musculature, so your abs, hip flexors, glutes, quads and hamstrings need to be properly conditioned for optimal performance. These muscles help keep the torso correctly flexed throughout the swing.