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The Pelvic Tilt Test: Is Shake And Bake Taking the Horsepower Out of Your swing?

Updated: Feb 18, 2020


The Pelvic Tilt Test: The pelvic tilt test was developed by the Titleist Performance Institute and looks at your ability to control the position of your pelvis and your ability to transfer power from the lower body to the upper body. It assesses your ability to control your core throughout the swing. These are very important skills for producing and transferring power.


The pelvic tilt test is performed as follows:

1. Start out by getting into a 5 iron posture.

2. First check your setup posture: you can do this looking in a mirror. Look to see if you have a neutral setup, "S" Posture (too much arch in the lower back) or "C" Posture (slumped shoulder and rounded mid back).

2. From this position fold your arms across your chest and try to tilt your pelvis forward, or arch your back

3. Then try to tilt your pelvis backwards, or flatten your back

*In order to pass the test, you should be able to tilt your pelvis forward and backwards with minimal leg/knee movement or upper body movement. The movement should also be smooth.

*You might also want to perform this test in private as you might get some weird looks from people




There are a couple of different ways to fail this test:

1. Unable to tilt either direction

2. Unable to tilt forward

3. Unable to tilt backwards

4. We also look at the quality of the movement or how smooth the movement is. Sometimes a shaking will be present known as “shake and bake”. This indicates a lack of control or coordination and indicates that you are performing this regularly in the swing. While shake and bake may be a winning combination for Ricky Bobby, it will take the power out of your swing.

How is this related to my swing?

The sequence of your swing begins as you generate pressure from the ground. That energy travels into your legs and continues to travel up to the pelvis. From the pelvis this energy will go to your trunk and arms, then to the club and finally to the ball. The pelvis/core is the link between the upper and lower body, so any dysfunction in this area can have a significant impact on your ability to transfer energy or produce power. Also the ability to tilt the pelvis backwards comes from your abdominal muscles, which are crucial muscles to producing an efficient and powerful golf swing.


Inability to pelvic tilt can contribute to the following swing characteristics:

· S Posture (too arch in lower back at setup): This puts your abdominal muscles in a stretched position at setup, making it difficult for them to work as effectively. This position also makes it more difficult for your body to rotate from the hips and thoracic spine, which is very important in the golf swing. Setting up with S-Posture can also lead to other swing characteristics such as reverse spine angle.

· Reverse Spine Angle: Excessive tilt toward the target. This is the #1 cause of lower back pain in golf. It also puts the body in a very difficult to sequence properly on the downswing and the upper body will tend to dominate the swing.

· Early extension: driving the hips excessively toward the golf ball during the downswing. This can significantly decrease your power output. The ability to tilt the pelvis backwards helps you to maintain space instead of early extending.


* These three swing characteristics are some of the most common swing characteristics that can cause lower back pain in golfers.


What does the pelvic tilt look like during the swing/when does it occur?

It is normal to set up with approximately 20-25 degrees of forward tilt. During the backswing this should remain fairly consistent. As you go into the downswing this number should decrease as you get to impact. This would indicate that you are tilting the pelvis backwards/rounding the lower back. The graphs below show examples of proper and improper pelvic tilt during the swing.


Normal Pelvic Tilt


Dysfunctional Pelvic Tilt



If you had difficulty performing this test and have one of the swing characteristics mentioned in the article, there is a good chance your body is affecting your swing. To learn more about the rest of our screening process and how we can help improve your swing contact us at 260-222-6157 or jared@jaredbicklept.com


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