Let's Talk About Posture!!
We're willing to bet that you don't think about posture every time you set up to the ball and swing the club! Of course not... why would you?
But, posture is one important component of the golf swing and the posture you play with could be hurting your game or helping your game!
"Posture - the position someone holds their body when standing or sitting."
Posture is one of the most important things in the golf swing! Golf is a game of posture and you have to maintain your posture throughout the swing and throughout the course of 18 holes to be successful!
So, let us ask you a few questions....
Are you finding you are inconsistent with ball striking? Hitting it thin or hitting it thick?
Are you dealing with back pain in your golf swing?
Do you feel like you get a little sloppy towards the end of the round?
If so, then it could be traced back to a problem with your posture! Let's discuss why that may be.
First, there are basically three types of postures you can demonstrate as a golfer, as described by the Titleist Performance Institute. Those are the neutral spine, S-posture, and C-posture.
You can see the different postures down below!
Normal posture is simply a posture that is neutral alignment at setup. This neutral posture can change slightly from person to person, but it should look relatively close to this in terms of spinal positioning. This posture contains a slight chin tuck that keeps the neck supported and in a "long position" and not excessively slouched forward, which creates space for shoulder turn. The scapula (shoulder blades) and shoulders are in a good position of retraction and are also slightly engaged at set-up. The thoracic spine as a slight kyphotic curve and the lumbar spine as a slight (normal) lordotic curve. The core is engaged and the pelvis is in a neutral position, not excessively tilted anteriorly (belt buckle down) or posteriorly (belt buckle up).
This is the best posture you can have as a golfer as it sets you up to be able to effectively utilize your body, range of motion, and to also protect itself. Again, this posture can vary slightly from person to person, and that depends on body type, range of motion, structural anatomy, and other factors.
C-posture is a posture characterized by the golfer assuming a posture with rounded or slumped shoulders and a noticeable roundedness of the thoracic spine, as seen below!
With C-posture, golfers will typically have a limitation in shoulder motion and thoracic spine motion throughout the swing. They will also be more prone to shoulder and neck injuries, and complaints of mid to upper back pain/stiffness are common. This particular posture leads to upper crossed syndrome, limited thoracic rotation, scapular instability, and core weakness.
Causes of this particular posture or clubs that are too short, weak posterior musculature (lats, rhomboids, scapular muscles, and deep neck flexors), and also lack of proper instruction.
S-posture is a posture that players exhibit and it caused by the player creating too much lumbar extension by arching the back and sticking out their tailbone in the set-up posture.
During an S-posture, you place your lumbar spine in an extended position, as seen in the picture above with the red line. This golfer has a slight increase in lumbar extension with a anterior pelvic tilt in his setup posture. Across numerous studies by TPI, this has been correlated to a high correlation of low back pain. This S-posture places more strain on your lumbar spine muscles and joints, and it also limits your backswing as well!
Starting off in a lumbar extended position can have several negative effects.
1.) Inhibition of key muscle groups such as your core and your Glutes.
2.) Limiting your hip range of motion (specifically internal rotation) which limits your backswing, impinges your hips, and places further stress on your lumbar spine.
3.) It's going to limit your power and your consistency!
4.) You naturally should tip your pelvic anteriorly as you go into your backswing, but as you go into your transition and follow through, you rapidly begin to reverse it as you end in a posterior tilted position. (AKA - the notorious glute squeeze that you see all pro golfers finish with).
So how can you start to improve your posture?
1. Get in front of a mirror practice setting up in a neutral spine posture.
2. Make sure that your clubs are fitted.
3. Work on this exercise ---> Hip Hinge With Dowel Rod
4. Spend time in the gym working on specific exercises that will allow you to gain better coordination and proprioception (joint sense) of your spine. (respond to this email and a free exercise suggestion!)
That should get you started, but if you have any further questions about posture, give us a call at 727-258-7224 or shoot us an email. We talk to people often about their body, their golf fitness, and their health and we'd be happy to chat with you too!
Don't forget about our Golf Medical and Fitness Evaluation, which is a great place to get started on improving your health and fitness for golf!
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Ask us about our Alliance Rx Method Co-Evaluation