This is part 1B of a 4 part series examining different phases of the golf swing. These phases include the set-up, back swing, transition into the downswing, and weight shift and rotation to impact. Most know that each phase is important into achieving a consistent and powerful golf swing. What this series will provide are simple exercise interventions to make each phase easier for the amateur golfer. Today I will be discussing physical interventions to make a good set-up and posture easier to obtain.

In my previous post (click here for previous post) I discussed common flaws in golf posture such as C-Posture and its affect on movement in the golf swing. I also provided a drill called “Club Behind the Spine Sequence” to assist in feeling what it is like to set-up in a golf posture in which the pelvis and spine are in a straight and neutral position. Hopefully you all tried the drill out and had success.

Some of you may have found that it was difficult and uncomfortable to put your body in a position in which the spine is straight and the hips in a hinged position. Difficulty with active spinal and pelvic alignment is something I often see with new clients beginning golf specific movement training. Self identifying the root cause of golf posture problems is tricky, so I will discuss common areas and dysfunctions of the body that make achieving perfect posture difficult.

One reason why many amateur golfers find it difficult to set-up with straight posture is because the upper spine (thoracic spine) may have a difficult time extending or lengthening out. Many of us are sitting all day at work which leaves us vulnerable to a slouched and rounded shoulder position. The slouched sitting position tightens the shoulder and chest muscles, and weakens the stabilizers of the mid back and shoulders. The muscles that are weakened are responsible for keeping the upper spine long and straight in golf posture, but if you sit for the majority of your day, chances are you will have upper body posture dysfunction. The best way to fight upper body posture dysfunction is by stretching the muscles of the chest and the front of the shoulders, and strengthening the muscles of the upper back.

Two stretches I recommend you use are the “prayer stretch” and the “chest stretch over ball”. If you have access to a foam roller I would also highly recommend using “dynamic chest stretch”. Using these stretches daily will really help improve the flexibility in your chest and shoulders. For strengthening of the upper back, the simplest exercise you can do is resistance band or cable rows. The row can be done at the gym, home, or even at the office with a rubber tubing resistance band and will help take advantage of the flexibility you will develop in the chest and shoulders.

Another reason why posture is a challenge for many is because of pelvic muscle dysfunction. This works very similar as upper body posture dysfunction in that a lot of sitting will make certain muscles tight and others weak. When we look at pelvic and low back alignment issues in golf posture, the issue usually stems from tightness in the hip flexors and hamstrings, and weakness of the glues and deep abdominal muscles. In the seated position, the core simply does not have to work to support the upper and lower body. Your chair does all of the work for you! As a result, because the hips and knees are in a flexed and shortened position for prolonged periods of time, the hip flexors and hamstrings tighten. Due to the lack of core activation throughout the workday, the abs and glutes shut off and weaken. Muscle dysfunction of this type makes it difficult for the pelvis and low back to orient and stabilize in a neutral position. This makes good posture and rotation in the golf swing very difficult to obtain and maintain.

Two stretches and exercises I recommend using to improve pelvic muscle dysfunction are the “half kneeling hip flexor stretch” and “leg lowering against a wall”. The half kneeling hip flexor stretch will improve hip flexor length while training you to maintain a neutral spine angle. Leg lowering against a wall is a double edged sword. It will give you a great hamstring stretch while teaching the body to hinge from the hips properly and efficiently. For strengthening of the glutes, the best place to start is with the “supine glute bridge”. For re-education and strengthening of the deep abdominals I recommend starting with “lower abdominal exercise progressions: level 1 and 2-4”. To put it all together, try finding “pelvic tilt neutral” in golf stance. This is a great drill for pelvic control in the set-up and swing.







To conclude, setting up in great golf posture is much easier said than done. You must have sufficient strength, stability, and flexibility at the shoulders and pelvis. The problem is most of us do not because of too much sitting for prolonged periods of time! Try out the exercises to counteract muscle dysfunction that develops from sitting too much. If you do, your posture will improve.

If you have any questions related to golf health and fitness please contact me by email at [email protected].

Jason Rivkin

Golf Fitness Coach

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