YOUR LIFESTYLE MAY BE WREAKING HAVOC ON YOUR GOLF GAME

Bob Forman, MS - Exercise Physiology
Director of Fitness and Well-Being, Congressional Country Club
Certified Golf Fitness Instructor, Author, Speaker 
  

 

You probably don’t realize it, but what you do off the golf course can often times influence how you do on the course.  The computer age can be much to blame, as can cell phones, for our golfing frustrations, as well as some of our day jobs. 

For many, sitting a good part of the day hunched over a computer, desk, workstation, or patient (as in the case with dentists and surgeons) does not bode well for posture in general, and can wreck havoc not only on your health, but on your golfing performance.

Similarly, the amount of time we spend looking down at our cell phones is also contributing to this dilemma.  “Text neck” or the curving of the cervical spine and shoulders (photo right) significantly adds to poor posture. 

One distance-robbing, swing-altering consequence from these modern-day lifestyles, which is impacting golfers of all ages and levels, is the C-posture.  No longer just an older golfer’s affliction, C-posture is characterized by a bowed spine and rounded shoulders while setting up over the ball. 

This upper cross syndrome, as it’s more clinically called, is defined by a shortening or tightening of the chest muscles and a concomitant lengthening or weakening of the upper back muscles (rhomboids).  This imbalanced combination pulls the shoulders forward creating that rounded shoulder posture that is becoming more prevalent both on and off the golf course.

Of concern is the fact that a rounded shoulder posture will cramp the organs in the chest cavity.  With less room to operate, the heart and lungs can get crowded out and as a result, negatively impact their functional capacity.  Health experts say this can reduce lung capacity by as much as 30 percent.  It's also been linked to headaches, neurological issues and shoulder and neck pain.       

Not only does prolonged sitting or time on the phone in a hunched over position bring on this condition, as the body adapts to the position its placed in, too many sets of chest strengthening exercises in the gym will also lead up to it.  This is exacerbated if little or no focus is given to the opposing rhomboid muscles in the upper back. 

It’s estimated that more than a third, and growing, of all golfers have this condition and it will rob them of power, distance, and accuracy.  C-posture reduces a golfer’s ability to take the club back in the backswing by up to 30%, as the body cannot rotate around a bent spine as easily as it can a straight one.  This reduction in backswing may decrease the golfer’s ability to generate clubhead speed and power, resulting in lost yardage. 

As a compensation to increase the backswing, a golfer with a C-posture will stand taller as they bring the club back, allowing for greater range of motion.  This “loss of posture” or “dynamic posture” swing fault, however, can affect swing path and balance, adding to the tendency for weak, off line and inconsistent shots. 

To correct upper cross syndrome and C-posture, focus should be placed on specific exercises to stretch the tightness and strengthen the weakness.  Two such exercises are the doorframe stretch and the upper back squeeze. 

The doorframe stretch is a good exercise to stretch out the chest and front shoulder.  Raise your arms about shoulder height and place your forearms against a doorframe with the elbows bent 90 degrees.  Without moving your feet, gradually lean into the door until a gentle stretch is felt across the chest and/or shoulders.  Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 2 to 3 times.  Remember to breathe normally.  Don’t overdo this stretch!

The upper back squeeze will focus on the strengthening of the upper back (rhomboids).  Take an exercise tube or band, wrap it around a solid fixture about chest height, and grab onto each end.  Step back till a sufficient stretch is felt in the tube/band with arms outstretched in front of you and palms down.  From this starting position, slowly pull the arms back, keeping the elbows up and away from your body, as far as comfort permits and then return to the starting position.  You should feel your shoulder blades squeezing together.  Repeat 15 to 20 times.  Exhale on the effort.

In addition, a series of simple stretches for the neck and shoulders has been shown to be effective in improving range of motion and discomfort in the area.  

If what you do for a good part of the day is creating anatomical imbalances in your body, you need to correct the imbalances that are developing or have already developed in your musculoskeletal system.

For C-posture the initial emphasis should be on strengthening the back and stretching the chest.  Don’t go hog wild in the gym with a bunch of chest exercises to get that chiseled look as strengthening a muscle will also tighten a muscle.  Work first to get balance back in the upper body by lengthening the chest and tightening the upper back by doing the two exercises mentioned.  As posture improves, you can slowly incorporate strengthening of the chest back into the routine.

A physical assessment by a credible golf fitness instructor will be able to identify whether or not you have any deficiencies, like upper cross syndrome, and how severe they are.  This blueprint will allow for a targeted exercise program that will correct the imbalances, bringing balance back into the system. 

Once that’s done, the body will be able to do what it needs to do in order to swing an efficient golf club.  You’ll still need assistance with technique, though, to help rewire the brain-body connection (or what’s been falsely called muscle memory) in order to fix the wrong movement patterns.  That’s where a teaching professional can help. 

Now that you’re aware of the fact, be mindful of what you do throughout the day and focus on exercises that will help your posture in general and your golf game.  Fixing the C-posture may help alleviate any neck or upper back stiffness/discomfort that you may be experiencing, as well as get you more yards down the fairway, improve your playing performance, and enhance your playing satisfaction. 

EXERCISE OF THE MONTH

Static Hamstring Stretch

 One of the main factors for low back discomfort is tight hamstrings, which can also affect hip mobility in the golf swing.

 

 

Check with your physician before starting any type of exercise program.

IMPROVE YOUR GAME

GOLF FITNESS
ASSESSMENT & TRAINING


A quality, customized golf fitness program will. . .
  • Enhance swing efficiency
  • Increase distance
  • Improve playing performance and satisfaction
  • Identify and correct golf-specific injury triggers

    All for much less than what another brand new driver that's going to "fix my game" would cost
     
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The golf exercises are going great.  I am hitting the ball the best I have ever hit it.  My back pain has gone away also. 
 
David R. 

more testimonials

HOST A WORKSHOP

If your Club or organization would like to host an informative golf fitness workshop, contact Bob at bob@golfitcarolina.com or 336-509-4610.

Bob came to my club and did a hour long session on the basics of his teaching and philosophy of fitness and how it relates to the golf swing and its performance.  My members thoroughly enjoyed the hour and wanted more.  I was impressed with his content and explanation.  My members were floored with his Q&A and his personal adaptation to their issues.  I was impressed with his interaction with attendants of the seminar.  If you are looking for someone to integrate your fitness program with the golf program, Bob is the guy to do it!  We will be booking Bob to come back to our club next spring.
Shannon Howell, PGA Head Golf Professional
Country Club of Sapphire Valley, Sapphire Valley, NC


"Bob Forman was fabulous!  He is a great presenter who shared some extremely valuable information related to how anatomical deficiencies such as: poor posture, flexibility, and balance impact our golf swing.  He not only shared what they are and how they impact the swing, but also demonstrated exercises to help correct them."
Ellen Gregory
EWGA-Wilmington, NC chapter

“Westchester is one of the Country’s largest private clubs with a membership that has high expectations for service and performance.  Bob Forman’s seminar on golf specific fitness and flexibility was extremely well received and motivated many of my members to begin a program of evaluation, exercise and follow-ups.  I highly recommend Bob for his knowledge, energy , and ability to connect with amateurs concerning golf fitness.” 
John Kennedy, Director of Golf
Westchester CC, 
Harrison, NY

Bob has a fantastic ability to understand and combine his expertise of the physical complexities of the human body with the PGA Professional’s trained eye with respect to the complexities of the golf swing.  Bob offers a refreshing angle that most amateur and professional golfers can understand and embrace.  Many times, a golfer will have physical limitations that prevents him or her from moving the way the PGA Professional is trying to instruct.  Bob can take the golfer’s weakest physical traits and focus a training program to better overcome those obstacles and allow the golfers to ultimately improve their swing. 
Dennis Nicholl, PGA Head Golf Professional
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

IMPROVE YOUR GAME

Functional Golf Fitness Training is a comprehensive player improvement resource for golfers of all ages and levels, teaching professionals and coaches.  
A great manual for golf teams as well.  

Dedicated chapters on:
- how to identify and correct the common physical deficiencies most golfers have that are impacting their swing and injury potential
- over 40 golf-specific exercises and drills

- preventing/alleviating the #1 injury in golf, low back injury
- how to fix the more common swing faults

Amazon reviews:

"Very clear explanations of causes and fixes for main physical deficiencies affecting golfers. Easy to follow instructions. While other books may give a whole laundry list of exercises that end up not being used, Forman has selected a few for each issue and puts together a program that doesn't take long to do"

"This book not only tells you what to do but also why you need to do and what results you can expect.
I have every book in print about golf fitness and this book is by far the best."


Available in print at TheBookPatch

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or as an ebook on Amazon

Go to
http://www.amazon.com/Functional-Golf-Fitness-Training-ebook/dp/B00FH88Q0Q

SWING FAULT PHYSIOLOGY

Swing mechanics are often influenced by physical deficiencies in the golfer's body.  Below are some of the more common swing faults, their physical causes and how to correct.

GOLF POSTURE

S-POSTURE AND LOW BACK PAIN

EARLY EXTENSION

SWAY & SLIDE

REVERSE SPINE

While correcting the deficiencies, you also need to rewire the brain-body connection in order to break out of the inefficient swing pattern.  

REWIRE THE BAD SWING HABIT

RADIO / PODCASTS

 

 

November 11, 2017
The top 10 fitness must haves for better golf.  Click on the pic and then "podcast."  
My segment starts at 1:10:30.

 
June 22, 2017
(go to 1:10:00 into the show)
golf posture, muscle imbalance, improving distance, stretching, hydration, Tiger and specialization, Rory and weight lifting



March 14, 2015
(go to 1:08:00 into the show)
fitness vs. golf fitness, strength training and slowing down the aging process, C and S-postures 


scroll down to 9/9/2013
(go to 23:15 into the show)
back injury