GOLF POSTURE

Bob Forman
M.S. Exercise Physiology
Certified Golf Fitness Instructor

There are 3 known golf postures, the N, C, and S, but only one of these address positions is physiologically ideal for healthy, productive outcomes.  Do you know which one you are? 

The N-posture is preferred by teaching professionals, but seems to elude many current-day golfers.  It’s characterized by a straight spine or back and is really the precursor to an efficient, textbook golf swing.  It also helps keep both the acute and chronic nagging injury to a minimum. 

When addressing the ball with a straight spine, the golfer allows him/herself the potential for making a better turn in the backswing.  This, as most subscribers to the golf journals know, is a prerequisite for power golf.  The better the shoulder turn, the more clubhead speed the golfer should be able to generate.  That, in turn, increases the likelihood of hearing repeated acknowledgments such as “nice drive,” “that was smoked,” and “you spanked that drive” from the members of your foursome.     

Give it a try.  Take your golf stance while standing sideways in front of a mirror to make sure your back is totally straight.  Now take a backswing and note how far you’re able to turn.

Next, bow (bend) your spine, like in the picture below.  Now try to make that same backswing.  Make sure your head doesn’t move.  Can you turn as much?  The answer is no.  That’s because it’s easier to rotate around a straight spine than it is a bent one.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of golfers out there that don’t set-up at address with a straight, N-posture, spine.  And it’s getting worse.

golf-c-posture.jpg - 12.50 KBThe bowed or bent spine posture is becoming an epidemic in the golfing world.  Technically, this set-up position is called a C-posture, as the golfer forms a “C” when viewed from the side, and it used to be more of an older golfer’s disease.

Today, however, we’re seeing more and more of it due to the fact that many of us are sitting hunched over a computer for a good part of the day, both at work and when we get home.  This static, round-shouldered position, results in a shortening (tightening) of the muscles in the chest and a concomitant lengthening (weakening) of the muscles in the upper back.  This causes the shoulder blades to fan outward and the spine in the thoracic region to bow out (known as kyphosis).  This combination does not bode well for the golf swing or your health.   

The C-posture is showing up in all ages and in both genders.  It will limit your ability to get the club back and that’s going to rob you of clubhead speed and distance.  Yes, there are some C-posture golfers who do manage to get the club back, but this can only happen if the golfer stands up in the takeaway. 

Lifting the head up in order to make a better turn alters the swing plane and can also throw off balance.  Either of these is deadly if your goal is to make consistent ball contact. 

The other thing C-posture may produce in the backswing is a reverse spine or a leaning of the upper body back toward the target.  This common swing fault doesn’t position the golfer well for initiating the downswing in the proper hitting sequence. . . that being with the hips first.  As a matter of fact, the reverse spine often results in the upper body controlling the downswing, an over-the-top swing plane, and a casting of the golf club.  The sum of these is usually a powerless slice of the golf ball and a frustrating round of golf. 

To physically correct the C-posture, you must stretch the tight muscles in front and strengthen the weak ones in back.  In doing so, you’ll allow the shoulder blades to move back toward the midline of the body pulling the shoulders back with them.

golfweek 006.jpg - 3.14 MBgolfweek 005.jpg - 439.45 KBA good exercise for this is the shoulder pinch and one you might consider doing daily to offset the negative consequences from sitting in front of that computer.  While lying supine on a stability ball or full-round foam, place your arms out to the side and bend the elbows 90 degrees.  Pinch or squeeze the shoulder blades together, which will lower the arms somewhat toward the floor.  Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and release.  Repeat 5 to 10x.  Remember to breathe.  If on the stability ball, make sure to keep the hips parallel to the floor to engage the glutes (golf power muscles). MVC-posturedrillB.JPG - 35.77 KB

A drill to help improve the brain-body connection and break you out of the bad C-posture habit is to hold an iron club against your back, while standing, with the toe of the club resting on top of your head.  Slowly bend forward into your golf stance while keeping your head in contact with the toe (top picture).  This will ensure a straight back.  If the head comes off the club, you're bowing the spine and moving into a C-posture stance (bottom picture).  Like with all neuromuscular drills, the more MVC-C-posturedrill.JPG - 35.11 KByou repeat it, the greater the likelihood that the new movement pattern will become rote.    

The third identified posture is the S-posture.  It’s characterized by an arching of the lower back and a protruding butt, resembling an “S” when looked at from the side.  This posture is very prevalent in women and younger golfers.    

The arched or swayback posture, in itself, is a low back pain producer.  Combine it with the twisting motion of a golf swing and it's a pretty sure bet chronic low back pain will develop.  In most cases, the arched back posture is produced from the hip rotating forward.  This anterior tilt is often the result of tightness in the muscles in the front of the hips known as the hip flexors. 

A simple assessmentgottagogolf 005.jpg - 2.05 MB is to sit on the edge of a flat bench or solid coffee table, carefully lie back on the bench/table and then bring one knee up to the chest and hug.  If the extended foot rises up off the floor, you’re hip flexor is tight to that side.  Repeat with the other leg as tightness can be unilateral or bi-lateral. 

This knee hug action is also a great stretch to do for tight hip flexors.  Hold each leg for at least a 30-second count as you breathe normally.  If you’re unsteady on the bench, you can also do this stretch while lying on your back on the floor.      

One thing to consider if you do set-up in the S-posture is to pull in the belly button toward your spine while standing at address over the ball.  This action will flatten the lower back and take some tension off of the area while swinging the club.  

Good posture is not a given and should be worked on for better, healthier golf.  Many golfers aren’t even aware of what type of posture they have and a few minutes with their teaching professional or certified golf fitness instructor can determine if you’re an N, C, or S. 

If it’s determined that you’re not one of those with ideal posture, you should begin an exercise program to correct the musculoskeletal imbalance and focus on body alignment drills to rewire the brain-body connection.  In doing so, you’ll set yourself up for a more efficient golf swing, more yards down the fairway, and greater potential for a pain-free swing.  

EXERCISE OF THE MONTH

Quad-Hip Flexor Stretch

This is a progressive stretch for the quad-hip flexor area.  Be cautious as you lean back on the bench as it will challenge the knee if the quads are tight.  Avoid this stretch if you've had knee replacement.  Tight quads/hip flexors will impede hip mobility and that may rob you of power and distance.

 

 

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
     
click here for details

  


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:
- the common physical deficiencies most golfers have, how to detect and correct with 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 
- how to put together an inexpensive home gym

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

 

 
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,  


August 28, 2014
We talk about Shan's golf fitness assessment results

 


June 26, 2014


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