With sports, there are positions an athlete needs to get into in order to increase their chances for success. Whether it's a free throw ritual or your posture in the tee box, the way you set-up can make all the difference.
The easiest change you can make to your golf swing is your posture. There are no moving parts which means more control of your position in space. As we always preach with strength training: if you start in a bad position, you can't finish in a good one.
The golf swing requires a stable and strong hip hinge, which allows you to express optimal accuracy and power. If you can't get into a solid hinge, your golf posture is already facing some type of compensation pattern. Not only will your swing suffer, but overtime your body will take a beating as well. It's important that we focus on set-up in order to avoid bad spinal positioning.
When it comes to posture, they're are two faults that we come across as swing or fitness coaches. These swing characteristics are deemed S-Posture and C-Posture. In both stances, performance is hindered and you're more exposed to injury due to shear or compressive forces placed on the spine.
S-Posture, as described by the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) is characterized by too much arch in the player's low back at set-up. Here are a few of the factors that could be causing this orientation in a golfer's stance:
- Lack of awareness of where the hips and spine are in space.
- Poor hip mobility forcing the spine to extend in order to get into an upright position.
- Weakness of the core and glutes, causing inability to control the spine in the hinge.
- Poor control of the spine and the inability to disassociate the pelvis from the spine.
Having excessive curvature of the back in extension puts stress on the muscles of the lower back, especially when torque is applied as rapidly as it is in the golf swing. It might not bother you at the moment, but after a boatload of repetition, this could lead to some pretty painful swings and everyday discomfort if not addressed.
Here are a few of our go-to movements that will help create context for your golf swing and setting up with the optimal posture based off your anatomy.
Plank with Full Exhale & Trap Bar Deadlift
Pelvic Tilts From Hinge Position
The lumbar spine (lower back) should flex and extend with relative ease. This segmental motion helps with absorbing forces and is necessary to keeping the joints of the spine healthy.
While we need to absorb these forces, you need to access anterior pelvic tilting (arching your back) and posterior tilting (rounding your lower back) throughout the golf swing.
- Set-up in your 7-iron golf posture and place a bar/pole against your chest.
- Once in position, start by arching your lower back as much as you can. Then round your lower back as far as you can through pain free ranges of motion.
- Repeat this for 6-10 reps.
Cook Hip Lift
The Cook Hip Lift is one of our favorite drills for improving hip extension. Proper glute and core activation and strength is needed in order to control your trunk during the golf swing.
- Start by bringing one knee as far into your chest as possible.
- Place the other foot on the floor with the knee bent at 90 degrees.
- Push your leg into the floor and lift both hips off the floor as high as you can without losing the angle of the opposite hip.
While these might feel awkward initially, repetition of all four movements above will help you create better awareness as to where you are in space. All four will in one way or another help improve your initial golf posture, fighting off the bad habits that come along with swing characteristics like S-Posture.