I was reading a great post at the Grouchy Golf Blog (that's such a great name!) called The Proper Setup and it reminded me about the importance of working the muscles that help us maintain good posture. I always incorporate exercises that enhance good posture with all of my clients, not just golfers.
The muscles of the upper back are fighting a tough battle against:
- The Big Muscles of the chest (pecs) and lower back (lats) which can both work towards bringing the shoulders in. (Facts You Could Care Less About #361- The lats are actually attached to the front of the arm and are involved in adduction and internal rotation of the shoulder)
- Computers and Cars- If we are not hunched over our steering wheel, then we are hunched over our keyboards.
- Bad Gym Habits- On the rare occasion that people go to the gym, they work on their "mirror muscles" (chest and biceps) and don't balance out their programs with exercises for the upper back. Sometimes it's hard to get knuckleheaded golfers to understand the importance of posture exercises, as they want to focus on power exercises that they think will help them hit the ball farther so they can be like Tiger when they grow up.
Bad posture in activities of daily living will carry over to bad posture on the tee. In Tom Patri's book, The Six Spoke Approach to Golf, Eanna Rushe, a master in the biomechanics of the golf swing and president of BioSport Technologies says, "Posture presets your physical movement patterns. If your posture is not correct at address, you will be forced to make compensating motions to get the clubface to the ball. Also, poor posture can limit trunk rotation and the arms cannot move properly around the torso."
In the book, Eanna shows a drill you can do to help you learn proper posture:
Hip Hinge Drill with Club
- Start in an upright position with feet about shoulder width apart.
- Place shaft of club in line with spine.
- Flex your knees and "hinge" from your hips to assume your address position. Make sure your shaft does not leave the spine as you hinge and make sure you hinge from the hips.
- Keep the club in contact with the top of your fat butt and the top of your back.
- Do ten reps every day for the rest of your life.
Working on the muscles of the upper back and rotator cuff will help maintain posture throughout the entire round. Mindi Boysen, golf fitness coach at the Tatum Ranch in Arizona has a great database of exercises on her website, with 39 different exercises just for posture! Check them out at FitForGolfUSA.com