My Golf Instructor

Posture - The Swing's Foundation
Establishing a Solid Base for a Solid Swing

It all starts here. Your posture is the first determinant of the quality of your swing. In other words, with few exceptions, if your posture stinks, your

Find out how poor posture can sabatoge your swing and your bodyBuild a Solid Foundation With Good Posture
swing is going to stink. I see it day in and day out. Most people in today's society have poor posture in the gym, at the office, watching TV, and especially on the tee box. It's an epidemic and it's a result of the modern lifestyle! Given how much we sit, text on our phones, drive, and work on laptops and iPads (as I just straightened up in my chair), our bodies are conditioned 90% of the day to be in poor posture. Therefore it's quite understandable that it is one of the first habits we have to break when someone walks into our gym, golfer or not. For the golfer though, it is extra important. Your posture is your foundation. This is what your swing is built upon. By putting your muscles, spine, and joints all in the optimal position to perform, the potential of power and a better motion greatly improves.

There are 3 Types of Posture

While everyone has their own unique build and body types, in the golf world, you will find the same and hear the terms S-posture, C-posture, and Neutral posture when describing a golfer in their set-up. The first two are descriptions of less than ideal positions, while "Neutral" posture is generally accepted as the ideal. Let's look at the visual difference between the 3.

S-posture:

This posture is characterized predominantly by an increase in the curve of the low back, known as lordosis. Often times, it is seen in conjunction with a rounded upper back and forward shoulders. It is generally caused by the golfer trying to stick their butt out in an attempt to get in the right posture. In some golfers this may indicate tightness in the lower back and hip flexors as well as weakness in the abdominals and glutes (this is known as Lower Crossed Syndrome). This position causes extra stress on the muscles of the low back and also puts the vertebrae in a more extended position, creating increased pressure on the joints of the low back. The abdominal muscles are placed in a lengthened (more relaxed) position, which prevents them from being triggered to stabilize properly.

C-posture:

This posture is characterized predominantly by forward or slumped shoulders and a roundness of the upper and lower back from the shoulders to the tailbone. This posture is generally caused by weak muscles in the upper back and tighter muscles in the front of the chest and shoulders (typically known as Upper Crossed Syndrome). C-posture is often the result of poor postural habits in our daily lives, which can make it more difficult to correct. This position makes it more difficult to achieve a full backswing. When the shoulders and upper back are rounded, the mobility in both is more limited in rotation. Unfortunately, this often leads to compensations in the swing. It is also to be noted that when the trunk is rounded, it is much more likely that the abs are more relaxed in the setup and swing.

Neutral posture:

This is considered to be the ideal position. While we all may have different body types and shapes, there are a few commonalities that you want to make sure your posture contains. In a neutral posture, your spine should be relatively straight from the waist to the shoulders. There also should not be a rounding of the shoulders. By putting yourself in the right position from the start, you align your joints and muscles in the optimum positions for both flexibility and power.

Poor Posture Can Sabotage Your Body and Your Golf Swing!

With all of the work and effort you put into your game, I hope you have taken the time to work on your posture. This is one of the few things that is under your complete control in this game, and to not perfect it puts you at a severe disadvantage before you even hit your first ball. The improper postures listed above, while both very different from each other, can both lead to similar outcomes. Due to the lack of proper muscle activation/control, flexibility, and positioning the following are just a few results that likely can occur:

  • Loss of posture during the swing due to compensations from poor flexibility
  • Improper sequencing of the body leading to lack of power
  • Inability to transfer force from the legs due to poor abdominal activation
  • Poor club positioning at impact
  • Back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, knee pain, elbow pain, etc (I think you understand what I'm getting at here)
  • Poorly ingrained habits, leading to a slower learning curve or inability to make changes to the swing

This list could go on for several pages. The bottom line is that your posture in your setup is a predictor of how your body is going to move and perform during your round of golf. I have a philosophy when working with my students, which is "make sure you control the things that you have the ability to control." In other words, there are so many nuances and intricacies to this game that are very difficult to master, but posture is actually one of the easy things that we have control over. Master it, and you can focus your attention elsewhere. (Like on the 15 other swing thoughts rattling around in your head!)

The Situation:

I don't know if my posture in my setup is neutral, an S-posture or a C-posture. How can I tell and what do I do once I find out?

The Solution:

Have someone take a picture of you or even better video your swing. Don't just look in the mirror to see what your posture is; actually look at it in action on the course. I find that we tend to change our position when we aren't in the real world situation. Once you determine what your position is, then you can start working on improving it through training exercises.

Here are 5 exercises that are great to work on achieving more control over your hips, trunk and posture:

1. Cat and Camel

2. Seated Wall Postures

3. Deadlifts at the Wall

4. Iron Cross

5. Reach Backs

Jeff Pelizzaro

Jeff Pelizzaro is a licensed physical therapist that works with professional and amateur golfers as well as athletes and general fitness clients of all ages and abilities. He has earned a Master's Degree in Physical Therapy and is also a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certified LEvel 2 Fitness Instructor and Level 1 Certified Plan Truth Golf Instructor.

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