Sitting And Golf
If you tend to be sedentary then don’t realize how it’s affecting their health or golf performance.
Author: Bob Forman
12/21/2018 at 4:03 pm
If you tend to be sedentary and sit for a good part of the day, you’re developing imbalances in the body that will not bode well for your golf game. The problem is that most people don’t stop to think just how much they do sit during a typical day at work, in the car, or at home, and therefore don’t realize how it’s affecting their health or golf performance.
The anatomy of a sitter goes like this. When you sit, you place the muscles in the front part of the hip, known as the hip flexors, and the ones in the back of the thigh, the hamstrings, in a shortened position. The body adapts to the position it's placed in most of the time and so shortening a muscle will eventaully tighten that muscle.
While this shortening is occurring, there is a concomitant lengthening and weakening of the opposing muscle groups. Affected are your glutes, or butt muscles, and the quadriceps muscles in the front of your thigh. Both are esssential for balance and for helping you get up off the chair, going up stairs/hills and picking your ball out of the hole.
The hip flexors and hamstrings can play a significant role in your golf posture and in the mobility of the hip. Tight hip flexors, for example, often times contribute to an S-posture (see Tight Hip Flexors and S-posture video) or a swaying of the lower back while at address over the ball. This can very easily lead up to acute and chronic low back discomfort and pain, and appears to be more common in women and younger golfers.
Similarly, tight hamstrings are one of the bigger factors that lead up to low back problems in general (see Tight Hamstrings, Low Back Pain and the Golf Swing video). Combine this muscle deficiency, however, with the explosiveness of the golf swing and you set the stage for back discomfort and injury.
Individually, or in combination, tight hip flexors and hamstrings can also limit the range of motion required both for front-to-back and side-to-side, rotational movements of the hip. This can detract from the efficiency of the golf swing and result in swing faults and/or loss of power and distance.
Weakening of the glutes or quadriceps can impact the stability and control of the lower body and decrease the amount of power that you might be able to produce while swinging the golf club. The glutes supply power in any swinging skill (i.e. golf, tennis, baseball). They also play a role in the ability to control the lateral movement of the hips during the swing, reducing the potential for sway in the backswing and slide in the downswing.
But wait, there's more. In the upper body, as most of us are sitting hunched over a computer or work/play station, our overall posture suffers. We become rounded in the shoulders as the muscles across the chest are shortened while the upper back muscles elongate (weaken). This rounded shoulder posture will usually follow you out to the golf course in the dreaded C-posture or a bowing of the spine at address. Not good as it will shorten your backswing and rob you of clubhead speed and distance. It often results in a dynamic posture or a moving of the head up as you try to make that good shoulder turn in the backswing.
A rounded shoulder posture also sets you up for shoulder and neck discomfort and can reduce the efficiency of the heart and lungs as they get crowded out in the chest cavity in this posture.
A good golf fitness program should identify these muscle deficiencies and imbalances, and then work to correct them. A brief interview with the golfer will establish lifestyle habits and the degree of daily activity, which should be considered when developing the exercise intervention. A physical assessment is an absolute must in order to identify and determine the extent of the weakness and/or tightness, and help to determine which particular type of exercise is necessary. Without this information, the golfer may be only making matters worse by strengthening an already tight muscle group, as an example, thereby enhancing the deficiency.
Sitting for a good part of the day can not only have deleterious effects on your physical health, it can wreak havoc on your golf swing. The often times undetected muscle imbalances that develop from sitting can be the underlying cause for poor golf performance and physical discomfort. Once you identify the deficiencies, though, it's fairly easy to correct with a targeted exercise program. All you need do, is put the time in and do the exercises.
Bob Forman is an internationally recognized leader in the field of golf fitness. He holds a Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology and is a certified Golf Fitness Instructor through the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI). Bob also is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine and holds a Certification of Applied Functional Science through the Gray Institute.
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