Setup posture – why do we care about it?
by Robyn Smith MSPT, SCS, TPI-MP2
What do you know about your setup or address posture in golf? Have you had anyone look at it? Have you seen yourself on camera or in a mirror when you address the golf ball? Setup posture is a very important piece to your golf swing. It is the starting foundation for your swing and the basis for which you move. There are 3 different classifications when we are talking about setup posture. 1) Neutral (or ideal) posture; 2) C-posture; and 3) S-posture.
The ultimate goal of a neutral set up posture is to allow your body to rotate fully around an axis that isn’t already blocking movement or causing inhibition of stabilizing muscles. C-posture, the rounding of the thoracic spine (or torso) from the tailbone to the neck, puts the body in an inefficient posture for the upper back to rotate well and stay in posture. The player is really only able to have a short and wide backswing from this setup posture without major swing faults coming into play. This position is seen because of a few reasons. One, is a physical limitation in the thoracic spine to extend (straighten) and rotate due to stiffness. Another is poor posture due to inhibition of the scapular stabilizers (muscle around the shoulder blade through the mid back), which is a strength and/or stability problem. And, finally this posture can also be due to the player unaware of good positioning or simply lack of knowledge on what they “should” do.
How does one improve a C-posture? It depends on the cause. The examples given above can basically be broken down into 4 categories. Mobility, stability, inexperience, other (non-physical).
1. Mobility Dysfunction: If this posture is due to stiffness of the joints of the upper back/thoracic spine or tightness in the pects and latissimus muscles, there are exercises that will stretch and mobilize the upper back to improve the ability to get into a more neutral position. Once more flexibility has been gained, we then work on strengthening the muscles to maintain good position in their newly found motion. Another region that can be inflexible and cause this set up posture is the pelvis. If the player is too stiff to perform a pelvic tilt, the upper body will bend excessively to address the ball. Click here for an exercise to help with mobility.
2. Stability Dysfunction: If this posture is due to inhibition (poor motor control or strength) of the shoulder blade stabilizers, there are exercises to facilitate good contractions and improve strength in this area. Click here for an exercise to improve stability.
3. Inexperience: This posture can be simply from lack of proper instruction or education, or not understanding a neutral posture. Then, instruction on positioning and performing a correct hip hinge is sometimes all it takes.
4. Other non-physical issues: Clubs are too short, standing too far from the ball, or grip that is too much in the fingers of both hands.
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