A Detailed Look at Proper Golf Posture + 4 Exercises

Jan 02, 2024

Golf is a sport that demands precision, skill, and focus. One of the fundamental aspects that can impact your performance is posture. A proper golf posture not only enhances your swing mechanics but also contributes to shot accuracy and injury prevention. Let’s learn about the importance of posture, tips to perfect your setup, and postural exercises for health and balance.

What Is Your ‘Golf Posture’?

A good definition of posture is: the position from which movement begins and ends. This is particularly true in golf, where we have a definitive start position (address) and end position (follow through) as reference points. All the in-between moments, the golf swing itself, is an extremely dynamic movement that happens in the blink of an eye.

Here is a brief overview of what happens during each phase of the swing:

Address/Backswing

At the address position, your stance is shoulder-width with slightly bent knees, straight arms and a neutral spine. As you initiate the backswing, your shoulders turn and upper back muscles engage. The core and lower body contribute to a controlled rightward (if you’re right-handed, opposite if you’re left-handed) rotation, setting up a powerful recoil ready to unwind.

1st: Address position. 2nd: Top of backswing. (Credit: Adobe Stock)

Downswing

The downswing, which constitutes everything from the top of the backswing to impact with the ball, involves the hips contracting to shift your weight forward. The upper body muscles bring your shoulders back, and intense chest and forearm activity accelerates the club towards impact. This phase is important for translating energy into an effective and precise swing.

(Credit: Adobe Stock)

Impact

At impact, muscles from the acceleration phase continue guiding the club. The chest, shoulder, and rotator cuff muscles play key roles. Weight shifts to the left leg (again, for a right-handed golfer, opposite for the left-handed golfer), engaging the thighs, while your abdominal muscles rotate the trunk towards and through the ball. 

(Credit: Adobe Stock)

Follow-through

The follow-through continues to engage your obliques and shoulder muscles. The trunk helps guide the follow-through, mirroring the rotation of your shoulders. Lower body muscles help to stabilize and support this motion. Deceleration mechanisms (eccentric, or lengthening, contractions) gradually slow the swing. You end in the posture pictured below.

(Credit: Adobe Stock)

What Does Proper Golf Swing Posture Require?

As you can see (and have probably felt), the golf swing takes almost every joint in your body through its functional range of motion. This means that in order to do it effectively, your joints and the tissues that surround them have to be both strong and pliable enough to move the way they’re supposed to, without unnecessary restriction. 

When people are stiff and tight, it’s usually because they’re not used to moving outside a given range of motion. Perhaps they work at a desk or spend most of their time otherwise sedentary, and then on the weekend or at men’s/ladies night they go out and try to shoot 18 like they used to when they were a kid. Resonate with anyone? We all know it’s a strategy that just doesn’t work.

We need healthy bodies with strong and flexible muscles to be able to golf pain-free and with good posture. Restrictions in the upper back for example can force one to overuse the shoulders. Tight hips can bleed force down into the knees or even the ankles. Weak abdominals make the whole ship sink, and the low back takes an extra special beating. We need balance.

In order to have a good golf setup posture, and good movement throughout the swing, we need to work on posture in general. We need a well-trained body that has harmony between the agonist and antagonist tissues on either side of a joint. The only way to build that is through a complementary strength and mobility program designed specifically for golfers.

(Credit: Adobe Stock)

4 Golf Posture Exercises to Try Today

Dynamic Golfers is the leading online training platform for thousands of golfers worldwide. Our HD streamed follow-along routines are led by world class coaches, and are all professionally organized for you to just simply click and play. 

One of our sections is called ‘Injury Prevention’, and in it we have different programs that focus on common injury sites for golfers. It also contains our 2 week postural series, which is a great way to get your posture in check, and make sure you iron out all the imbalances that have built up over the years…quietly increasing your chances of injury.

Below we’ve laid out 4 of the exercises from that series to help get you off to a good start! If you like what you see here, you’ll absolutely love the video version. It will be just one of hundreds available to you upon accessing the whole platform with a monthly or annual membership. Try us out for 7-days FREE by clicking here! Enjoy!

Shoulder Squeeze

Instructions

  • Stand with your arms bent and out to the sides
  • Keep your tail tucked under and belly button drawn in to engage the core
  • From here, try to squeeze your shoulder blades together by pulling the elbows back and trying to touch them together
  • When you get as far as you can, pause for a second, then return back to the starting position
  • Repeat for 10-15 reps or 30-45 seconds

Benefits

This exercise may not look like much, but the muscles that pull your shoulder blades back and together are often very weak, making it much harder than it first appears! Focus on feeling the squeeze and burn in your mid back. This exercise helps counteract all the slouching we do in modern activities like office work and driving.

Standing Side Bends

Instructions

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your hands resting gently behind your ears
  • Bend to one side, bringing that sides elbow down towards your leg
  • Be sure not to bend forwards or backwards, just as far as you can to the side
  • Pull yourself back up to the center, then repeat on the other side
  • Repeat for 10 reps per side or 30-45 seconds

Benefits

The standing side bend gives some much needed love to the oblique muscles, which run down your sides and are important rotators of the trunk. Strong obliques also help maintain an upright posture throughout the day and during activity. You’ll find that these guys get very sore if you haven’t trained them directly before!

Cobra Swims

Instructions

  • Start by lying down on your stomach with your hands resting gently behind your ears, elbows up off the ground (picture 1)
  • Lift your chest off the ground (picture 2)
  • Straighten your arms and pull them back behind you while squeezing the shoulder blades together (picture 3)
  • Bring your arms back forwards and bend them to touch your hands again behind your ears (picture 4)
  • Lower your chest to the ground, repeat
  • Repeat for 10-15 reps or 30-45 seconds

Benefits

Cobra swims are one of the best postural exercises out there. They require no equipment, just a whole lot of effort. The squeeze you get in your whole back and behind your shoulder is phenomenal, and it’s the exact opposite motion of slouching forward in a chair on your computer. Excellent for overall strength, health and posture both on and off the course.

Windmills

Instructions

  • Start by lying on your side with your knees bent and arms straight out in front of you, stacked one on top of the other (picture 1)
  • Take your top arm, keeping it straight, and trace the floor up overhead until your reaching out behind your body directly across from your other arm; you should be facing the other way with an open chest at this point (picture 2)
  • Bring the tracer arm up back over your body, twisting back towards your bottom arm, stacking it again on top in the starting position
  • Repeat for 10-15 reps or 30-45 seconds, do the same for the other side

Benefits

Windmills are a nice and gentle exercise to help mobilize both the spine and shoulders. Do this movement slowly and with intention, feel any little restrictions that might be present, and teach your body to move through them with ease. You’ll feel an invigorating peace after performing this exercise for a few rounds, and you’ll have some happy shoulders and vertebrae because of it!

 

Written by Eric Lister – Certified Personal Trainer & Corrective Exercise Specialist

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