Golf Articles

C Curve Posture 

One of the most common faulty posture types is an ‘excessive kyphosis’ or ‘upper cross syndrome’.  TPI, (Titleist Performance Institute) refer to this as ‘C Curve Posture’.

What does this look like?

  • An increase in the natural curve of our upper back, making it more rounded like a ‘C’ shape
  • The shoulders fall forwards, looking slouched
  • The head and chin poke forward (also affecting the natural curve in the back of the neck)
  • The chest muscles are tight or short as are the muscles in the back of the neck and upper back across the top of the shoulders.
  • The muscles at the front of the neck and around the shoulders blades and mid back are weak, lengthened and/or inhibited

For some people, a C curve at address can just be down to poor set up and simply not being aware of it happening or how to correct it. However for the majority of people the C curve is noticeable in our normal standing posture and the main cause is due to muscle and joint imbalances.  Muscle imbalances are where some muscles are short or tight and others are weak, long and/or inhibited (as per the diagram).  This affects our mobility.

The biggest mobility problem with this posture is lack of extension (being able to move the upper/mid back, backwards).  This can make it difficult for some people to simply straighten up but it also results in a significant loss of rotation in the spine.

How does this affect our golf swing?

A lack of rotation affects our ability to turn during the backswing.  Unless we keep a short backswing this will lead to us losing posture throughout the entire swing.  Other problems include:-

  • Flat shoulder plane rather than horizontal.
  • Early extension (standing up too soon in the downswing)
  • Sway (excessive movement laterally away from the target, changing our bodyweight)
  • Slide ( excessive movement laterally toward the target, making it difficult to stabilise)

All of this can alter our swing, reduce our power and affect our accuracy.

What can we do to help?

 Be aware of it for starters.   A lot of people are simply not aware of their posture.  Remember posture is static and dynamic.  We need good static posture in order to have good dynamic (golf) posture.  Practice whilst standing and sitting and be aware generally day to day.

  • Stand/sit tall (pelvis in a neutral position with the hip bones and pubic bone level – more on this next month)
  • Draw your shoulder blades back and down into a soft V shape, opening up the front of the chest (try not to arch your back when you do this, pull in the abdominal muscles to help)
  • Draw the chin backwards creating length in the back of your neck (think of keeping your chin parallel to the floor as you bring it in)

There are lots of exercises you can do to help with this posture, here are just a few.  The majority are aimed at upper back extension but in a number of different positions, some are easier than others and some require pain free, mobile shoulders so you may need to adapt for that reason.  If in doubt, as always, seek advice.  You can try doing a few repetitions (10-15) or holding a position for 10-20 seconds 2 or 3 times, 4-5 times a week, as you feel able.

**Please note that as we age we naturally take on a more kyphotic curve. Arthritis, degenerative disc disease and osteoporosis in particular may create a more obvious kyphosis that feels very difficult to move into upright or extension.  Don’t let this put you off.  Extension exercises (particularly against gravity) are key to strengthening the back in in these conditions.**

Lying on a foam roller (or towel) + arm circles

  • Lie flat along the length of a foam roller or thick rolled up towel
  • Make sure your head and pelvis are supported at either end
  • Draw your lower back into or at least towards the roller or towel and tuck your chin in to lengthen the back of your neck
  • Relax and allow the spine to rest and stretch, breath naturally

Try adding in some arm circles if you wish

Extension over the foam roller (static and dynamic)

  • Lie with your upper back/shoulder blades on the foam roller or rolled up towel
  • Your bottom is on the floor, knees bent and feet flat
  • Support the weight of your head with your hands (elbows in is easier than elbows out)
  • Try and lie back over the foam/towel focusing the movement to be in the upper back (not the neck or lower back, tuck the bum under and chin in if it helps).
  • You can change position by moving slightly further up or down from the top of your shoulder blades to the bottom.
  • If you’re on the foam roller you can also pick your hips up and massage up and down the roller. Again just the area between the top and bottom of your shoulder blades.

Extension in Sitting

  • Easier option than the roller and also easy to do during the day
  • Sit tall on a chair that supports your lower back, but allows your upper back to move
  • Tilt your pelvis so that your lower back is flat/flatter against the chair
  • Place your hands behind your head to support the weight and keep the neck long
  • Lean your upper back and chest backwards, pause and return
  • Make sure your lower back stays flat and doesn’t arch

Extension in Standing

  • Stand at arms length away from a desk, windowsill, kitchen bench etc.,
  • Place your hands on, palms facing down or inwards
  • As you slide your arms forwards (wider if more comfortable) push your bottom backwards and upwards and your chest down
  • Pause and return to standing or stay in the stretch
  • Alternatively – stand facing a wall at arms length and do the same thing with your arms up the wall, pushing your chest forwards and down.

Standing or Lying Scapular (shoulder blade) Setting (to strengthen)

  • Adopt good posture (pelvis neutral)
  • Engage your abdominal muscles to hold your lower back and pelvis still
  • Draw your shoulder blades back and down (aim each shoulder blade towards the opposite back pocket) 1 at a time or both together
  • The fronts of your shoulder will lift away from the floor
  • Rotate your arm(s) from the shoulder socket turning the palm inwards or forwards
  • Try and feel the lower tip of your shoulder blade flattening against your rib cage
  • Pause, relax and repeat
  • To make it more difficult, move your arm(s) away from your body maintaining your shoulder set position.

As always folks, I don’t know you personally….. if you have any medical conditions or injuries and are unsure if these exercises are suitable for you, please seek the advice of your health professional.