Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Your Desk Job could be Affecting your Golf Game

Below is a blog post I wrote for the Mashpee Fitness Center. To see the original, visit the Mashpee Fitness blog.

There have been numerous studies in the past few years about the detrimental effects of sitting all day.  Some media sites have even claimed that “Sitting is the New Smoking” because of the increased risk of disease and even death.  We know how important it is to get in 30-60 minutes of physical activity (on most if not all days of the week) but what you are doing the other 23 hours of your day could be offsetting the work that you are putting in at the gym or out on the course.

In addition to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, sitting can cause a change in your posture.  Think about how you sit when you are at the computer.  Most of us don’t sit up straight and tall like we should.  Spinal alignment is off as your shoulders start slouching forward causing your chest muscles to tighten.  Soon you notice a forward head position.  Long term sitting can cause your muscles and spine to stay in these forward bending positions even when we are standing.

In Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) language, we call this the “C posture,” also known as Upper Cross Syndrome or kyphosis.  TPI reported that 33.1% of all amateur players have C postures which is characterized by excessive roundness in the upper back.  More specifically it is tight upper trap and weak lower trap, tight levator scapulae, tight sternocleidomastoid, weak serratus anterior, weak deep neck flexors, and tight pec major and pec minor.  An unstable core could also lead to these C posture characteristics.

A golfer’s thoracic spine needs to be mobile.  Any arching of the upper back or lack of thoracic extension can result in a loss of rotation, specifically in the backswing.  If you’re not getting the club to the proper position in the backswing, you could be limiting both your power and consistency.  

The goal in the setup position is a neutral spine but it’s not a simple fix and these muscular imbalances need to be addressed off the course and in the gym.  Find a Certified TPI Professional in your area and schedule a golf fitness assessment.  They will be your greatest resource to help you improve your golf game.

What can you do if you have a desk job?  Get up and move!  Take small breaks throughout the day and get up and stretch, go for a drink of water or take a lap around the office.  Set a timer so every 30 minutes you are reminded it’s time to stand up.

Remember: A neutral spine and good posture will lead to more rotation.  Mobility is important for proper mechanics and injury prevention.  If you don’t take care of your body, your longevity in the game you love may be cut short!

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