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Wednesday's with WVPT
Author: Ryan Hubbard
November 9th 2016 - Lower Cross Syndrome: How the glutes effect our golf game.

Hi all, were back with another edition of “Wednesday with WVPT”.  Hope you enjoyed our first article and applied the exercises to your warm up as you get your final rounds in before the frost comes in.  Last week I touched a little bit on how our posture affects us in our daily life and on the golf course.  This week, I want to continue that theme, but discuss how the position of our hips affects our posture when in a static position (during your golf set up) and how it affects our dynamic movements (sequence of the golf swing).
The pelvis is composed of of six bones that connect our low back to our lower extremities.  In many ways, it acts as the foundation of our core and behaves similarly to the foundation of your home.  It’s an area that needs to be sturdy.  Its primary motions that I will be discussing are anterior (front) and posterior (back) tilting.  These motions are controlled by your deep core stabilizers and hip musculature.  A very common issue among these muscles that attach to the pelvis is that these tissues can become tight (hip flexors, low back) and other can become weak (abdominals and gluteals); this is called “Lower Cross Syndrome”.

More often than not, these muscles adapt from prolonged sitting in our day to day life (tying in to our first article).  Most of us don’t perform exercise or tasks that allow us to counteract this adaptation of our posture.  Before I suggest some exercises, let’s talk more about posture.  One good way to assess your posture is to look at your set up posture if you were to hit a 5 iron.  This is something we analyze within the Titleist Performance Physical Screen.  A good postural set up will not only put us in a more athletic (yes, you are an athlete) stance, but reduce the chance of injury as we begin the sequence of the swing.   Ideally we want a neutral spine, meaning that your low back is not arched or rounded excessively.  If your back is arched, lower crossed syndrome may be the culprit. 
If you haven’t yet, I recommend taking a picture or video (from behind the ball) of your swing or at least your set up.  Then critique yourself.  Does the line from your neck to your low back look like and excessive “S” shape?  Then you may have what is called lordotic posture, which causes an anterior pelvic tilt.  Not only does this make your low back stiff, but puts your gluteals in a position where they cannot be as powerful.  This a problem because we refer to the gluteals as “the king” of the swing.  We need those muscles (the king) to be in an ideal position to be able to contract to give us power. 

Let’s look at the 43 year-old Stewart Cink, who averaged 323 yards off the tee last week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. Here is a picture of him on the range at another tournament. 

How can he consistently drive the ball as far or further than many of the younger players on tour?  He has the correct set up to give him the most biomechanically efficient swing for his body type.  There is a slight curvature of his lower back, but it is not excessive.  He is hinging at the waist and not bending at the back.  Lastly, his knees are slightly bent in order to address the ball. 
Here are some gluteal exercises below that you can incorporate into your exercise or gym program: 
Alternating Supermans
Bridges with arms
Bridges with arms up
Bridges with leg extension
Good Luck!
Ryan Hubbard, DPT, TPI Certified Level 1
Email Ryan 
If you are experiencing pain and would like to be examined by a physical therapist.  Please contact us at Willem Verweij and Associates Physical Therapy at (603) 335-4700, we would be happy to help you.

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