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Fitness: 5 Steps To Perfect Setup Posture

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In previous articles on GolfWRX, I have talked at length about the importance of great posture at setup in the golf swing. But up until now, the method for actually training the perfect setup hasn’t been properly explained. This article aims to break down the process into five simple steps and give you an easy-to-follow guide to train your setup posture.

No. 1: Establish Neutral Spine

deep core activation - wall

Standing with your back up against a piece of flat wall, place your feet hip width apart and the heels about 6 inches from the wall. Connect your backside, upper back and back of your head to the wall, aiming to get even pressure in all three body parts.

Mobility restrictions or fixed postural issues might stop you feeling even pressure or getting the three body parts on the wall at the same time. If this is the case, try moving your feet farther away from the wall.

No. 2: Stand Tall, Narrow the Waist

The key thought here is to feel the top of your skull moving upward and drawing your spine “up and out” of the pelvis. You are, of course, not literally going to grow 6 inches taller, but this feeling will help to stack your vertebrae correctly and activate key spinal stabilizer muscles.

Narrowing the waist is the cue to help activate your deep core muscles. Imagine you have a very tight piece of string around your abdomen, the same height as your belly button. Now try to loosen the string off by narrowing your waist, but make sure to keep breathing normally. If you are finding breathing difficult, then there is too much bracing going on. Relax a little!

Once you are confident that you’re standing tall and have a narrowed waist, move off the wall and walk around for a while to practice holding the posture without the help from the wall.

No. 3: Activate Your Hip Stabilizers

ANKLE BAND CRAB WALK 2

You’ll need a micro-power band or piece of rubber tubing for this. Place the band around your knees, either above or below the knee cap, whichever feels more comfortable. Now take a small squat posture, feet about hip width apart, while maintaining the feeling of standing tall and narrowing your waist.

From here, take small, deliberate steps to the right for 10 meters (30 feet) and repeat to the left for 10 meters. Now try doing the same walking forward for 10 meters and backward (the reverse movement) for 10 meters. The more deliberate and “stomp like” your steps are, the better muscle activation you will get in the glute complex that helps stabilize your hips and pelvis.

The next level is moving the band to the ankle and speeding up the deliberate, stomping steps.

To access the best equipment for these exercises, check out Golf Fit Pro

No. 4: Active Your Scapulae (shoulder blades) and Shoulder Stabilizers

WALL INITIAL POSTURE DRILL

For this drill, you would ideally use a 2XU Ramsay Posture Belt, but if you don’t have one then a piece of tubing will suffice in the short term.

Using the front band of the posture belt or piece of tubing, assume the correct arm position by taking an overhand grip, tucking the elbows into the side and spreading the hands outwards and upwards.This will take the shoulder into external rotation and help to set the scapulae (shoulder blades) in a position where they are hugged into the rib cage.

Now “pulse” the band by making very small outward circles with your hands. This will help to activate the key muscles surrounding the scapula and back of the shoulder. Again, the faster and more deliberate you make the movement, the better muscle activation you will get.

No. 5: Hinge Forward Into an Athletic Set Up

DYNAMIC TURN TO LEFT 1

So far, we have established a neutral spine and activated the key muscles in the hips, core and shoulders. Now it’s time to apply to this to our golf set up.

With neutral spine established and waist narrowed, simply hinge forward from the hips into a setup position. Your feet should be around hip width apart, turned out slightly with a slight flex in the knee. Your waist will be narrowed and your shoulders set into external rotation with scapulas hugged into the ribcage.

From there simply let the arms hang down and take your grip on the club. This is your brand new athletic set up posture!

Like anything, posture has to be trained before it’s ingrained! I recommend repeating this process several times a day, especially around the time you are practicing. The more often you practice these key steps for set up, the less you will have to think about it on course.

For exercise guides and programs, check out the Golf Fit Pro app for iOS and Android

Special thanks to Ramsay McMaster and Caroline Richardson of Gravity Fit for their contributions in teaching me how to effectively train posture.

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Nick Randall is a Strength and Conditioning Coach, Presenter and Rehab Expert contracted by PGA Tour Players, Division 1 colleges and national teams to deliver golf fitness services. Via his Golf Fit Pro website, app, articles and online training services, Nick offers the opportunity to the golfing world to access his unique knowledge and service offerings. www.golffitpro.net

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Ol deadeye

    Apr 23, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I rated this a shank. This falls right in with Tiger’s “my gluts did not fire”. I think golf should be played with relaxed muscles. A partial sitting motion as on one of those one legged spectator seats will put you in the correct posture. DO NOT bend from the waist as so many golf instructions state. The partial sit is a strong athletic position. Try it

    • TR1PTIK

      Apr 23, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Where do you think you’re bending from when you sit? Lol. No reason to be critical of the author just because you’re stuck in yesteryear. The article was written in a way that younger, more athletic golfers will understand and accept.

    • Philip

      Apr 23, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      I think it is just a matter of visualization and being aware of what works for each of us. I can never get comfortable on bar stools – I prefer to stand. Either concepts : bar stool or bending at the waist are both the kiss of death for my posture. I must “feel” like I’m standing to get into “my” proper posture, otherwise I am bending/sitting too much.

  2. jc

    Apr 22, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    it might take some doing to pull that wall around the course and have those bands on my feet and wrists…I pity the guys behind me..

  3. Double Mocha Man

    Apr 22, 2015 at 11:11 am

    We could all use some “narrowing” of the waist.

  4. TR1PTIK

    Apr 22, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Great article! I look forward to working on this – been looking for something to help me develop a solid and consistent setup posture!

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Instruction

Kelley: Should a Tour player’s swing be the pattern we copy?

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PGA Tour players are the most gifted golfers on the planet. Their ball striking ability is remarkable to the average, even scratch, golfer. With the time to practice all day, usually perfecting their imperfections in their own swings, why are PGA Tour players’ swings always the model we seek?

Look at the progression and expectations in other sports played recreationally. If you start playing Tennis, you don’t expect to serve as fast and accurate as Rafael Nadal. When joining a gym, do we look and replicate the times and bodies of Olympians? However, in golf, players seek the worlds best trying to emulate them. Examining this idea, could this actually be detrimental?

Let’s start with the speed differential. The average PGA Tour driver club head speed is 113 mph. The average male amateur golfer driver speed is 93.4 mph. The average handicap for the male golfer sits between 14 and 15. Below is a chart from Trackman showing the distribution of clubhead speed among male golfers.

*Trackman research shows there is a direct correlation between clubhead speed and handicap.

Speed is mostly a natural talent developed at an early age. It can be enhanced with speed training, gym work and even lifestyle changes. ?With such a differential in speed?, wouldn’t players first be better served focusing on center contact with the most efficient route to do so? This can include modeling simple looking swings.

Besides the speed differential, the world’s best golfers all have unique swings that have been perfected over time. Take for example the top ten players in the world. Different swings with different match-up moves throughout the motion. They have made it work for themselves with countless practice hours. Usually time the average golfer doesn’t have.

A main example would be Rory McIlroy, often a sought out golf swing among students. Here is a quote regarding his swing swing sequence after visiting the Titleist Performance Institute Center. “At the start of McIlroy’s downswing, his left hip spins violently counterclockwise, as it does for every elite, long-hitting player. but then, and only with the driver, Mcllroy makes a funky move you could not teach. a moment before impact, his left hip suddenly changes direction and jerks back, clockwise, and then rotates again.”

With the average golfer on a time constraint?, golfers could actually look at what the greats do the older they get in their careers. The swings become more simple, using their instincts to get their body in efficient and more teachable positions. This is usually in their set-up then backswing, with less excess movement for an efficient strike. Take for example a young versus older Ben Hogan. (Picture below)

Below is another example of a young Jack Nicklaus compared to an older Nicklaus later in his career.

This is in large part due to the concept that less can be more at times. Unfortunately in golf, all to often players are told to do more with their swing, only to jeopardize center contact even seeking vanity over function.

A concept that could be beneficial is next time you want to work on your swing, focus on efficiency and minimizing the ?motion for center contact and a better face/path relationship. Then you can build. Rather then taking a bit from a Tour player’s swing, understand how your body should move to achieve your desired ball flight. Once you have a foundation, then add speed and your own DNA to the swing.

The argument could be made the opposite should be taught for aspiring junior golfers, especially the way the game as going. This article is intended to open a discussion and perhaps change the view of how the golf swing is being taught based on your skill-set and what you are trying to get out of the game. Also, what may be teachable and not teachable. You can change swings with concepts alone.

www.kelleygolf.com

Twitter: @Kkelley_golf 

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Clement: Why laying up = more power

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You have been there before — you can’t get over the hazard on a par 5 and decide to lay up and take the club you need for the distance and the ball makes it into the hazard after you took this smooth swing that smoked the ball 15 yards farther than you expected? We uncover the mystery right here!

 

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Kelley: Simplify your swing with the hammer drill

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Regardless of your handicap, a simple hammer can teach you how to efficiently address the ball, start the swing and then put your body in a dynamic position at the top. If you can hammer a nail, there is no reason you can’t simplify your swing. This drill can also change the parts in the middle of your swing you have been struggling to change.

To start, grab a hammer with your trail hand as if you are hammering a nail into a wall in front of your body. You will notice how this instinctively gives you a slight tuck of the trail elbow and drops your trail shoulder below the lead with angle in the trail wrist.

Once gripping the hammer, move the weight of the hammer as if hammering a nail. This will give you the feel of the takeaway.

From here, the golf swing is no more then a lifting of the arms as the right arm folds and the body goes around a bit.

From this position, holding your spine angle and placing the left hand on the right hand will pull your body into a coil or “turn”. This places your body in a position to efficiently swing the golf club back down to the ball.

A great way to combine the hammer drill with a golf club is to hold a hammer on the grip of the club or tape the hammer down the middle of the shaft. Start with just your right hand on the club and make slow swings.

Once you have practiced this a few times, the hammer can be removed and this feel can be integrated to a normal golf club. To continue this feel, simply turn the clubhead in as if you are hitting the ball with the toe of the club (below picture). When turning the club like this, the center of balance goes more to the clubhead, helping replicate the actual hammer feel.

What’s great about this drill is that the actual task is driving the technique. Rather than being thoughtful of several technical positions in the golf swing, replicating the instinctive motion of the hammer will put you in the proper positions. This drill will also help you place your focus of attention on the actual club, which is often overlooked.

www.kelvinkelley.com

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