Getting shorter off the tee? You can thank your smartphone
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As if blurry vision, arthritic thumbs, and those damn robocalls weren't bad enough, you can thank your smartphone if you've been hitting some pathetic drives of late. Postural experts have noticed in recent years that most of us are walking around with a "too forward" head position as a result of starring into phones most of the day. When your head juts forward instead of staying stacked over your torso, it not only increases the amount of weight your cervical spine and neck muscles have to support (10 pounds for every inch forward of normal), it also dramatically reduces your chance of making quality golf swings, says Golf Digest Certified Fitness Trainer Andrew Dulak.
"Forward head posture affects the swing in several ways," says Dulak, who trains golfers from his gym, Dulak Physical Therapy and Golf, near Pittsburgh. "The more common limitations will be a decrease in rotation on the backswing and follow-through. When the head is forward, the middle back is rounding. With this setup, the neck, middle back and shoulder muscles are tighter and shorter, limiting the range of motion needed to create a full and efficient swing."
In addition to a shorter, tighter swing, golfers with this posture also will struggle to generate swing speed through proper footwork. The tendency is to swing with most of your weight out in the toes, Dulak says, compromising balance.
Finally, breathing is restricted.
"When you are flexed forward, the ribs are not able to expand as they should, resulting in shorter and less effective respirations. Proper breathing is crucial to the stamina needed to maintain a good swing throughout 18 holes and a four-hour round," Dulak says.
If you look at this model provided by Brian Bradley and the posture experts at Egoscue, you can check your normal stance in a mirror in comparison, or have someone snap a photo of you from the side view. Be sure to stand as you do normally.
If the forward head position is noticeable, Dulak has three corrective exercises that can help. For the first two moves, the lunge-stance lean-backs and the wall foam-roll reaches, hold the stretched position for five seconds and do 10 reps. For the final move, the banded reverse angels, do two or three sets of 10 reps. Dulak demonstrates them in the video below.