Your butt is asleep. And it's killing your golf game
Whether it's riding in a car (or a golf cart), working behind a desk, or vegging out to some mindless TV on the couch, activities of daily life are likely hurting your chances of playing better golf—not to mention setting you up for injury.
A big issue for many people are inactive/weak glute muscles as a result of prolonged sitting, and that's a problem for golfers since they are the most active group when you swing a club. EMG data shows in the through-swing of a PGA Tour pro, the gluteus maximus are firing all-out and are largely responsible for the amount of energy that can be delivered into the golf ball. Other muscles are involved, for sure, but the glutes are the kings of the golf swing.
"And once glutes become inactive, our capacity to control hip flexion and extension is limited," says Paul Gozbekian, one of Golf Digest's 50 Best Golf-Fitness Trainers in America. "This can cause muscles such as the hamstrings, hip flexors, spinal erectors and ab muscles to become overactive to compensate.
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In golf, Gozbekian says inactive glutes will negatively impact posture, body rotation, the club path's—all things that result in poor ball-striking. In life, inactive glutes greatly impact spinal function and health. And when you combine a poor golf swing with poor spinal function, well, you can see where this is going.
There are many exercises that aid with glute activation and Gozbekian, a Golf Digest Certified Fitness Trainer (our new Fitness Certification program for trainers) will demonstrate three here.
"There are several reasons I prefer these three moves over a traditional glute bridge," he says. "First, they start with orientating the ribcage and thorax over the pelvic girdle. This will help create a proper orientation of our body to activate muscles. Second, these exercises all integrate proper respiratory mechanics, which enhances the stability of our "stacked" body position. With the proper position and good breathing mechanics, we have an easier chance to activate the glute muscles. Traditional glute bridges can easily turn on areas like the lower back, quads, distal hamstrings, calves and abs, which minimizes our ability to get true glute activation and set ourselves up for better golf."
If you add these exercises to your workout routine—and you should—do the elevated split-squat for 10 reps and two or three sets. For the other two exercises, hold the active position for three to five breaths and repeat five times. For all three moves, don't forget to repeat on the opposite sides.
If you have any questions about these moves, Gozbekian can be found at here.