The S posture refers to the shape of the lumbar spine, specifically a curve in the spine representing the letter S. This condition often causes pain in the lumbar spine and is a result of weak abdominals as well as a lack of lumbar and hip mobility. Fitness professionals also refer to this condition as an excessive anterior tilt of the pelvis. Conversely, tucking the pelvis under is referred to as a posterior pelvis tilt.
While you watch the Sony Open on The Golf Channel this week, pay attention to the posterior hip position of the players at impact. Through 3-D motion analysis we know over 90% of Tour players have a posterior tilt at the point of impact, helping them generate power from the lower body. If you cannot tuck the pelvis under, due to an excessive S posture or create a posterior tilt you will deplete your body from generating maximum power.
This week we use exercises which will help you control the S curve in the spine and help you develop more mobility in the hips, thus keeping your posture in tack throughout your entire swing. Because strength and mobility in the gluts are fundamental to reducing the S curve in your spine I have included the bridge pose ' the mother of glut strengthening poses.
The supine pelvic tilt is a great exercise for awakening the pelvis, reducing pain in the lumbar spine and teaching you the basics for a posterior tilt. While the pelvic tilts bring more awareness to your pelvis, the core stabilizing sequence builds the strength you need to offset the problems associated with the S curve.
If you have been reading my articles over the last ten years you already know I believe every golfer should practice the cat/cow pose daily. I have seen remarkable increases in spinal mobility with golfers of all ages and fitness levels with this pose. Lets get started!
Supine Pelvic tilts: On your back, knees bent and arms relaxed next to your side. Inhale deeply and on the exhalation, press your navel AND ribcage towards the floor. Exhale, release the abdominals, return to a neutral spine and repeat ten times.
Cat / Cow pose: I practice this pose everyday. Place the hands under the shoulders, knees under the hips. Spread the fingers as wide as possible and press the base of your forefinger into the yoga mat. (this activates the shoulders). Inhale deeply as you press the spine towards the floor, roll the shoulders away from the ears and slightly lift the head (do not hyper-extend the neck). On the exhalation begin the movement by pressing the navel towards the spine, pressing the spine towards the ceiling and tucking the chin towards the chest.
Repeat ten times. Note: consider closing your eyes during this pose. It will help you to connect the body, mind and breathe ' the essence of yoga.
Par level: Place the feet on the floor, knees at a ninety degree angle.
Birdie / Eagle levels: Place the feet on a balance ball. Tuck the tailbone / pelvis under as you activate the posterior tilt, driving the navel towards the spine. On the exhalation lift the hips off the floor. Focus on utilizing the gluts and not the quads. Hold for five breaths, relax and repeat three to five repetitions.
Pigeon pose with the ball: On your back place the left heel on the balance ball and the right foot on the outside of the left knee. Inhale deeply and on the exhale pull the left leg towards you feeling the stretch in the right hip. Repeat ten times and switch sides.
Core stabilizing with yoga block: Place the yoga block between the hands, arms at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Press the hands into the block and pull the shoulders down. Press the navel and ribcage towards the floor. Focus on stabilizing the core abdominals. On the exhalation, lift one leg slightly off the floor and switch sides.
Birdie level: Right leg comes to a ninety degree angle and the left leg extends a few inches off the floor. On the exhalation, switch sides. Repeat ten times on each side.
Tip: The slower you move the more beneficial the pose.