C-posture is a common swing & postural characteristic that limits your backswing and can cause other swing faults.
The name is self-explanatory, as the shape of your back forms a “C” postiion when viewed from the side.
Not only is C-posture detrimental to the golf swing, but also to your everyday life movement patterns. It’s important to identify and correct C-posture as it has a tendency to get worse as time goes on.
As I type this article, I am fighting C-posture tendencies. If you’re like me, I continually correcting my posture over the keyboard by reminding myself to sit up straight and not hunch over.
C-posture is common and persistent because of our everyday tasks. It seems like all we do is lean forward and look down at our hands in front of us. Think about working on computer keyboards, laptops, tablets, and looking at and texting on our phones.
It is important to counteract C-posture as it has a tendency to become worst over time.
C-posture tightens our chest and neck muscles as well as lengthen our back muscles. Exercise is the best way to counteract the tighten of the chest and neck muscles caused by our daily tasks.
Since C-posture tightens the muscles used to push it’s better to do more pulling exercises than those using a pushing motion. Think rows instead of presses.
As a bonus, I have also created a Free Guide that lists exercises you can perform to correct the physical limitations that cause C-posture.
The exercises included in the guide are linked to the Titleist Performance Insitute (TPI) video library so you can see how to perform each exercise the correct way.
C-posture reduces the amount of rotation in your upper back and that costs you distance. There are some easy exercise corrections for this swing characteristic. The free guide provides exercises that can eliminate C-posture and help you make a longer backswing.
Click to download the guide.
What is C-posture?
C-posture occurs when the upper spine (thoracic & cervical spine) slumps forward. The shoulders also hunch forward and usually are drawn in towards the chest.
If you work in an office, imagine leaning over your keyboard for a couple of hours. You find yourself all hunched over, with your shoulders rounded. You can also feel the tension in your neck and middle of the back as you stare at the computer screen. These positions are C-posture.
Take that image to the tee box and put a golf club in your hands and you have the C-posture swing characteristic.
A person with C-posture has a rounded back that forms an arc from the tailbone to their neck.
In some cases, this posture can be the result of a poor set-up, and it can be corrected by adjusting to a more neutral spine position or even into a deeper knee bend at set-up.
For most people, the underlying cause is muscle and joint imbalances that have been forming for years and will require work in the gym to correct the limitation. In some cases, a medical professional may be needed to correct the muscle imbalances.
It should be noted that golfers that have a slight rounding of the shoulders, but a straight low and mid-back don’t have C-posture. This is often the case with tall golfers or those with an upright stance.
How Prevalent is C-posture?
About one-third of all amateurs golfers has C-posture. The correct posture is so important in the golf swing that professional golfers don’t exhibit C-posture or S-posture.
Percentage of Amateur Golfers That Have C-posture
Posture limitations restrict proper movement of the hips and upper back to such a degree that it is hard to play well consistently with C-posture, S-posture or Loss of Posture.
Golf requires a more neutral postural position.
But before I talk about the physical limitations that may cause C-posture let me discuss how to identify it.
How to Tell if You Have C-posture
The easiest way to tell if you have C-posture is to look at a photo or video of yourself from down the line view in the set-up position.
Make sure your clothing isn’t loose. We need to see the contours of your back.
Copy the photo into a graphic design program and draw a straight line from the tailbone to the back of the neck.
If there is a significant portion of your back above the line, then you have C-posture.
For tips on how to take video of your golf swing visit my article How to Video Your Golf Swing.
I tried to put myself into C-posture and record a video, but it didn’t work out very well. So I used a photo from Richard Cashmore of Fit Fore Golf of Solihull, West Midlands, UK. You can visit Richard’s website at www.fitforegolf.co.uk.
In the photos below you will see that Richard has put himself into C-posture.
In the second photo, a blue line drawn was drawn from the tailbone to the back of the neck. Notice that the line bisects his back and chest and a substantial portion of his back is above the blue line.
Standard Address Position
The image shows my normal address position. You can see that my lower back is flat.
The blue line drawn from the tailbone to the neck does show some of my back above the line, but it’s mainly my shoulder blades.
As mentioned before some shoulder above the line is ok, taller people will almost always have some portion of the upper back above the tailbone/neckline.
That said, my posture could use a little work; I would like to see less back above the line. Maybe more knee flex, or a wider stance.
DJ’s Address Position
Here’s Dustin Johnson’s address position. The camera is a little too far away to see how much of his back is above the line, but I think you’ll get the idea.
I have drawn a line from his tailbone to the back of the neck and a portion of his back above the line. A small portion like this is not an issue, and he has no problem making a full backswing turn without having to raise his upper body into a more upright position.
Swing Results Due to C-Posture
C-posture limits the ability to turn your shoulders as the vertebrae in the upper back (thoracic spine) won’t rotate when they’re in flexion.
Golfers with C-posture will need to shorten their backswing, or they’ll stand-up out of their stance and lose posture altogether.
Besides the obvious lack of distance due to the shorter backswing, C-posture will also cause the loss of posture and a myriad of other swing characteristics and swing faults.
Physical Causes of C-Posture
The most common cause of C-Posture is a pattern of muscle imbalances called Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS).
UCS is a common issue not only with golfers but the general public as well. The imbalances are so common because they’re caused by using computers, texting, and sitting hunched over for a great portion of the day.
Nick Buchan wrote an awesome article for Golf WRX called Why your desk job is ruining your golf swing that discusses how our bodies are changing due to work and the hours we spend sitting.
The muscle imbalances caused by UCS are tight, or overactive, pec and scapular muscles grouped with weak traps, neck flexors, and the muscles that attach to the scapula and then onto the rib cage.
C-posture also affects the thoracic spine by pulling it into flexion (pulled forward), which makes it harder to extend (bending backward).
Remember if the upper spine is bent, it significantly reduces the mobility of the back making much harder to rotate. If you don’t think so, hunch over and try to twist your upper back, now sit upright and turn. See and feel the how much farther the back will rotate when the spine is straight?
Below are the physical screens that can be used to evaluate if you may have the C-Posture swing characteristic.
Having a positive screen for a physical limitation does not necessarily mean that you have a particular swing characteristic, only that you have a deficiency in that area.
People who fail any of the tests below have a good general correlation for C-Posture.
These are limitations that should be corrected if you want to eliminate C-Posture.
Overhead Deep Squat Test
The overhead deep squat test is one of the most telling physical screens. If you are unable to do a full deep squat with your arms straight above your head, while keeping the heels on the ground, it will be almost impossible to make a full backswing turn without losing posture.
For C-posture the overhead squat tests the mobility of the thoracic spine and flexibility of the lat muscles. If the arms lower when you squat, you need to work on T-spine mobility and increase the strength of the lats.
The Lat Test looks at shoulder flexion and joint restrictions in the shoulder, as well as scapular limitations. These back muscles are crucial to many aspects of the golf swing. Both tightness and lack of stabilization in the lats can cause several swing characteristics.
Toe Touch Test
The toe touch test is for mobility of the lower back, hamstrings, and hip. Mostly we have talked about the upper back and the UCS. But, it’s possible that limited lower back mobility will stop you from finding a neutral spine position and add more curvature to the back.
Reach Out and Lift Test
The Reach Out and Lift Test evaluates the strength of the lower trap and shoulder girdle mobility. Weakness in the lower trap suggests you don’t have control of the upper body and leads to posture issues.
Other Possible Causes of C-Posture
There can be non-physical causes of C-posture.
- Lack of proper instruction
- Using clubs that are too short, and
- Standing too far away from the ball so you have to reach.
If you have C-Posture, don’t worry.
There are exercises that will eliminate C-posture, I’ve prepared a free guide with those exercises!
It lists the exercises that will help you correct limitations causing your mobility issues.
Each exercise is linked to a video to show you the proper way to do the exercise correctly.
Click the button below and enter your first name and e-mail address so I can e-mail you the Free C-Posture Exercise Guide!
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