When you see professional golfers on the driving range, you always see them set-up with alignment sticks.
The reason for this is because, after the grip, your address position is the most important step in the golf swing.
The set-up also includes your address posture. Professionals always have their caddies or coaches observe their posture and make sure the back is straight, and the hips and shoulders are aligned with the target.
Amateur golfers don’t have the advantage of having a caddie to help them get aligned or check their posture. This could be one of the reasons that we see postural issues in their set-up.
There are two common posture faults, S-posture and C-posture.
In this article, I will discuss what S-posture is, how to identify it and discuss corrections to eliminate it from your address position.
Eliminating S-posture from your address position is important, not only because it causes swing sequence issues, but because it can also cause lower back pain.
As a bonus, I have also created a Free Guide that lists exercises that will correct the physical limitations that cause S-posture.
The exercises included in the guide are linked to a video library so you can see how to perform each exercise.
You can have the guide sent to your inbox by clicking the button below.
If you have back pain while playing golf, you may have S-posture. The free guide lists and has links to videos of exercises that can help you eliminate the S-posture swing characteristic. Click the button below to download the guide to your inbox.
What is S-Posture?
S-posture is a set-up characteristic where the player exhibits too much arch, or saddle, in the lower back.
It’s appropriately named because when you look at the golfer from the side, the back is shaped like the letter S.
The reason (not the cause) for this posture is that the pelvis is in the anterior tilt position. The top of the pelvis is tilted down, and the tailbone is sticking out.
This position places a lot of stress on the lower back and causes the abdominals to become inhibited and unable to transfer power from the legs to the upper body in the golf swing.
With the core deactivated it’s common for the player to lose posture or even go into a reverse spine angle position.
How Prevalent is S-Posture?
One-quarter of all amateur golfers have S-Posture.
Usually, there are physical causes.
However, many golfers that played other sports such as baseball, football or basketball will take a more athletic position than is required for golf. In the other sports, the chest down and butt up is a purely defensive position.
But, golf requires a more neutral pelvic position.
Before I talk about the physical limitations that may cause S-Posture let me discuss how to identify it.
Percentage of Amateur Golfers that Have S-Posture
How to Tell if You Have S-Posture
The best way to say whether you have S-Posture is to view your address position from the down-the-line view; either from a photo or in a video.
Make sure your clothing isn’t loose. You need to see the contours of your back.
For tips on how to record video of your golf swing, visit my article How to Video Your Golf Swing.
It isn’t necessary to make a video to identifying S-Posture, a photo will do. But, the camera set-up is similar to a photo as it is in a video.
However, I have found that when people think about how to address the golf ball, they modify their stance because they’re now conscious of it instead of setting up normally. So I usually look at two or three swings to see if the address posture is the same for all swings.
In the photo below, you’ll see that my lower back is arched, and my tailbone is stuck out.
I am exhibiting S-Posture.
Normal Address Position
This photo is my normal address position, you can see that my lower back is flat with no saddle.
When a line is drawn from my tailbone to the shoulder blades (red line), there’s no gap below the line. If I showed S-posture you could see a gap between my lower back and the line.
You can ignore the blue line for now.
Again, the subconscious mind is strong, and it might bias the results of your posture.
It’s better to look at your posture over a series of photos taken when you aren’t specifically thinking about your set-up position so no bias is introduced.
Swing Results Due to S-Posture
S-Posture can throw your whole golf swing off kilter.
S-Posture locks the pelvis in place, making it difficult to rotate your hips; this will cause the upper body to come up out of your stance during your backswing.
Worst, it can also produce a reverse swing angle putting tension on the lower back, which often leads to back pain.
S-Posture also affects the kinematic swing sequence causing a loss of power, distance, and direction.
None of these are good.
Since there can be a few physical causes of S-Posture, there a couple of mobility screens that can narrow down those portions of the body with limitations that cause the swing fault to occur.
Physical Causes of S-Posture
The most common cause of S-Posture is a pattern of muscle imbalances called Lower Cross Syndrome (LCS).
LCS is a muscle imbalance common in those people that sit for hours. If we totaled up the number of hours we sat or were at least in that same position (thinking about how you lay in bed on your side), it would be scary.
The imbalances caused by LCS are tight or overactive hip flexors and lower back muscles grouped with weak abdominals and glute muscles.
The physical appearance caused by LCS is a lower back that arches inward making the gut protrude (even when it isn’t beer-induced) and a flat butt (no muscle).
Listed below are the mobility screens that are used to evaluate if you may have the S-Posture swing characteristic.
Failing the mobility screens below does not necessarily indicate that you have a particular swing characteristic, only that you have a limitation in joint or muscle group tested.
But people who fail any of the tests below have a good general correlation for S-Posture.
These are limitations that should be corrected if you want to eliminate S-Posture.
Pelvic Tilt Test
The pelvic tilt test evaluates the movement control you have over your pelvis by tilting it anteriorly, posteriorly, and then back to a neutral position and hold it there.
Most people can pass this test anteriorly, tilting the top of the pelvis down, but not posteriorly, tucking under the tailbone.
If they can both anteriorly and posteriorly tilt there pelvis, we need to make sure the motion is smooth and not jerky.
Bridge with Leg Extension Test
Bridge with Leg Extension Test evaluates the strength of your glutes and core.
The glutes are the King of the golf swing, and weakness of these muscles often leads to swing faults.
Other Possible Causes of S-Posture
As mentioned previously in this article, some multi-sport athletes have a tendency to address the golf ball with S-posture because they think that is the correct way to set-up for any sport. It’s an athletic position so it makes sense to them.
Here’s where a little instruction can go a long way. Usually, once an athlete has been instructed to why it’s important to keep a flat back they excel with the swing.
Swing Assessment Program
Are you slicing or hooking the golf ball? Do you think your swing is costing you distance? Are the common swing faults, like early extension, over the top, and loss of posture costing you frustration and strokes?
Did you know that your golf swing can provide clues to swing faults?
Using two videos of your golf swing recorded with your smartphone, I can identify which of the swing characteristics you may possess.
I have developed a Swing Assessment Program to assist in determining swing faults. Correct swing faults with simple corrective exercises.
Use the buttons below to learn more.
The "Learn More" button will take you to a page on this website that describes the program in detail.
The "Visit Course Website" button will take you to the area of my website where I host my golf conditioning programs.
If you have S-Posture, don’t worry.
There are exercises that will strengthen your glutes and core as well as allow you to move your pelvis freely. I’ve prepared a free guide listing those exercises for you!
Each exercise is linked to a video to show you the proper way to do the exercise.
Click the button below and enter your first name and e-mail address so I can e-mail you the Free S-Posture Exercise Guide!
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