Gluteal Amnesia – Is It Affecting Your Golf Swing?

With the summer weather approaching, more and more time is being spent out on the links. Golf may not be a vigorous aerobic workout, however it is not a game for the ‘un-fit’ individual. Golf requires a great deal of flexibility, coordination, strength and balance, and including this in your regular exercise program is a sure-fire way to improve that golf swing.

Many golf enthusiasts suffer from lower back discomfort and strain. Much focus has been placed on the addition of core exercises to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles, however the large, powerful muscles in the buttocks (gluteals) contribute a great deal to the mechanics of the golf swing.

Through daily activities and the increasing time spent sitting at a computer or in our cars, the gluteal muscles can weaken and the muscles in the front of the hips (the hip flexors) tighten. When asked to contribute to a powerful golf swing, the body “forgets” how to activate the weakened gluteal muscles and the lower back muscles are called upon in a compensatory action to complete the movement. Asking the lower back muscles to do the job of the much more powerful gluteal muscles repeatedly can lead to overuse injury and strain in the back.

One of the best exercises to target and strengthen the gluteal muscle is the clamshell exercise seen below. Doing this 3-4 times a week for 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions at home, or as part of your exercise routine, can build your gluteal muscles and let them help power your swing.

Routine stretching is an important aspect of your golf game, and to counter the tightening seen in the hips in the majority of people today, try adding this stretch to your program.