“Sitting is the new Smoking” – we’ve all (hopefully) heard this recently. This has a lot of merit, the amount of time you spend sitting says a lot about your overall fitness. We’re made to move. Think of this, for many Americans, a normal day consists of:
- wake up, many people are side-sleepers (looks an awful lot like sitting when you are in the fetal position)
- walk downstairs and sit to answer emails, eat breakfast and drink coffee
- sit in the car and drive to work, where you sit all day
- sit in the car and drive home to sit down for dinner
- after dinner go to the gym for an hour…and then,
- come back home to hang on the couch for some TV
- then back to bed to start it all over again tomorrow.
See the problem?
This is scary – even 1 hour of high intensity exercise following a day of sitting DOESN’T reverse the effects. Every day that you spend sitting is cumulatively adding up and taking a toll on your body.
So, why does this matter? Let’s just focus on one aspect that really plays into our golf games.
Quick anatomy lesson. Your hip flexors (for the purpose of this we’ll simplify and just consider psoas) attach from your lumbar spine (low back) and diaphragm (#1 breathing muscle) down through your pelvis and to your leg bone at the front of your hip. Try this, sit down or bend forward and grab the skin just at the front of your hips. Keep grabbing and stand up. Get it. Our body is constantly adapting, and when we spend most of our day in a sitting position, our hip flexors adaptively shorten or tense up. This leads to more stress on our hips and low back, it limits our hip range of motion, AND it acts like a light switch to our glutes. Our body is one big balancing act of agonists and antagonists – when the hip flexors get too tight or out of position the glutes (the antagonist) have a difficult time getting into the proper position to strongly fire – the fancy term for this is reciprocal inhibition. So when Tiger said he was having difficulty firing his glutes, he was probably right and was managing or struggling with some form of reciprocal inhibition.
Here’s the take home – you can work glute strengthening all day, but if you find most of your day is spent sitting, that hip flexor and anterior hip mobility issue should be your #1 target. Mobility must come first, if you don’t have the mobility to properly fire your glutes, you’re going down a dangerous rabbit hole of pain, bad body mechanics and an inefficient golf swing.
Move well, then move often.