Do you remember in 2015 when Tiger Woods withdrew from Torrey Pines and blamed it on not being able to activate his glutes? His line “my glutes aren’t firing” made him the laughing stock among golfers and the media. Golf fitness specialists and personal trainers everywhere didn’t think this was funny at all. As a personal trainer, this is the number one issue I encounter with my clients. Dr. Stuart McGill called it “gluteal amnesia”. The inability of our bodies to properly activate and utilize our glutes is a common problem among golfers and non golfers alike. This is a problem I personally struggled with for years but was able to overcome after many months of activation drills and patience.
As golfers, learning how to activate our butt muscles should be our number one priority at the gym. The glute muscles complex, comprised of the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus, is responsible for most of the power and speed generated during the golf swing. Not only are these muscles a must for a powerful and effective golf swing, they are also key stabilizers of your core. You heard that right! The glutes are a part of your core! And when working properly, they protect you from injuries, such as lower back pain, the most common injury among golfers.
So why is gluteal amnesia becoming an epidemic? Very simple. We sit too much. Sitting causes our hip flexor muscles to tighten, which in turn doesn’t allow our glutes to properly contract. Sitting less is always a good idea, but it’s not always possible if you have an office or sedentary job. The good news is that with the proper exercises and stretches we can help offset this and hopefully get those glutes working! Patience is the key to results. Don’t expect a miracle! It might take months for you to finally feel those glutes working, but if you are willing to put in the work, the benefits on and off the course will speak volumes.
In this two part series we will focus on the exercises and stretches you can do to learn how to fire your glutes at the gym and the course. First up, we will learn how to release the hip flexor muscles to allow for optimal muscle contraction. Hoping your glutes will work properly with tight hip flexors is like hoping your car will run without gas. The good news is that releasing your tight hip flexors won’t only help your golf game, it will also allow your body to work optimally and protect you from injury.
Without further ado, here’s how to stretch and release those tight hip flexors. Happy stretching!