There are 3 questions you are probably asking yourself after reading the title of this article. One, “What is Glute Amnesia?” Two, “Do I have it and if I do can it be cured?” Three, “What does it have to do with my golf game?”
Before I tell you what it is, I am going to answer questions two and three. The chances are, you probably have it, but don’t worry, there is a cure! The answer to the third question is “everything!” That’s right, your Glutes (by the way-your Glutes are your butt muscles) have everything to do with your golf game. So, yes, we are going to talk about your Butt and how to fix it if it’s broken. Glute Amnesia is very simple to explain. Simply put-your Butt has forgotten that it is supposed to be working. That’s right, it has been on vacation for awhile and it has gotten lazy as a result of it. It has been very happy to let some of your other muscles do its job. Now, the problem with that is those other muscles (compensatory muscles) are over-worked because they have been doing their own job as well as your Butt’s! Now we all know what happens when we get over-worked. We get cranky and we start to complain! When you develop a compensatory pattern in the body, it starts to get cranky as well. The body often complains by becoming stiff, tight and eventually painful. Not in the Butt though-remember the Butt is on vacation! We often feel stiffness or pain in the areas that are over-worked. For example, the Hamstrings (back of the upper thigh) or lower back may get tight. Some of this may be starting to sound familiar right about now!!
Okay, so now you know what it is. Let’s talk about how important your butt is to your golf swing. Your butt has a few jobs that it should be doing. It plays a role in helping prevent swaying and sliding along with some other muscles in your hips by stabilizing your lower body. It acts also as a stabilizer to help prevent you from losing posture in your backswing (standing up) or early extending in your downswing (moving forward towards the ball). It is difficult to hit the ball well when your body is moving side to side or if you get in the way of your arms and club! These are very important jobs for your butt as I am sure you would agree. The job that makes the Glutes unique, the one thing that makes it the CEM (Chief Executive Muscle) of your golf swing is this-it gives you power!! Along with its staff (primarily the abdominal muscles), the Glutes are responsible for transferring energy from your lower body to the upper body, arms, club and eventually to the ball. So, if you want to hit the ball farther-keep reading!!
The good news is that you can find out if you have Glute Amnesia and start correcting all at the same time! How often do you get a diagnosis and treatment all at once? First, lay down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Take your right hand and put it on your right butt cheek and your left hand on your left butt cheek. Now, just try squeezing your right butt cheek all by itself and see if you can feel it. Make sure your right Hamstring isn’t trying to help out-it’s been taking over for your butt while it’s been away and it’s used to the overtime!! If you don’t feel anything, you definitely have G.A. (sorry-remember, it is rampant). If you don’t feel anything or if you only can squeeze a little, you have some work to do. This may take some time, but you have to practice this exercise every day. The longer it has been off, the harder it is to turn it back on. If you can squeeze your Butt, that’s great, you need to make it as strong as possible by practicing squeezing and holding it for 10 seconds at a time. Repeat the test on the left side. Practice switching back and forth and holding (about 10 times on each side). This is the best way to start getting your Glutes to work. From here you can practice sitting, standing and eventually in your golf posture. Don’t start this standing or in golf posture until you can do it lying down. Until your Butt forgets about its vacation (come on now-you know how hard it is to get back to work when you have been off), it is going to have a difficult time doing its job! Remember your mom telling you “practice makes perfect?” It definitely applies here. If you are doing exercises such as squats and lunges to strengthen your Butt and you can’t get it to work lying on the floor-IT IS NOT WORKING!! Yes, I am yelling at you. Stop doing squats and lunges and get your Butt working first. Your Butt does not have a laptop and is not on a working vacation. Remember your goals-reduce crankiness in the body and ultimately increase power!!
There are many exercises you can do to increase Glute strength after you get rid of the Amnesia. Consult a TPI Pro for an evaluation and exercise program with a progressive set of exercises to correct the problem the right way. If you happen to be out and about and you see someone squeezing their Butt while they are standing in line at the grocery store or perhaps on the range, shake their hand and know that you are in the company of someone who has taken his Butt into his own hands and left the ranks of those with Glute Amnesia to those “The Boss” back in the office. Get rid of crankiness, hit the ball farther, and enjoy your game!