Golf Drill To Improve Early Extension

Today’s post comes from a phenomenal swing coach out of NYC’s Golf and Body, Joe Ostrowski. As movement providers, Frank and I work on improving stability in the hinge position via improving mobility and strength. When your body has the movement potential to do what you ask of it, your golf swing can get better. But gym success doesn’t instantly equate to golf success. This is because you need to take your new found strength and mobility and learn to utilize it in your golf swing. This is where your swing coach comes into play helping you to break old habits, and create new ones that are specific to your golf swing.

  Image from meandmygolf.com

Image from meandmygolf.com

Early extension, or coming out of ideal posture on the downswing, is defined by TPI as any forward movement (thrust) toward the golf ball on the while closing in on impact.

This concept of early extension can create the feeling of being stuck in the downswing causing a block or hook if your hands become too active at impact. While teaching lessons, I come across many golfers that extend too early as a way to create power, but this leads to inconsistency, especially with contact which trumps everything in the golf swing.

Inconsistent contact is a result of early extension because our hips thrust towards the golf ball and pressure moves from the midfoot to the toes during the downswing. This movement makes it more difficult to rotate the lower body and create separation from the upper half at impact.

Golf ball contact is typically skewed towards the heel of the club when you extend early because there is no space for the hand path to work around the body. Another consequence of early extension is thrusting of the lower body, which pushes the hand path too far to the right of the intended target line if you are a right-handed golfer. The opposite applies to lefties.

Next time you’re watching YouTube videos of professional golfers swing, pay attention to their forward bend or posture in transition. After the golfer moves laterally to the target, you’ll see a slight increase in their torso bend, a squatting motion that likely is a result of good left hip internal rotation for a right-handed golfer. This movement also helps the golfer use the ground to create power and helps ground reaction forces peak at the optimal time in their swing.

The “wall drill” is a great way to feel some of the movements needed in the golf swing to eliminate some of that early extension in your movement. If you decide to use a club for this drill I’d suggest gripping down on a wedge to the shaft and swinging at 25%. You could do some damage to your walls if you have an inside and quick takeaway.

Technique

  1. Set up with your hips slightly off a wall, no more than a couple inches.

  2. Turn into your backswing feeling your trail hip make contact with the wall.

  3. At the top of your swing, you will start to slide the trail hip along the wall until your front hip is over your front foot.

  4. From here squat and turn your lower body until your front hip makes contact with the wall. This movement helps you maintain posture in a key point of your golf swing.

  5. After impact, fully extend your upper body into a finish position, all weight should be on the front foot and your foot should be firmly planted on the ground.

  6. Repeat this drill multiple times daily to help ingrain the movement into your full swing.

I hope this drill helps you hit the ball further while creating more consistent contact with the face. If you have any questions, follow me on Instagram @jfogolf and send me a message. I’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot any technical breakdowns you might be dealing with!

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Joe Ostrowski is the Director of Golf at Golf & Body NYC and a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher in America.

No Gym Membership? No Problem. Here's the Equipment You Should Own

As a preface to this post, we’d just like to say that we have zero affiliations with any of these products listed below. We strongly believe that everything we’ve laid out is simply a tool you should have access to at home in order to elicit optimal training and recovery results.

We get asked all the time by individuals that don’t train at our gym/clinic what they should do if they don’t have a gym membership. Without access to a local gym, it can be challenging for people to stay consistent, build strength, and see long-lasting results. While nothing will beat a well-equipped gym and awesome training environment, you can still train hard and see progress with minimal equipment at home.

With the holidays right around the corner, here are some of the products both of us believe you should invest in for yourself or a loved one.

Kettlebells
We love kettlebells, plain and simple. They’re a staple we use within all of our programming as long as our clients have access to them. While kettlebells are great for strength and power development in all three planes of motion, which we’ve covered in previous blog posts, they’re also an excellent tool to implement with beginners.

Deadlifting, squatting, lunging, carrying, rowing, and pressing variations are all drills we can use kettlebells for. As we improve on these basic movements, we can progress them into my ballistic drills like swings, cleans, and snatches to increase power output or improvements in metabolic conditioning. As you can see, kettlebells can be used to improve numerous trainable characteristics.

Personally, our favorite brand for kettlebells is Rogue Fitness. They’re extremely durable, have a great grip, and are more affordable versus other brands on the market. If you’re shopping for kettlebells, this is definitely our go-to option!

TRX Suspension Trainer

Like kettlebells, the TRX Suspension Trainer is versatile in regards to eliciting a positive training response. There’s tons of exercises you can do to develop strength with the TRX. It’s also a great tool for creating better movement awareness because you can do a bunch of tempo-based training with it (slow controlled movement under tension). The TRX is typically thought of primarily as a tool for inverted rows, but you can train any joint of the body using it.

Mini Bands and Super Bands
We’re a big fan of using bands for clients to provided external resistance or assistance for exercises used in both the performance and therapy realms. A few movements that come to mind are pull-ups, clam shells, and lateral band walks.

While bands won’t be as effective as developing strength as kettlebells, they’re a good tool to have around because of how portable they are. Going on vacation? Heading to the driving range or course? Traveling for work? In all of these scenarios, you can pack your mini bands with you without issue and execute mobility drills or full-body workouts with a little creativity.

We’ve been using Perform Better’s mini bands for almost a decade now and have had great success with them. In regards to super bands, there’s a handful of different brands that come to mind that produce durable bands that will hold up for a long time - Perform Better, Rogue, and Elite FTS are the first that come to mind.

Jump Rope

Nothing fancy here, but a jump rope is something we recommend all of our clients own. We love the jump rope far beyond the aerobic training qualities it provides you.

We incorporate jumping rope into our programming for folks to understand how to absorb force and land softly while jumping. The repetitive motion teaches people how to accept force through their feet and hips in a controlled environment. For individuals coming off foot, ankle, knee, and hip issues, we implement jumping in appropriate doses when the time is right. We believe this is one of the most efficient ways to build better awareness and work capacity for the joints of the lower limbs.

For beginners, any jump rope will do you justice. We recommend that you start in short bouts if you’re somebody new to the jump rope - 30 seconds to a minute will do you justice to start. As you improve and can go for longer periods of time, take note of the speed of your jumps as well. When you progress to a certain point, investing in a speed rope would be a wise investment to take your craft to the next level. Rogue’s speed rope is our favorite and there are a bunch to pick from.

Self-Massage Tools

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While foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and other self-massage tools might not be doing much in regards to creating tissue adaptations, they’re still a feel-good modality we’ll use with clients prior to sessions. This window of increased range of motion is temporary, but we like to use it to use mobility drills from Functional Range Conditioning concepts to load the joints to try and make this range of motion stick over time.

For foam rollers, we like the TriggerPoint Grid because of its stiffness. We’ll also use the Grid with some of our mobility training to serve as an external “block” to create awareness for our joints. The Grid to us is multi-functional and is a great option because it’s portable as well due to its size.

Another great tool we like is the Gideon Neck & Shoulder Self-Massage Tool. This is something Frank stumbled upon recently and loves to use after long car rides or periods of time sitting at a desk typing. If you’re somebody that does a lot of work in a sedentary position or suffers from chronic neck tension, this is a great investment.

In regards to lacrosse balls, all of them will work. If you don’t have access to a lacrosse ball, baseballs and softballs are other good options to work with to pinpoint certain areas that tend to get tense. If these balls are too intense for you to start with, resort to something softer like a tennis ball.

Like we mentioned, these are only five of the tools we use amongst clients. Medicine balls, barbells, dumbbells, trap bars, and benches are some other pieces of equipment we use, but it goes even further than that! We aren’t expecting you to outfit the best gym possible within your house. Instead, use this as a guide to figure out what you should have at your fingertips at any time to see the results you’re expecting.

Whether it’s strength- or mobility-based, everything listed above can help you achieve your desired goals. At the end of the day, your body is the best piece of equipment you have. If you’re looking for a structured plan of attack to combat your goals, we can help. Drop us a message below and let’s get you working towards getting in shape for the 2019 golf season or that deep squat you never thought you’d be able to do. Together, let’s Drive Fitness Forward!

The Par Four Pillars Of A Golf Training Program

If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re an avid golfer. As much as we like to get on the course, are you putting enough stock into performance training in a gym setting?  There are numerous aspects of performance training, which will help your golf game tremendously.

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At Par Four Performance, we have created the Par Four Pillars of a Golf Training Program (clever, right?). These, in our opinion, are the core components that should be added to any training plan to maximize your golfing capabilities.  

They include:

  1. Mobility

  2. Stability

  3. Strength

  4. Energy System Development

MOBILITY

This is an area of training that everybody reading could improve on. Golfers need to have control of their movement, and that is what we are talking about here. If you believe putting your leg on a bench and touching your toes is improving your mobility, we need to re-evaluate what mobility truly means.

Using gravity to assist you into a stretch is considered a passive stretch, and focuses on improving your flexibility.  Flexibility is a component of mobility, but they are not the same thing.  

The ability to actively move your body into the positions you need to get into is the true definition of mobility. As we mentioned above, flexibility is gravity-assisted, while mobility is gravity-resisted. This means that you’re trying to fight gravity to get from point A to point B by using voluntary muscular contractions.

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An analogy we like to use is thinking of flexibility like a glass, and mobility like water used to fill that glass. The more flexibility you have, the bigger the glass is. Without something to drink, however, that glass is useless. As you gain more active control over your flexibility, it is like adding more water into the cup. Our goal is to have the biggest cup filled with as much water possible.

To paint a picture for you, if you can’t actively achieve 90-degrees of shoulder external rotation (ER), you will have a hard time getting your club into an ideal slot during the backswing. Even if you have 110-degrees of passive shoulder ER, if you only have active control of 70-degrees, you will fall short every time making your swing inconsistent while increasing your risk of injury. We should be aiming to close the threshold between your passive and active ranges of motion.

STABILITY

Stability is also a component of mobility because you need control to get into desired positions for golf and other sports. For us, stability training focuses primarily on training your body to prevent unwanted movements.

Training the feet, hips, spine, and shoulders to create stability becomes important to allow our body better control of movement. This enables us to create more force, allowing for improved body mechanics and distance on your shots.

If we use the shoulder as an example again, poor scapular stability can prevent your arms from getting where we need them during our golf swing. This again will create an inconsistency with your swing.

STRENGTH

We may come off as the mobility guys, but strength is what we love most.  Strength and mobility go hand-in-hand. Without one or the other, good luck owning your movement capacities or your golf swing.

Having good strength levels offers a multitude of benefits. Strength helps us produce more force, which is always good for adding more yardage from the tee box. It also helps us better absorb and distribute forces throughout our joints, which helps keep us resilient on the course allowing us to play pain-free rounds.

ENERGY SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

This is another overlooked concept of almost every fitness program, especially in the golf world.  We can consider golf a very powerful, dynamic sport living in the anaerobic world.

Our anaerobic system is one of the body’s energy systems that doesn’t require oxygen to create energy.  It allows for short burst movements roughly ten seconds in length, which the duration of the golf swing fits within.

On the other end of the energy system spectrum is the aerobic system, where oxygen is required to create energy.  Activities that fit into this would be anything that lasts over 3 minutes to complete. Think of going out for a run.  

In order to have success through a full round of golf without becoming tired and inconsistent through the back 9, you need to have a healthy blend of these two energy systems. This is where proper energy system development can not only improve your fitness but your golf game as well.

These four pillars create the context for every performance-based program we develop. Training becomes an important component that helps us improve the way we move and feel on and off the course, as well as allow us to maintain our body’s health.  

If you want to learn more about how training can help you, check out the Par Four Performance Remote Training Programs here.






Don't Forget the Neck when Improving Spine Rotation

When it comes to the golf swing, we all know how important thoracic spine (T-Spine) rotation is for both performance and injury prevention. When it comes to the entire upper body, however, there’s another joint that is often overlooked can limit your ability to swing the golf club.

As surprising as it may sound, your neck can be the limiting factor to your swing. You might be thinking, “my head doesn’t move when I swing the club, I’m staring at the ball the entire time.”

As we rotate our spine in one direction, we move into cervical spine (C-Spine) rotation in the opposite direction.  Let’s use a right-handed golfer as an example.

As a golfer rotates into his backswing, he creates T-Spine rotation to the right.  Since the head remains still, looking at the ball, our neck is rotated towards the left at the top of the backswing.  If cervical rotation is restricted actively, this can be detrimental to the amount in which you can rotate your T-Spine, potentially throwing off your swing.

Here is the average player’s cervical spine mobility utilized during their golf swing on the PGA TOUR.  These numbers were taken directly from the TPI Medical 2 Certification.

  • 73 degrees of left-sided rotation

  • 64 degrees of right-sided rotation

  • 47 degrees of flexion

  • 25 degrees of both left and right side bending

Here’s a simple screen from the Titleist Performance Institute to test if you have ample cervical spine mobility for the golf swing:

After performing the screen on yourself, these are some of the factors you want to keep in mind to determine whether you have adequate range of motion or not:

  • Normal range is the ability to touch your chin to mid-collarbone on both sides without pain.

  • While performing the test, make sure your mouth remains closed at all times.  Opening your mouth to get your chin to touch your chest is considered a compensation.

  • Pain is abnormal and should be addressed if present.

Let’s take a recent example from Joe Gambino, one of the co-founders of Par Four Performance, to better understand this lesson.

Joe has a history of neck stiffness and limited mobility throughout his cervical spine. In the past, he hasn’t had the opportunity to hit as many golf balls as he’d like, but the volume of swings has increased over the past six months.  

As he continued to play, Joe started to develop neck pain when moving into right cervical rotation and flexion, which are two movements required in the downswing.

Roughly two weeks ago, his neck pain continued to amplify with each swing he took. The pain has been lingering since and he’s just starting to feel better. Joe hasn’t been able to hit balls in the meantime, and is probably going to be sidelines for another week or two.

The moral of this story is - don’t be like Joe. We hope he’s learned his lesson, and is listening to his body to make sure his neck doesn’t flare up again in the future. Address your limitations now, so you can stay on the course and not miss time due to injury.

Now, how should you train the neck intelligently? The exercises listed below are a great starting point to help you address and neck limitations you might be dealing with.

Shoulder Engaged Neck CARs

Chin Tucks

Sphinx with Cervical Rotation

Band Pull Aparts

Want to learn how to better assess yourself, and decrease the likelihood of injury through mobility training?  Fill out the form below to learn more about our Virtual Kinstretch Classes or Online Training Program.








Building a Better Warm-Up for Success

Whether you’re preparing for 18 or a heavy lower body day in the weight room, the way you warm-up can dictate how the rest of your session unfolds. If you’re somebody that performs a stretch or two before taking some hacks on the driving range, or goes for a 5-minute run on the treadmill before squatting, you’re missing out on the important qualities a good warm-up can provide you.

Below, we’ve laid out four principles that are considered in every single warm-up prescribed through our programming. While the exercises used may change depending on the individual, these four rocks are always covered to ensure an optimal warm-up.

Elevate Core Temperature and Heart Rate
When it comes to preparing a warm-up series, our goal is to prime the body for the demands that it will be asked during a training session or competitive event. It’s never a good idea to hop into a demanding physical activity without some type of preparation.

In our case, we’ll prescribe 8 to 10 drills that will start with low-level movements and gradually progress to high-intensity motions. This is typically initiated with a couple of ground-based drills, followed by Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) for joints that will be used during the session, and capped off with more dynamic, multi-joint movements.

Regardless of your physical endeavors, it’s not ideal to jump into it ice cold. Move around, allow your joints to provide more degrees of freedom and good things will happen.

Address Movement Deficiencies to Improve Range of Motion
Our assessment process provides us with a ton of information in regards to the physical capabilities of each client we work with. It allows us to determine their strengths and weaknesses with movement, while giving us a strong foundation for how to attack their deficiencies.

We always look at the flexibility and mobility of individuals at each joint to determine the appropriate exercise selection for them. If you don’t understand the difference between flexibility and mobility, check out last week’s post.

The limitations we see through our evaluations allow us to create daily routines that fit the mobility goals of each person we work with individually. If you’re somebody that struggles with hip flexion, for example, we’re going to hammer movements that improve hip flexion consistently until it improves.

Your warm-up should challenge you, but also improve the motions you should excel in based on the demands of your activities.

Provide Movement in all Three Planes of Motion
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, the body moves through three planes of motion - sagittal (linear), frontal (lateral), and transverse (rotational). The video below provides a better understanding of each plane of motion.

It’s important to train all three planes of motion because your joints are exposed to all three on a daily basis. This triplanar nature of each joint within your body requires consistent stimulation every single day in order to maintain ranges of motion down the road. This is another reason why regular CARs practice is something we preach to everybody we work with.

Create Context for Movements that will be Performed after the Warm-Up
Your training session should be composed of different squatting, hinging, pushing, pulling, and carrying movements. Pushes and pulls are upper body movements, squatting and hinging are lower body movements, and loaded carries should be performed every single training session. Your training should dictate what your warm-up looks like.

On a day where you’re squatting, it’s ideal to execute drills that will address the hips, ankles, and spine, which are the primary joints that require adequate range of motion to squat pain-free. On a day where you’re deadlifiting, hip hinging within your warm-up is a good idea. If you’re golfing, incorporate some type of low-level rotational movements prior to your round to feel looser once you step into the first tee box.

With all of these factors in mind, this is an example of what a Par Four Performance warm-up might look like.

Regardless of the approach you take, the four big rocks above will better prepare you for your sessions that anything else. If you take them into consideration the next time you plan on hitting a heavy deadlift or the range, you’ll move and feel great going in every time.

Looking to get more specific with your warm-ups and training? Check out this link to learn more or drop us a line below to get started today!

Do You Really Know What Mobility Is?

The terminology used within the fitness industry can be quite confusing for anyone that isn’t a personal trainer, strength coach, or physical therapist. Words like mobility, stability, and power are thrown around often without a firm definition that coincides. This can make it difficult when trying to weed through the copious amounts of information out there.

Here are some commonly used terms with their definitions, which will help you understand how they differentiate from one another:

Flexibility is defined as the ability of muscles or muscle groups to lengthen passively. An easy way to picture this is to imagine somebody lifting one of your legs to stretch your hamstrings. The person is adding an external resistance to your body that is aiding you into the stretch.

Mobility is the ability of a joint to move through a range of motion.  When comparing this with flexibility, this is the ability of the neuromuscular system moving the joint from point A to point B without any external assistance.

Strength is most often described as the maximum amount of force you can exert against an external force. On the Titleist Performance Institute, strength is described as the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure.

We all want to develop strength, but how do we know if the work we’re doing in the gym actually is actually carrying over to the golf course? Like golf, our body is subjected to varying amounts of internal and external forces throughout everyday life. The ability to control our body and withstand these forces are essential for joint health and longevity with any physical activities you pursue.

Strength is important when discussing the differences between mobility and flexibility? Why? Mobility and strength go hand-in-hand, and we firmly believe you can’t have one without the other.

Not sold on this concept yet? Here’s a study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

The study compared the results of a 16-week long flexibility and strength training program. The participants trained 3 times weekly, and they tested to see what the impact was on flexibility in women. It was concluded that both the strength and flexibility programs were responsible for improving overall flexibility.

If strength training can help us maintain or improve our flexibility levels, it indicates that mobility is more than passively moving a joint through space. Mobility is a complex training characteristic that is determined not just by our flexibility, but our ability to create stability as well.

Take a look at this strength curve, which shows you the amount of force that can be exerted along the range of motion continuum of a joint.

The graph depicts a phenomenon that happens at every joint in the body. On the far left of the chart, you can see the force capabilities of a joint in it’s fully lengthened position. Notice how the joint significantly weaker than a joint positioned in it’s middle of the range.  

The far right portion of this chart shows the strength of a shortened range of motion joint. Again, you’ll realize how the joint is weaker at a shorter range than it is at mid-range.

This is important because to understand our bodies are most vulnerable to injury near end ranges of motion. This is where training end-ranges of joints will allow us to build both strength and mobility over time.

By strengthening and better controlling our outer ranges of motion, we can make the above bell curve longer. A longer bell curve means that we have access to more range of motion we can control. More controllable range of motion equates to more resilient joints and a decreased likelihood of injury.

How can we improve our personal bell curves? Simple. It all comes down to force application.

If a force acting on the body is greater than the forces the body can produce, injury will occur. If you were hit by a truck, the forces acting on the body would be much higher than the muscles, ligaments, and bones can handle, which is why we tend to see broken bones with this type of injury.

If a force acting on the body is less than or equal to what the body can produce, tissue damage will not occur. A prime example of this would be rolling your ankle playing basketball, but not severe enough where pain and swelling are present afterwards. The forces acting on the joint were not high enough to cause injury, but if it were higher than the tissues capacity, you would have sprained your ankle.

To conclude, if we strengthen end-ranges of motion and increase force production in these ranges, our body will be able to absorb forces in these end-ranges where most individuals are prone to injury due to lack of training experience.

This is what we preach to all of our Online Coaching clients and Virutal Kinstretch members. Our mission is to mitigate injury as much as we possibly can with everybody that works with us. You can’t prevent all injury, it’s impossible to prepare your body for every scenario where injury is possible. However, by consistently training joints in controlled positions where they’re prone to injury in a dynamic environment, we’re improving the likelihood of avoiding injury.

Interested in learning more? Try our Kinstretch classes for just $0.99 for your first two weeks and start changing the way you move today!

Have questions? Drop a line below and we’ll be happy to reach out to you!





How Fitness Can Improve Your Yardage

With every consultation we perform, there’s one thing all golfers want as a result of their training: improved driving distance from the tee box. Longer shots are attractive, there’s no doubt about that. Longer shots lead to shorter lies, which hopefully lead to better scores. 

Most recreational golfers think that training is just to improve overall health. While this is true, you can see dramatic improvements in your performance if you take the right approach to your time in the gym.

If we want to drive the ball further, we need to figure out what might be limiting your distance. Without addressing swing mechanics, here are two factors that might be preventing the extra yardage you’re looking for.

You’re Not Strong Enough

Strength is one of the key foundations to hitting a golf ball longer. If you’re not strong, there’s a good chance you aren’t hitting 300-yard drives down the fairway. Being able to produce force throughout the entire kinetic chain is the determining factor whether or not your yardage improves or not.

Now, you don’t have to be a 600-pound deadlifter to be a good golfer. At some point, there’s a threshold of maximal strength that will carry over into your ability to exert force in the swing. This is why you’ll never see an elite-level powerlifter smoke a ball off the tee.

You’re Not Powerful Enough

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “what’s the difference between being strong and being powerful?”

The words strength and power aren’t synonymous, believe it or not. Strength, in a weight room setting, is your ability to move a certain amount of weight with an exercise. Power is how fast you're able to move the weight at hand. To keep it simple, power is determined by how quickly you can move an external resistance. If you train movements slowly, you can’t expect improvements in velocity with any athletic endeavor.

To take this a step further, you also have to understand that power is plane-specific. There are three planes of movement: sagittal (linear), frontal (lateral), and transverse (rotational). The golf swing occurs in the transverse plane, which means we have to train transverse-focused movements to see carryover.

While sprints, jumps, and Olympic lifts, are great for power development, they’re not necessarily going to improve your golf swing. Similar to the powerlifter comparison before, an Olympic sprinter’s power output isn’t going to translate into a rotational movement. Rotational movements at high velocities will be your best bet if you’re looking for a more powerful swing.

It’s important to be strong and powerful in all three planes of motion, regardless of what sports you play. We don’t suggest you just focus on one plane while neglecting the other two. A healthy balance of all three will help improve your general physical preparation, while just a handful of sport-specific drills will be the icing on the cake for the skill you're trying to improve.

Here’s what a training session might look like for one of our golfers:

A1.) Rotational Medicine Ball Scoop Toss 3x5/side
A2.) Honest Hip CARs 3x3/side

B1.) Trap Bar Deadlift 4x5
B2.) Yoga Push-Up 3x8
B3.) Plank w/ Arm March 3x6/side

C1.) KB Goblet Lateral Lunge 3x8/side
C2.) Wide-Stance Anti-Rotation Cable Chop 3x8/side
C3.) DB 3-Point Row 3x8/side

D1.) DB Farmers Walk 3x40 yards
D2.) Prone Shoulder End-Range Lift-Offs 3x(3x10 seconds)/side

Here's another example of a superset we use regularly with great success.

You’ll notice that the above program has a variety of different movements. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t just focus on rotational movements with our training. Our mission is to get stronger with fundamental movements that coincide with our rotational work. The stronger our movement foundation is, the more opportunities we have to improve power output with our medicine ball training and golf swing.

Interested in taking your golf fitness to the next level? Leave us a message below to get involved with our online coaching program!

Why Every Golfer Needs Better Mobility

When we look at the joint by joint approach to movement, we see that our body alternates between joints that need more stability and mobility. Mobility and stability are necessary for all joints, but certain joint articulations will be more stability-focused, while others are mobility-focused.

  Joint by Joint Approach by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook

Joint by Joint Approach by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook

By understanding the joint by joint approach, we’re better able to train our body to maintain optimal function with whatever physical activities we partake in. Think of each joint segment as members of a football team. If the hips are tight and don’t do their job well, a surrounding joint will have to pick up the slack and of the limited joint. Similar to a player on a football team that is working too hard, fatigue kicks in faster and there’s a higher risk of injury as the game goes on.

This is an everyday example of the middle age golfer with tight hips that tries to play pain-free golf on the weekends. The lower back or knees have to work overcome the lack of hip motion to swing a golf club, carry groceries, or any other type of physical exertion. The end result over time? Pain.

Golf is a game of high repetition and high force that’s executed within the same plane of motion with each and every swing. We ask our bodies to rotate at high velocities hundreds of times in an attempt to drive a little white ball as far as we can.

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When our mobility becomes restricted, we ask our body to work harder to do this.  Lack of shoulder, hip, or ankle mobility can all cause increased forces to act on the spine, increasing your risk of injury.

Now, this might not have high implications on tomorrow’s round of golf. When we talk about taking hundreds of swings over the course of the next decade, however, these implications can be detrimental to your daily quality of life. The injury statistics are staggeringly high to backup this point.  8 out of 10 people (not specific to golfers) will suffer a bout of low back pain at some point in their lives. With low back pain being the most prevalent injury in golf, something has to change.

By creating and learning how to control those motions, we can inherently improve our joint health and make our bodies more resilient to the forces we place on it. This can be done through various mobility drills, good massage therapy, and strength training through full ranges of motion. It’s not difficult to improve the way you move, it just takes consistency.

Not sure where to start? Sign up for our newsletter below so you can learn tips and tricks for staying on the course later in life!