Golf

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.






Unlocking Your Swing Installment 5: Fix Your Grip

The way you grip the golf club can dictate whether you're landing in the fairway or searching for your ball in the deep rough courtesy of a nasty slice.

This week, we'd like to discuss the quite often overlooked positioning of your hands at ball address. In the video below, Adam Kolloff, Director of Instruction at the Jim McLean Golf School at Liberty National, provides us with insight on proper grip as well as a quick drill to assess whether your positioning is correct or not.

While grip technique is going to help improve your performance on the greens, it's important to improve your wrist strength and mobility. You don't want to put a ton of work into lowering your handicap, just to have a bad divot or tree root injury your wrist at contact. To combat this, you should be implementing wrist Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) into you daily movement agenda. Wrist CARs can be performed anywhere, take no more than two minutes to complete numerous reps, and will help solidify any range of motion gains you will see over time. 

Want to learn more about how we prescribe mobility drills and the importance behind each one we use? Sign up for our newsletter and receive your complimentary Virtual Kinstretch Class. Fill out the form below to receive yours when released.

The Movements You Should Perform Everyday - Part II

Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs), as we know from last week's post, are staples in our daily routines. They train our joints throughout their full range of motion and help us feel better overtime. To piggy back that, I'd (Joe) like to tell a story about my own personal experience with CARs.

Last April, after completing one of my sessions, I felt an odd twinge in my lower back. I decided to do some stretching to try and alleviate my symptoms. However, this exacerbated the pain and made it worse than it previously was. I thought to myself "let's call it a day and see how it is later," and left.

Then something bad happened.

Each step I took my pain got progressively worse.  This continued until I was barely able to stand or bend forward. I was struggling, and needed help.

After deadling with this pain for a month, I took the Functional Range Release (FR) course, hosted by Dr. Andreo Spina. Through this course, I learned many valuable tools, including CARs. This revelation allowed me to create a daily routine for mobility training that compliments the physical activity that I do, whether it be training or sports.

After a few months of consistently doing CARs and training my mobility restrictions, I was finally pain-free. Along with this, I was also able to touch my toes effortlessly. As silly as that sounds, it's something I haven't been able to do consistently in years.

Now that I was feeling better, I slowly began lifting weights again. While continue my daily routine, I built my strength capacity to the point where I was able to deadlift 300-pounds again (the primary exercise that brought on my lower back pain).  

Now don't get me wrong, I still deal with the occasional flare-up and injury. However, they tend to happen in a predictable fashion with two main culprits being responsible. 

  • When I get lazy with my mobility work, the stiffness and pain I used to deal with likes to rear its ugly head.
  • When I push myself too hard in the gym past the appropriate dosage needed to achieve an adaptation.

These setbacks always reminds me that I need to train my mobility with more intent. Believe it or not, every time I get back on the wagon, my back always feels better.  

Moral of the story? Whether injured or not, it's in your best interest to train mobility seriously. Weight training is great, but it's not the only answer to feeling better. Our bodies are designed to move often. Your body will surely let you know if you've been abusing it for too long, trust me.

This week's video breaks down the second half of the daily CARs routine I practice. Check it out below!

Want to learn more about how we prescribe mobility drills and the importance behind each one we use? Sign up for our newsletter and receive your complimentary Virtual Kinstretch Class. Fill out the form below to receive yours when released.

Back Pain? Learn How to Use Your Hips Properly

You see it all the time on television with over-the-counter medication commercials. There's a middle-aged man on the golf course with his hands grabbing his lower back. The sport that all of us love is robbed from us by the back pain inflicted when we lack quality movement.

Lower back pain is the most common injury suffered by recreational golfers, according to the Mayo Clinic. On the current Injury Report by the PGA, 7 out of 20 professionals are sidelined due to back injury (4 of these injuries are undisclosed). In a sport that produces high amounts of torque on the upper and lower extremities as well as the spine, it's virtually impossible to prevent all lower back injuries. However, there are routes we could explore in order to improve our chances of avoiding injury.

When it comes to lower back injuries, we have to account for all the possible factors that could equate to injury. Poor swing mechanics, lack of adequate mobility, and poor lifestyle habits are three major problems present in most of the golfers we've come across to date.

As we've mentioned previously, we aren't swing coaches. We could however, improve the way a client moves and feels tremendously through proper movement and healthy behavioral changes. Today, we'd like to focus primarily on movement at the hips to help relieve any lower back issues you might be dealing with.

So, why are the hips typically the culprit? 

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research notes that poor hip mobility can alter lumbar spine kinematics. Basically, when the hips do not move well, the spine has to pick up the slack. This leads to tightness, decreased elasticity of joints and the muscles involved in moving these joints. Eventually, this combination leads to pain that we think will wear off through rest and pain medication. This isn't the case as we all know; any injury you've previously had is prone to rear its ugly head again in the future.

Hip and torso rotation are two of the most important characteristics required for a fluid and powerful golf swing. If your hips lack the necessary mobility and stability required to swing a club, other areas will have to make up for the lack of motion.  When there's less elasticity in your golf swing, that tight spine of yours will suffer from increased forces and angles that would be absorbed if you had the necessary mobility requirements.

We understand that this sounds negative, but there's hope to correcting these mobility restrictions. Below are two of our favorite drills that will improve your hip mobility for a pain-free golf game:

Active Straight Leg Raise

The active straight leg raise is a great mobility drill that mimics the hip hinge position.  Lack of mobility on either side can effect your ability to get into your optimal golf posture. Compensation at the hips can lead to excessive movement at the lower back, which we're trying to avoid. Proper dissociation of the hips from the spine will lead to better maintenance of golf posture, which will improve the overall dynamics of your swing.

Hip Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs)

We use Hip CARs with every single one of our clients that works with us. The only exception is for clients that deal with Femoralacetabular Impingement (A bony block that occurs at the hip joint), which is another topic for another day. We use CARs because they help teach you how to properly control the hip joint throughout its entire range of motion. The ranges that we don't properly control are typically the positions that we get injured in. Therefore, it's crucial to control as much of our joint's ranges of motion as much as possible.

Want to learn more about how we prescribe mobility drills and the importance behind each one we use? Sign up for our newsletter and receive your complimentary Virtual Kinstretch Class. Fill out the form below to receive yours this week.

Welcome to Par Four Performance!

Hey there, welcome to the Par Four Performance website!

We're excited to be up and running, and look forward to providing you with quality content that you'll be able to apply as soon as you finish reading our posts. Before we get this party started, we'd like to give you a brief background as to who we are and what you should expect from us going forward.

Over the past six months, many people have questioned what Par Four Performance is. We initially joked by telling people it was a t-shirt company; outside of our logo and domain, our first purchase as a brand was forty t-shirts.

With all jokes aside, the Par Four Performance mission and standards go way beyond a couple of nice threads you could wear on your back. We want you to understand that our number one priority is to help you improve the quality of your life via proper exercise technique. Both of us believe that practicing mobility and strength training with intent can help you reach most of your goals related to physical activity and health. 

As you could assume from the name Par Four Performance, the two of us have a passion for golf. Using Titleist Performance Institute fundamentals, we use our fitness and rehabilitation backgrounds to help you play golf recreationally at will while minimizing injury and setbacks.

It's important to understand that the two of us aren't here to improve your handicap, we aren't swing coaches. While we have aligned ourselves with some excellent swing coaches that will provide insight to this website and help improve your game, our primary goal is to provide you with the tools necessary to keep you on the course without the aid of anti-inflammatories and heating pads after a full 18. Pain shouldn't be the norm when engaging in the activities you love. We're going to show you how to change that.

For all of you non-golfers, we have your needs covered as well. Just because our passion is centered around golf, it doesn't mean that this website is not for you. While there will be a fair share of golf-specific training posted, we want you to know that all of the drills we provide you with are applicable to your everyday life. Exercises we use to create context in the golf swing are the same exercises that will help you pick your groceries up off the floor without tweaking your back. We consistently emphasize that if you are a living, breathing human being, you are an athlete. Whether you play a sport or not, our goal is to improve your movement capacity as much as possible.

So, what exactly should you expect from us?

Our blog will consist of weekly content breaking down exercise technique, warm-ups for the driving range and course, action steps towards creating healthy habits, and many other factors within the golf and fitness realm. Alongside our free content, we also provide online coaching as well as an exclusive Virtual Kinstretch group, that will provide you with weekly Kinstretch classes with complete explanations of each movement along with a weekly routine to be performed every single day. You can sign up below through our Newsletter to receive access to a complimentary Virtual Kinstretch class, which will be distributed this week:

While we have our content schedule mapped out, we would love to hear from you and see what you'd like to learn from us. Whether golf-related or not, feel free to ask us any questions you may have and we'll answer them to the best of our ability. Together, let's Drive Fitness Forward.

 

-Frank and Joe