Golf Training

Understanding Pain

Pain can be frustrating, debilitating, and negatively impacts our way of life. On top of this, it also starts to alter our mental stability and can lead to stress and other unwarranted emotions.

“Why do I have pain?”
“Did I do damage?”
“When can I play golf again?
“Why does it hurt after ________.”

This helplessness feeling you’re dealing with is due to the fact that you don’t understand what pain is, how it occurs, or ways to deal with it.

What Is Injury?

An injury is simple to define - when the load placed on the body exceeds the load it can absorb. When the accumulation of stress acting on the body (physical, emotional, social, mental, etc…) are greater than what your body perceives it can handle, pain occurs.

We can further think of pain as the body’s alarm system.

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With excessive stress, pain is the response mechanism used to alter our behavior. If we continue to add stress to the system, our alarm system becomes more sensitive and is set off more easily.

This is why pain typically starts off as an episode of “stiffness” or “tightness” after a round of golf. Over the course of time, this once minor bout can lead to full-fledged pain that prevents you from playing. If you never make the changes your body requests, stress will continue to accumulate and your alarm system becomes even more sensitive.

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It’s also important to understand that pain does directly correlate with structural damage.  

There are numerous research studies that have been conducted through medical imaging of healthy spines, shoulders, hips, and knees. The conclusion? They’ve found that a large percentage of these people have structural damage, whether it be labral tears, meniscus tears, herniated discs, etc.. So if there are scenarios where people present with structural damage, how come they present as asymptomatic when it comes to pain?

How Do We Get Out Of Pain?

An analogy we like to use in regards to looking at strength and tissue tolerance is by using a cup to represent our current capacities. The size of your cup determines how much stress your body can currently handle. The bigger your cup is in size, the more liquid can fill the cup. In this scenario, let’s imagine stress was the liquid being poured into the cup. Once the liquid poured into the cup exceeds the cup’s capacity, pain is the response.

With this analogy, there are two options we can choose in regards to improving tissue tolerance and mitigating the chances of pain.

The first option we can address is increasing the overall size of the cup. We can do this by gradually improving strength while increasing our range of motion capabilities.

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The second is to decrease the amount of stress acting on the body. This can come through numerous avenues including, but not limited to:

  • modifying your golf swing

  • playing fewer rounds

  • developing a recovery and prehabilitation routine

  • decreasing stressful factors in other areas of your everyday life

To conclude, pain is nothing more than the opinion of your body in its perceived current state. If you’re still not sold on this idea, check out this video on how your beliefs can actually exacerbate pain.

At this point, you probably want us to tell you how to get out of pain. The honest truth, however, is that there is no one-size-fits-all model with mitigating pain levels. The mission of this blog post is to simply help you better understand what pain is and that you shouldn’t fear it. There’s always a way to decrease pain levels and even eliminate it altogether with the proper approach.

If you’re currently suffering from chronic pain, you should seek out a credible physical therapist, or other medical provider that understands movement. Please don’t wait until it becomes debilitating. Pain should be addressed at first sign so you can build a bigger cup and correct any movement limitations. A combination of these two action steps will allow you to decrease stress levels and absorb any present stressors without consequences. This strategy will you spend less time in a physical therapy clinic, and more time on the golf course!

Interested in working with us and taking your performance to the next level? Fill out the form below to get started today!

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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!


 

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