Tag Archives: Fitness

Why do you need to be strong anyway?

Considering the name of this blog, and the length of time I’ve been running it, it is pretty shocking to admit I’ve never actually addressed this question before now, I’ve made mention to reasons to be strong in almost every article but never actually fully answered this question, all in one place, in a (hopefully) succinct and useful manner, so this is my intention right here right now. And as it’s taken so long I guess I had better be good!

At first glance golf doesn’t seem to a sport that requires much in the way of strength. The club is a light implement and a highly co-ordinated movement in which flexibility and speed are clearly required to execute effectively. That may be the case but strength is vital to all of those physical qualities. Indeed, research has shown strength training to:

  • Reduce injury risk in golfers
  • Increase Club-head speed by 7-10 percent, or the equivalent of 10-15 yards, without any ill-effects on accuracy.
  • Increased strength and flexibility allows golfers to adopt more optimal swing mechanics
  • Improve muscular strength and muscular endurance, which has a positive impact on golf swing consistency during an 8-hour, 36-hole round of competitive golf.
  • Improve shot dispersion stats
  • Increase greens in regulation hit as a result of being closer to the hole after drive
  • Improve putting distance control
  • Lower scores
  • Strength training in lengthened position has even been shown to increase muscle length more effectively than static stretching

The strength-speed continuum

If you’re a golfer you’ve probably swung a 400 gram club your entire life, and have therefore got pretty good at swinging light objects at near maximal velocity. In other words, you are able to put the force you have into the golf ball reasonably quickly, but you don’t have much force in absolute context to put into the ball. This explains why research has shown time and time again that strength training improves club head velocity (there are still some that claim that weight training is bad for golfers and to them I will add this caveat; bad weight training is bad for anybody, good weight training can certainly help).

The speed strength continuum, then, goes from absolute speed on the left to absolute strength on the right.

AbsoluteSpeed

Somewhere in the middle lies a sweet spot between general force production abilities and the abilities specific for your sport, this will obviously vary from sport to sport with a power lifter needing more absolute strength and a golfer needing to be slightly towards the speed/ speed-strength end of things.

We have the average golfer on the far left side of this continuum from years of swinging a light club at near maximal velocity and we need to bring you towards the right side, because absolute strength is the basis for a lot of things, not just power output but also stability.

Once we’ve developed some strength and brought guys towards the absolute strength end, we can begin to work exercises that work on that ideal middle area with a little more specificity to golf. This is where med-ball throws, weighted jumps, kettlebell swings, etc come in. There is fairly obviously a consideration for individual needs here too, the classic big strong guy for example might need to be moved towards the speed end of this continuum and we would focus our efforts on speed and speed-strength work rather than strength work. There may even a place for expanding the continuum further and incorporating overspeed (underload) training in or supramaximal loading with some individuals. That said, the vast majority of golfers start way towards the speed end and moving them towards the strength end represents the largest and most easily improved window of adaptation.

Reduce injury risk

Right handed golfers typically display adducted or internally rotated right hips, low right shoulders, left thoracic rotation and rib flare (see picture below??)

To a certain extent many of these are sporting adaptations that help to perform the task of swinging a club, however they are also imbalances that left unchecked can lead to injury. As Eric Cressey said recently:

“Specificity works great until you’re so specific that you wind up injured and have forgotten how to do everything else”

A well designed strength training programs will include rotational drills on the opposite side, and you take you through various ranges of motion in various stances so as to round you out as an athlete and counteract the effect of the golf swing to reinforce these imbalances. As noted physical therapist James Porterfield says, a well designed strength training program, working within the individuals current movement capabilities will do wonders to prevent and rehab injury.

Strength is also the basis of stability – a lot of injuries issues are brought about when flexibility/ mobility are greater than your ability to stabilise in the end range position – indeed I’ve often said from an injury prevention point of view I’d rather have an athlete that is tight but stable than a hyper mobile athlete with no stability, as that person is typically spending a lot of time on the physio table!

A good example of this is the lower back, we know that repeated extension and rotation isn’t necessarily the best thing for our spines, hence why a huge percentage of  golfers suffer low back pain. Good core and glute strength provides more spinal stability and helps us to achieve better spinal positioning as we rotate, taking some of the pressure of the lower back.

Increased body awareness and movement context

As the world renowned golf biomechanist Mark Bull once put it to me,

“The biggest advantage of S&C as I see it is movement context”

The golf swing is a highly complex, co-ordinated movement requiring precise timing of movements of pretty much every muscle in the body. You need, therefore, a good understanding of where your body is in space to execute it effectively.

Strength training is a great educational tool to develop awareness of how your body is moving and how to control it. Further, external load has a seemingly magical property to make a movement pattern ‘stick’ and become engrained in our memory.

Take the hip hinge for example, in a good hip hinge the muscles responsible for thoracic extension must be activated to prevent c-posture. The core musculature must do the same to keep the lumbar spine from extending as we rotate, putting the back in a compromised position. Pushing the butt back loads the powerful muscles of the hip that create so much of the speed in the golf swing. Good golf posture requires the ability to bend from the hips whilst maintaining the neutral pelvic tilt and spinal alignment essential for efficient rotation. In short a good hip hinge teaches us many of the skills we need to get into and maintain a good golf posture, come to think of it many of the cues we use in the gym to teach the hinge, such as screwing the feet into the ground, pushing the butt back and bracing your core will drastically improve you golf posture.

stronger-golf-hip-hinge

Not only that but the more movement variability we have, the broader the foundation we build. The wider the base, the more we can stack specific skills on top of it. An athlete who is solely engaging in golf like movements and oftentimes cannot or has lost the ability to perform basic movement patterns, they therefore have also lost those wide foundations to build their sports specific skill upon.

The golfer who establishes wider context has a wider array of movement perspective and greater kinaesthetic awareness, they are therefore more likely to quickly grasp new coaching cues or swing changes. In short, they are more coachable. This is also my major argument against early sports specialisation for kids.

Hopefully this post has given you more of the why behind getting strong for golf, the rest of this blog is littered with articles on the how so please take a look around, then go pick up heavy things!

Why golfers still need the bench press

Today’s post is a guest post from Bobby Dattero. Bobby is Co-Owner and Sports Performance Coach at Evolution Sports Performance in Easton, MA, USA. He holds a Master’s degree in strength and conditioning, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and TPI certified. You can catch more of him at his blog or on twitter.

The fitness industry is often guilty of very all or nothing thinking, this leads to different people in the industry often stating seemingly completely contradictory or opposing things, this I’m sure can be really confusing and a little disconcerting.

But why does this happen?

Training is not black and white. As Dan John is a fan of saying “everything works until it doesn’t”. There is no such thing as a bad exercise only a bad fit for that particular person at that particular time.

Training for golf is no different. You can get conflicting opinions on methods or programs. Some of this also stems from controversial headlines used to grab a reader’s attention (which hopefully this did).

Unfortunately, this is the way things go. It is much easier to write an article that asks you to “throw out your bench press” than it is to say that “all upper body exercises are pretty much OK to do unless you have an individual reason not to.” There is nothing that’s going to grab your attention with that second example.

This is why it is essential to look at the whole picture and when designing fitness programs and making choices regarding exercise selection.

So, let’s get to that old staple of the weight room,  the bench press. There are a few reasons why someone might not want to bench press.

  1. If you have a shoulder injury bench pressing may be painful. Never train in pain
  2. The scapulae are not allowed to move freely in the bench press so it’s “bad”
  3. The exercise is often loaded too heavy which results in missed reps and a lack of progress
  4. Stability is created by the bench and not the user
  5. Some gyms are small and cannot fit racks and bench presses in them

With the exception of point 1, I don’t buy into these reasons. If someone has a physical reason why the bench press is not a good fit for them, I have no problem eliminating it from their program.

A combination of points 2 to 4 is oftentimes rephrased with regards golf fitness as “golf is played on our feet so we should train on our feet, its functional.” This is has lead to exercises like the cable press gaining huge popularity amongst golfers. Now, someone can work their pushing strength while on their feet.

The body needs a variety of stimuli to adapt and develop all the facets of fitness required to play the game of golf. The bench press can be one of the best means to build upper body strength and, well, the cable press isn’t perfect either.

“When appropriately programmed and loaded the bench press is one of the best exercises for developing upper body strength”

The Bench Press can be Progressively Overloaded

Progressive overload is a term used to mean that over time we must continually add stress to the body in order to adapt to training. If the training load never increases then progress will cease. Training load includes sets, reps, and weight.

The bench press’s best advantage is that it can be loaded extremely well. We get to use both hands to push against the bar and the bench provides support for us. It basically isolates pushing.

A cable press is limited by stability. You can only load the cable press as much as you can avoid being pulled back by it. This makes progressive overload a challenge.

Take myself for example. I weigh 68kg/150lbs. It is really hard for me to hold the cable resistance in place without getting controlled by the machine. The press is not as hard as getting in position for the movement. A standard bench press is only limited by how strong I am. It will be easier to gain strength with a bench press than a cable press.

Forgive me because I do not have a research study handy, but strong people usually have a good bench press. That means something. If you want to be strong, it isn’t wise to completely disregard its use.

As I’m sure you’re aware Rory McIlroy has added some significant muscle and strength to his golf game in recent years and the bench press has seemingly been a part of a what is doubtless and balanced program of pressing variations to help him get there

Bench Press and Shoulder Health

The bench press can expose shoulder issues and its disproportionate use can potentially cause them. If that is your main concern then you need to really take a look at the risk of the golf swing on the body. More shoulders are beat up because of the golf swing and daily life than through bench pressing and this article is not getting into backs, knees, and hips.

There are steps we can take to protect our shoulders for improved performance and long term health.

  • Monitor Volume – Volume can be problematic for joint health. I would like to see most golfers keep their bench press reps at 6 or less. We can get our volume elsewhere.
  • Add Pushups – Pushups allow the scapulae to move freely. This helps train rotator cuff health while improving push strength and core stability
  • Use the Cable Press – Just because the cable press has limitations does not mean to stop using it. Again, the scapulae move freely and we train core stability with the movement. It’s a win win.
  • Use DB’s and Neutral Grips – A neutral grip is more shoulder friendly than a pronated grip. Use that with DB’s or specialty bars to spare the shoulders.
  • Incorporate Posterior Shoulder Work – Add a lot of Y’s, T’s, external rotations, and breakaways to train the shoulder stabilizers. High reps/volume works well here.
  • Row/ Pull double: If you do 3 pushes in your program, try to have 6 pulls. This will give the shoulder and upper back the kind of strength it needs to fend off cranky shoulders.

I do not want to make this argument to make the cable press seem bad, because it is not. It should be in most programs. The core stability developed and pushing strength is definitely going to complement your training.

When appropriately programmed and loaded the bench press is one of the best exercises for developing upper body strength. Continue to use it if you want to hit the ball further and shoot lower scores.

 

Top 10 fitness attributes for better golf

As the PGA tours promotional videos are  keen to point out golf is a sport, and golfers are athletes…and to be honest there can be little arguing with that these days. Indeed, research has shown physical limitations have a negative effect on kinematic sequence of the golf swing, swing mechanics and ultimately ball speed and ball striking. Whilst increasing a wide range of strength and power measures have been demonstrated to increase club head speed by numerous academic studies. If you were in any doubt fitness for golf is a big deal, but what fitness qualities do you need to build to turn your body into a golfing machine? Here’s my list of the top 10:

1. Balance between the chest and upper back muscles for neutral spine at address.

2. Neutral pelvic tilt to allow neutral posture, most people live in anterior pelvic tilt from sitting from sitting at a desk and exhibit s-posture in the golf swing. Achieved by glute activation and flexibility in the hips flexors.

3. Adequate range of motion in the thoracic spine and lats to allow for a good shoulder turn.

4. The ability to disassociate the upper body from the lower body. This known by coaches as the x-factor and is vital for power generation.

5. A good degree of rotational movement in the shoulders, especially external rotation. As lack of shoulder rotation can lead to many swing faults including flying elbow, chicken winging and reverse tilt, is also a common cause of elbow and shoulder injuries.

6. Adequate lower body strength and stability to avoid excessive lateral and forward movement of the hips. Concentric strength in the target side leg is especially important  in allowing the golfer to ‘post’ the target side leg in the downswing and to decelerate the club after impact.

7. Adequate internal hip rotation to allow hips to function correctly in the swing.

8. Forearm strength and balance to prevent elbow and wrist injuries, and for when playing out of difficult lies.

9. Good proprioception and co-ordination. In this context, we are looking for the ability to be aware of where the body is in space and how to manipulate this. This can be trained in the gym with drills or by simply playing sports and challenging your body with new activities.

10. Muscular endurance to ward off fatigue during competition and practice. Fatigue will negatively impact swing mechanics and increase the risk of injury. Prevent faltering scores on the back 9 and be able to practice longer by increasing muscular endurance.

we-believe-in-the-athlete-e1369324020321

Top 5 reasons you’re not seeing results in the gym.

Everybody hits the gym for a reason, be it to improve their health, lose fat or indeed perform better on the golf course. However often people training on their own fail to make progress towards their goals. I believe there are a few commonalities to the lack of results the average trainee experiences. In an effort to ensure you’re progress doesn’t grind to a halt (aren’t I nice to you!) What follows below is my top 5 training mistakes:

5. Not sticking to the basics (keep it simple, stupid).

Around this time of year, particularly, with a plethora of exotic looking gadgets, fitness DVD’s, exercise books and ‘intense’ workout routines with the ‘newest muscle building secrets’ it’s easy to fall pray to seductive sounding promises. In reality any new ‘secret’ will never stack up to the big, basic, compound movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups and power cleans for building strength and power. Basic exercises like planks and side planks will do more to develop useful core stability than the ab chair ever will. Make sure the basics are the foundation of your program. Do them regularly, get good at them, and good things will happen to your physique, strength levels and golf swing.

4. Bastardising programs/ Program hopping.

Pick one program that fits your goals and lifestyle and stick to it! Stick to it as written, with nothing added!

The internet is without doubt a great thing (strongergolf.org is on it after all!) but it can often result in information overload. Simply put, there is too much information around. We are constantly being bombarded by the latest tips, tricks and secrets to six pack abs. And it all sounds good!

The result of this overload is generally an overcomplicated, impossible to maintain program. By the time you’ve mixed a little of program A and B to program C, the resulting workout is a frankenstein behemoth that is too long and complicated for anyone to get through with intensity and progression. On the other hand, your program may be perfect but you need to give time to actually let the results come to fruition. Stick to a program for the length of time the creator of the program suggests, probably a few months at least.

3. Lack of progression.

Progression simply refers to trying to improve. Progression is not always linear (in fact, except in rank beginners, its rarely linear) but it should be the goal.

Think more weight, sets, reps; and/or less rest. Also experiment with more difficult exercises and routines as you master the current ones (but remember number 5…the basics should always be a cornerstone of your program).

2. You’re not recovering hard enough!

Recovery is an often overlooked part of progress in the gym. You spend a lot more time outside the gym than you do in it, so it stands to reason that what you do outside the gym will have a large bearing on your progress. As the old soviet adage goes, there’s no such thing as overtraining. Only under recovery. Eating a sufficient quantity of quality foods and sleeping well are the corner stones of a good recovery protocol. Supplements and regular stretching and foam rolling can also have a part to play. Proper recovery strategies can see you training harder, for longer, and more often.

1. You’re not training hard enough!

Step into any public gym and unfortunately your likely to find far to many people going though the motions. They do the same workout routine on the same treadmill or with the same weights week in week out, usually whilst maintaining constant conversation with the guy or girl next to them. And they wonder why they aren’t making any progress! It’s not enough to simply show up, training needs to be done with a focus and intensity to achieve results.

Intensity can be achieved by lifting more weight, increasing sets or reps, decreasing reps, and even lifting a weight faster.

In summary then, pick a sound training plan based on the ‘big’ exercises from an expert in the field and stick to it! Focus on INTENSITY and PROGRESSION and take your game to the next level!

Pilates for Golf

A massive treat for you guys today! What follows is a guest post from all round Pilates genius and blogger, Amanda Tennant. Pilates is great for improving core strength, balance, co-ordination and mobility, just as required in the golf swing. So check out what Amanda has to say (thanks so much by the way!) and get to it:

pilates-golf-amandaHi There!  My name is Amanda Tennant and I’m really excited and completely honored to do this guest post on Pilates For Golf for Stronger Golf.  Thanks for the opportunity Nick!

Let me begin by telling you a smidge about me.  I am a Missouri licensed physical therapist, a pilates studio owner, and a pilates instructor.  I opened my own physical therapy-based pilates studio, Therapeutic Pilates, LLC, (linked to www.therapeuticpilates.org) about 10 years ago where I teach pilates for rehabilitation and for fitness.  I am really passionate about my work and I greatly enjoy the variety of clients that come my way.

Currently, I’m also working toward my doctoral degree in the field of naturopathy (natural medicine) as I believe in a holisitic approach to healing, health, and life.  My most recent project (aka my guilty pleasure) is my pilates-based blog, Amanda’s COREner. (linked to http://www.amandascorener.com) I love connecting with others regarding pilates, health, and wellness, and blogging grants me the chance to reach a much wider audience–including YOU!

I cannot claim to be an avid golfer, although I did take a college golf course which I immensely enjoyed.  Right off the first swing, I learned that Pilates and Golf have something fundamental in common–when performed properly, they are both much HARDER than they initially look.  😉

What I can claim is the fact that I have taught pilates to many, many golfers over the years.  Along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two about pilates for your sport and I’m here to share that knowledge with you today.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of pilates or don’t know much about it.  Don’t worry.  I once had someone ask if I was a bartender when I told them I taught pilates for a living because they thought it was the name of a mixed drink!  Not quite…

Pilates is a low impact movement system based on flexibility and strengthening exercises to help bring the body back into balance (or to maintain balance).  The exercises are core-based, which means that all of them require the active participation of your abdominal muscles (transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques), your back muscles, and often your gluteal muscles.  Performing pilates exercises regularly will improve your alignment, balance, coordination, posture, postural awareness, fluidity of movement, and it will teach you to better integrate your mind, body, and breath.  Can you see how some of these principles might help out your golf game?

When working with my golfers, I find that in addition to strengthening the core (which will help “power” your game), all exercises that emphasize opening the side body and increasing spinal rotation (particularly thoracic spinal rotation) are extremely beneficial.  In other words, if you can commit to trying out some or all of the pilates exercises that I demonstrate in my Pilates for Golf routine, then you’ll likely get to do a bit more “showing off” on the golf course.

I firmly believe in mastering the basics of pilates in order to achieve success in any type of pilates program, whether mat or apparatus based.  If you are just starting out, then please take time to read up on how to appropriately contract your transversus abdominis muscle, (linked to http://amandascorener.com/category/pilates-transverse-abdominal-muscle/)  find your neutral pelvic alignment, (linked to http://amandascorener.com/category/pilates-neutral-pelvic-alignment/) and perform thoraco-diaphragmatic breathing (aka pilates breathing).  (linked to http://amandascorener.com/category/pilates-breathing-2/)  These foundational components alone will help improve your golf game–guaranteed.  I’m also including a couple of videos demonstrating how I teach these pilates basics to my new clients.

Okay, once you know how to position your body, contract your deepest layer of belly muscles, and breathe, then you’re ready to try my Pilates For Golf routine.  As I state (more than a few times) throughout this video, no pilates exercise should ever feel PAINFUL!!!  If something hurts, then please modify the exercise accordingly or refrain from doing it altogether.

Thank you so much for letting me share some pilates with you today and thanks again to Nick for allowing me the space and time to do so!

If you have any questions regarding these exercises, or pilates in general, then please feel free to e-mail me at AmandasCOREner@charter.net.  I look forward to hearing from you!  Best of luck!!!

XOXO Amanda

Off-Season Program for Golf: GPP Edition

With winter very definitely drawing in, temperatures falling and the rain coming down (those of you living in sunnier climbs are blessed indeed)! Your time on the course is becoming more limited, perfect time then to get in the gym, deal with the physical limitations affecting your golf swing and get fitter, faster, stronger in the process. Just in time for the sunshine to return and you to break some records on the course!

What follows is a sample off-season program split into two phases; a general physical preparedness (GPP) phase and a specific physical preparedness phase (SSP). The GPP phase will improve movement quality thought the use of locomotion exercises, and by addressing mobility, stability and structural limitations commonly found in golfers. Activation drills for the glutes, as golfers seem to have particular problems making the most of this powerful muscle group in the swing. As well as providing a solid base of general strength and muscular endurance gains to build upon in the SSP phase.

So without further ado, may I present to you the GPP program!

GPP Phase (Week 1-4)

Workout A                                                                                      Workout B

Warm-up

Supine bridge 1×8/side                                                               Quadruped rocks 1×8/side

Quadruped rocks 1×8/side                                                        Quadruped T-spine rotation 1×8/side

Wall ankle breaks 1×8/side                                                       Yoga push-ups 1×6 (touch knees down if you have too)

Squat to stand 1×6                                                                        Glute march iso hold 3x5secs/side

Walking spiderman w/ overhead reach 1×5/side            Scapular wall slides 1×5/side

No money drill 1×8                                                                      Alternating lateral lunge walk 1×5/side

Core stabilisation

Plank 30secx2                                                                                Cable tall kneeling static hold 30secx2

Combination/Power exercise

Med ball clean & press 2×8                                                       Med ball slam 2×8

Strength

Goblet Squat 2×15/Inverted Row 2×15                               Step-up 2×15/Push-up 2×15

Overhead Press 2×15/Lunge 2×15                                         Standing lat-pulldown 2×15/Cable pull-through 2×15

Locomotion Drill

Bear Crawls 3x30yrds                                                               1-arm weighted walk 3x30yrds

GPP Phase (Weeks 5-8)

Workout A                                                                                      Workout B

Warm-up

Supine bridge 1×8/side                                                             Quadruped rocks 1×8/side

Quadruped rocks 1×8/side                                                      Quadruped T-spine rotation 1×8/side

Wall ankle breaks 1×8/side                                                     Yoga push-ups 1×6 (touch knees down if you have too)

Squat to stand 1×6                                                                      Glute march iso hold 3x5secs/side

Walking spiderman w/ overhead reach 1×5/side          Scapular wall slides 1×5/side

No money drill 1×8                                                                     Alternating lateral lunge walk 1×5/side

Core stabilisation

Side Plank 30secx2                                                                   Half kneeling static hold 30secx2

Combination/Power exercise

Med ball clean & press 2×5                                                    Med ball slam 2×5

Strength

Goblet Squat 3×10/Chin-up 3×10                                      Split Stance Squat 3×10/Jackknife Push-up 3×10

Overhead Press 3×10/Lateral Lunge 3×10                     Cable standing row 3×10/Kettlebell Swing 3×10

Locomotion Drill

Bear Crawls 3x30yrds                                                             1-arm front racked weighted walk 3x30yrds

Foam rolling should be done as often as physically possible, it actually is that important! Roll your t-spine, IT band, hip flexors and adductors as a minimum.

After 8 weeks of this GPP program you should notice significant improvement in your movement quality. Your ability to rotate the shoulders, for example should increase greatly, along with the creation of separation between the upper and lower body. You should also notice big increases in your general strength levels and muscular endurance. You are now ready for the SPP program, and this my friends, is were the fun really starts!

The SPP program will involve dynamic core work to develop the core stability necessary in a multi planar fashion. Strength work will become more transverse and frontal plane dominant, as this better reflects the nature of the golf swing. Med ball throws, plyos, lateral jumps will be introduced increase power development, co-ordination and kinematic sequencing.

The SPP program will be featured in full in the SPP edition of Off-Season Program for Golf, coming soon on Stronger Golf. Be Sure to look out for it! And let me know how you get on with the GPP program in the comments below!

Olympic lifting is great, but…

Olympic lifting is without doubt a great way to develop speed, power, explosiveness and overall athleticism. As countless people way smarter than me have shown they work and I’m not disputing that or hating on olympic lifting. What I am going to do is set down the reasons I don’t use them in mine or my clients training and maybe why you shouldn’t too.

Number 1. I’m not an olympic lifting coach.

To be honest I’m barely proficient in the power versions of the olympic lifts myself, the idea of me coaching other them is quite frankly laughable and definitely not good professional practice as a strength coach.

It’s certainly not going to do my athletes any good. At best I could fudge through teaching someone a half decent hang clean: At worst I could cause an injury. So until I know better how to coach them I won’t be programming the oly lifts.

Number 2. There are other more ‘user friendly’ ways to develop power.

Olympic lifting, kettlebells, TRX or whatever the latest and greatest fitness dogma out there is, are never the be all and end all panacea of health and fitness, but a useful tool in the toolbox. Research has shown simpler and much more teachable moves, such as the weighted squat jump bring almost all the benefits of oly lifts to athletes. Indeed smart men including Alwyn Cosgrove swear by them. Eric Cressey and Tony Gentilcore at Cressey Performance are massive advocates of med ball work, particularly for training rotational athletes such as golfers. These movements can be argued to be more specific to an athletes sporting requirements also, and less detrimental in terms of joint distraction forces on both the shoulder and elbow.

Number 3. Teaching the olympic lifts (well) takes too long.

The olympic lifts have a large learning curve and teaching them can easily take months. With much of that time spent drilling technique at loads to light to create a training effect. Particularly for competitive golfers, with an ever decreasing off season window before the rigours of travel and tournament golf take over again, that time is a luxury that unfortunately cannot be afforded often. With the in mind I tend to opt for med-ball training, jump drills and heidens to get power training in. Many og these also have the happy coincidence of being more plane specific to golf.

In 2011, Tom was interviewed for an article in Golf Digest and stated that a decline in physical fitness is inevitable for all of us as we age.  But to make the decline as gradual as possible, particularly as it relates to the golf swing, Watson said a daily exercise regimen is vital.

“You have to do it….And not just stretching. You need cardio, strength training, the works. I believe it’s a big reason I’m still hitting the ball as well as I am hitting it now.”

Watson went on to say that he feels the most important area to focus on as you get older is your hips.

“The first thing you lose is the ability to fire your hips, you have to really train that area hard.”

Want be a better golfer? Become a better athlete first

Golf is an incredibly dynamic and complex sport, involving coordination of the entire body in a particular sequence, repeatedly,  order to produce long, straight shots and consistency required. Research into junior talent development is clear that golf lends it self well to multi-sport athletes. By developing as an athlete first (by improving qualities such as balance, coordination, strength and power) and a golfer second, your chances for success and playing the game for a lifetime greatly increase. If you ask most PGA tour players the vast majority were multi-sport athletes first and golfers second.

Hip mobility exercises you need to be doing!

We spend more and more  time in our modern world sitting at work, in the car and in front of the TV. Especially as we age the effect of this begins to add up. This shortens the hip flexor, which can cause the hamstrings to get tight and the glutes to stop firing. In the golf swing, it’s essential to have mobility in the hips. Not only does it take the stress off your lower back but it enables you to load your weight effectively in the backswing and initiate your downswing with the lower body first. When the hips get tight, we can create faults like a sway, slide, reverse spine angle, early extension, casting and more.

Below are videos detailing a stretch and some drills to free up your hips. They make a nice warm up for the hips prior to lifting or hitting or the course, or better yet put them together as a circuit and repeat a couple of times over whenever you can throughout the day.

Credit to TPI, Eric Cressey and DeFranco’s gym for the videos.