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Assessments Matter

Single Leg Toe Touch

Why do I need to go through an assessment? 

Single Leg Toe Touch Assessment

This is a assessment used in the Titleist Performance Institute level 1 testing protocol.

Every so often i’ll get a new client that comes in itching to get in a workout and wants to know why they can’t just start doing exercises they have seen me post up online.  The fact of the matter is, when you come into see a professional trainer, especially one that has a speciality and focus on a skill based sport like Golf, an assessment is going to the place to start. If someone’s goal is to start consistently driving the ball further off the tee, and lose body fat, you better have a baseline of request coordination, balance, and strength so you can have a focused program.

I generally will start a new client meeting by trying to get to know you and answer any specific questions you might have.  We are essentially building a relationship and the first step in a coaching relationship is TRUST. I need to know what your goals are, where you are at and ultimately I need to develop a way to get you there. Using a movement screen like the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) or the Titleist Performance Institute level 1 or level 2 screen helps me understand where your strong and weak points are so I can find the best route to your fitness.

Plain and simple this is how I view the movement continuum:

  1. Coordination
  2. Strength
  3. Power

Coordination = joint range of motion + your muscles ability to move that joint through a pattern with control.

*If your coordination sucks we have to work on either referring you out to medical, improving joint mobility to muscle tissue length

Strength= coordination + capacity for external load

  • If strength is your issue we have 2 places to look; coordination (see above for definition) and capacity for external load.

Power= Strength x Speed

*If power is an issue we need decide if its a “strength power” issue or a “speed power” issue

At the end of the day, I assess you in order to define your control, your strength, your power so we can best fit that to your sport and fitness goals.

If you are interested in coming in for a movement assessment to help program for your goals feel free to reach out!

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Trunk Rotation

All 4’s Trunk Rotations

One of the places people struggle moving from the most is the in the thoracic spine (aka t-spine or the rib cage). This is the area of your spine between your neck and lower back that attaches to your ribs. This area encases your vital organs like the lungs and heart, and stomach and if it doesn’t move well it can affect breathing, and digestion, but I digress.

Can you arch your spine backward, round it forward and rotate it in each direction? If you can’t then certain movements, like the golf swing can become less accurate. There is a big relationship between poor trunk motion and poor swing paths.  Check out this drill called All 4’s Trunk Rotation too help improve your thoracic spine and rib cage mobility!  Try 2 sets of 5 in each direction and let me know what you think!

 

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Remodel Time!!!

After 2.5 years we are remodeling the studio! Stay tuned for more information on new classes, workshops and training!

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TPI Level 1 Movement Screen

Golf Fitness Training

I really enjoy everything I have learned and will continue to learn from Titleist Performance Institute (www.mytpi.com). All the information they have been able to compile on the body-swing relationship has really helped me to communicate to my clients and their golf instructors about potential issues and more importantly about how the body can be improved to help with swing efficiency.  As a Level 3 Golf Fitness Instructor, I have been educated and taken the time to work with my fellow Southern California section PGA golf instructors  to create a team atmosphere for my clients and their body related needs, couple that with over 15 years of experience in the industry and in my area, I am confident that I can help you identify and improve your movement ability. Schedule yourself an appointment for your evaluation!

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HIP HINGE (AKA SET UP POSTURE)

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I was working with a new client last week and we were discussing how to take a proper set up. Looking back over his movement evaluation, I found that his ability to touch his toes was poor and his ability to deep squat was very instable. His movement stratgey was to get into what we call a C-Posture and round his spine to address the ball rather than to bend forward from this hips.C-Posture really limits the ability to rotate in the golf swing by putting the hips and pelvis and upper spine into poor positions.

All that being said, I taught my client a better hip hinge strategy by teaching proper spine position and how to load and move from the hips and over the course of a session his set-up posture (and ability to rotate) was greatly improved!

Here is a great video by Lance and Greg from TPI discussing hip hinge a little more.  Enjoy and if you have any questions, or if you are interested in a golf fitness evaluation, feel free to contact me rkhoury@rfktraining.com

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GET WIDE FOR A BETTER SETUP POSTURE

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My friends at California Golf and News asked me to write an article for their November 2012 issue, so with the help of my friend Matt Viguerie, Head Golf Professional at Mission Viejo Country Club, we put this together.

Get Wide for a Better Set Up Posture

Have you ever heard of the concept “free arms lead to a full extension?” Ever watch Rory blast a 320-yard drive? His upper body and arms look relaxed while he’s swinging the club 130 miles per hour. But rest assured, his internal muscles are firing as he keeps his driver on plane and square through impact. AWESOME power. WIDE shoulders. PERFECT posture.

We in the fitness world believe that when someone engages their core (contracts their internal abdominal muscles), he or she will better stabilize their spine which is the first step in establishing a better base for their shoulders/arms and hips/legs to move with efficiency. With efficient movement, golfers are far more likely to set up with good posture and reach full extension – and really generate some serious power.

With efficient movement, golfers are far more likely to set up with good posture and reach full extension – and really generate some serious power.

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All golf instructors drive home how bad a rounded back or “C-Posture” at address  because this set-up promotes loss of posture/spine angle, and can lead to scooping and fat shots.

This is considered a “C-Posture” at address. Notice how the spine is rounded, which can cause many swing faults going into backswing and impact.

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Notice the flat spine at address and how the shoulders are positioned as opposed to the above “C-Posture” photo above

In the gym I promote BEING WIDE as a useful concept with any and all upper body strength movements.

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Practice properly setting your shoulder blades back when you do “push” drills like push-ups or “pulling” drills like pull-ups. I also recommend drills like “farmer’s carries” as it is a total body movement that promote good shoulder stability, core engagement, and sound posture while moving primarily from the lower body.

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Farmer Carry is a golf fitness drill used to promote a tall neutral spine and good stable shoulder position. This spine and shoulder position lends itself well to setting up to the golf ball.

Photo 3- Farmer Carry (side view)

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Caption- Remember to get your shoulder into that Wide Position as you carry your weight. This drill is all about core engagement, balance, and shoulder stability. Try to walk tall as if you were not holding a weight in 1 hand. If you tilt or can’t Stay Wide through your shoulders then go lighter. Try 30-50 steps in each arm

Matt Viguerie, PGA Head Pro from Mission Viejo Country Club agrees that setup posture and shoulder blade positioning dictates a lot in terms of accuracy in your golf swing. He says, 
“If you setup with too much curve in your spine (C-Posture) your swing plane will be off and it will create timing issues. Roy’s advice of Getting Wide, and his drills help reinforce ideal spine posture.”

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You Got Game?

My friends over at Southland Golf Magazine asked me to write up a piece of golf fitness.  Seeing as most of my clients coming in need help with Flexibility and Balance, I decided to write about it.  You can check out the article here and scroll down to “Better Flexibility equals Better Golf”.

In the article I spoke about how having good balance at setup, good hip mobility for a proper pivot and good trunk mobility to maintain swing plane were important, but in the online version I was not able to add photos, so I am doing so here.

Setup Balance:

Single Leg Balance in Set-up Position

Steve Soule, PGA is demonstrating single leg balance in his setup position for better golf fitness.

Hip Drops:

Hip Mobility Drill for Internal Hip Rotation

Steve Soule, PGA is demonstrating “Hip Drops” for good hip mobility.

Open Books:

Thoracic Spine Mobility

Rib Cage and Thoracic Spine mobility drill for improved golf fitness

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TIPS FOR SITTING

5 Tips for Those who sit on the job was an article written by Karen Lobello for Yahoo. Karen was kind enough to contact me on 5 tips that I would give anyone that has to sit for most of the day for better posture and spine health so I suggested the following:

1. Sit at the edge of your chair; This promotes better posture and engagemnt of your core and trunk muscles.
2. Learn to Pack your neck; Neck Packing is a way to ensure good head/neck/spine posture as it prevents your head moving too far forward of the rest of your spine and body.
3. Brace your core; Bracing is engaging your abdomin. The easiest way to feel and learn how to brace is by coughing. When you cough, your midsection tightens up. Maintain that tension is great for helping stabilize the lower spine and encourages breathing by use of the diaphram.
4. Start Kneeling; By taking a 1/2 kneeling position, you stretch one of the most notorious muscles for lower back pain, the hip flexor. By taking a knee, tucking your hips under slightly and engaging your glutes, you will stretch the hip flexor and potentially provide relief for the lower back. I also encourage exercising from a 1/2 Kneeling position to challenge your balance and hip strength/stability.

5. Start Foam Rolling; Foam Rolling is a form of massage by which you apply pressure to tight spots in your muscles. By releasing tension from these areas, you will improve your muscle quality and circulation.

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NEUTRAL SPINE

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What is Neutral Spine and Why should I care about it?

If you have ever seen the human spine in pictures on skeletons you may have noticed the spine is not a flat or straight structure.  The spine has a natural “S” curve to it as seen below…

As we age, and become more or less active certain muscles will activate and other will not.  Muscles dictate the bone’s position, and therefore muscles dictate your posture.

As you can see in the above picture image “A” is of ideal posture; What to look for are: The ear, shoulder, the lower spine and hip joint, knees and ankles line up…
Translation= No Pain!  The body can function in good working order without being taxing on joints and/or pressure points.

In image “B” you can see a big curve in the upper back, and the head is pushed forward…
Translation= PAIN; typically people will complain of neck and mid back/shoulder discomfort as those areas are out of their ideal position.

In image “C” you can see the spine is very flat and the hips are tucked under, this posture is typical of a “sloucher”…
Translation= PAIN; with the spine being straightened out so much the neck, lower back and hips can become aggravated.

Finally in image “D” the upper back is rounded more than it needs to be and the hips shift forward…
Translation= PAIN; The head and forward which can strain the neck, the hips forward can aggravate the lower back and each hip.

You might think to yourself you have seen people walking around that look like this, or you may feel that your posture may resemble one of the above.  I see postures B, C and D as ticking time bombs.  The less “Ideal” our posture is, the more likely we are to overuse certain muscles, tendons and joints.  The more things get over used the more likely they will break down, and when they break down WE HURT!

Here’s an interesting fact to think about…the spine houses the spinal cord, the spinal cord sends signals from our brain to our body, if the spine is out of posture, the spinal cord will be out of posture and our bodies will not work as optimally as we want them to.  If we cannot efficiently instruct our body and force movements instead, guess what You will HURT!

I never had a client come in and say, “I want to be weaker, I want my posture to suck and I want to be horrible at sports.”  Its the opposite, people want better posture, want to be stronger in sports and DON’T WANT PAIN!
So train for it!  When my clients come in the gym, my goal is to encourage neutral spine during training.  Training with neutral spine will increase your core strength, and encourage you to activate your shoulders and hips.  That encourages overall strength and posture and more importantly relieve movement related (or lack of movement) pains.

Check these movements out to improve your posture and core strength!
Plank
Side Plank
Hip Hinge

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