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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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SHOULDER TURN 101

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One of the biggest questions I get from golfers of all levels is how do I get more shoulder turn? So here is my answer in a nutshell

Shoulder turn is a question of mobility in your upper body and rib cage as well as a stabilization issues of the lower body, so in my opinion 2 things need to happen:

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1) Have a good base. Making sure the lower body is stable and controlled is just as important in the having overall mobility in the trunk. If you aren’t stable, you may slide, lose your spine angle, or stand rather than turn, so number 1 is have a good base.

2) Mobilize your rib cage. The rib cage is pretty mis-understood and often overlooked when thinking about shoulder turn. Your shoulders sit on your rib cage, therefore in order to turn your shoulders your rib cage and spine must have the mobility to create that turn.

Here is one of my favorite drills to help increase mobility through the trunk and rib cage.

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As I mentioned earlier, a good shoulder turn requires 2 things, a good base and good rib cage mobility. Make sure you keep your hips and pelvis stacked through the movement, and BREATHE. Exhale through your movement and if you get stuck or feel labored in your breathing, stop, hold that position and BREATHE into to relax and increase your mobility.

Enjoy your new found mobility!

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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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WARMING UP FOR GOLF

Warming up for Golf

Roy Khoury shows Sean Lanyi how to warm up for the golf swing

My friend, Sean Lanyi of Sean Lanyi Golf got together for a short series of golf instruction and golf fitness.  We understand that without proper movement or proper swing education it will be difficult to get to where you need to be. In this video we go over warming up before you practice or play.

Check out the video and enjoy!

For more specific warm ups and routine to help improve your game check out my section on Golf Fitness Training.

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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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FEET, BALANCE AND GOLF SWING

Who would have every thought to pay attention to feet when it comes to your golf game? Believe it or not your feet and how connected to the earth they are greatly relate to how you swing the club and how much force you generate when you swing the club. Paul Chek (a fitness guru) puts it best by saying, “You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe”, or there is no way to generate force from an unstable surface.

I have been working with Marc Marini, PGA Instructor from Sea Cliff Golf Club in Huntington Beach, CA and as with all of my clients, the first place I start is with a movement assessment. A movement assessment tells me how well (or how poorly) someone is moving and from that assessment I can create programs to cater to those needs. Marc came in to work on improving his power and felt his in ability to keep his feet connected to the floor was restricting him, and caused him to lose power and balance in his swing. Among other things, we had to go over some basics such as:
1) Roll out the arches: this drill massages the bottom of the feet to take stress off of your arches and calves

Massaging the foot arches with a golf ball

Marc Marini demonstrates how to roll out or massage the foot arch with a golf ball for better mobility in his ankle during the golf swing

 

2) Mobilize the ankle joint: We used 2 simple drills to give the ankle more movement by stretching the calves and top of the foot

Stretch for the ankle joint

Marc Marini demonstrates how to stretch the front half of the ankle for better mobility during his golf swing.Stretching the calf/ankle jointMarc Marini demonstrates for to stretch the calf against a curb to improve his ankle mobility and foot stability during the golf swing

 

3) Reintegrate the calves with a swing drill: In this drill I hooked Marc up to a stretch cord to challenge his balance (the same way he loses it in his swing). This reintegrates how his feet should act in the golf swing and retrains his brain as well as his body in the golf swing.

Swing Drill with resistance

Marc Marini and I demonstrate a drill to reeducate his balance through the golf swing.

 

Drill to improve Pivot

Marc Marini demonstrates one of his favorite drills to improve balance, pivotand club face are all in line with the ball.

In this case Marc is a strong dude and to unlock power we needed to improve his foot balance and ankle movement so he could generate more power in his swing.

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IS YOGA BAD FOR THE BODY?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/magazine/how-yoga-can-wreck-your-body.html

I came across this article in the New York Times recently titled “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” and thought it was interesting since I am frequently asked by golfer’s and those looking for more mobility/flexibility about yoga.

My typical answer is, without properly assessing your movement ability, strengths and weaknesses, I won’t have a good answer for you.   Anyone, whether in good physical health or poor, should understand that movement can be helpful or harmful.  And I am not talking just about form or technique, I am talking about being aware of certain movement patterns.  An example being, people with lower back pain typically think that yoga and stretching the lower back are good things to do to relieve pain.  In actuality stretching the lower back may destabilize it more and cause increased pain.

Dont’ get me wrong, I am not saying yoga is wrong, but I am saying that not being aware of what is right or what is not right for you is bad.  What really made me agree with the article from the NY Times was this paragraph

“Not just students but celebrated teachers too, Black said, injure themselves in droves because most have underlying physical weaknesses or problems that make serious injury all but inevitable. Instead of doing yoga, “they need to be doing a specific range of motions for articulation, for organ condition,” he said, to strengthen weak parts of the body. “Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.”

I feel the same way about movement in general. Strength Classes, Pilates, Aerobics, etc can be great or can be detrimental.  The right movement for the right person can be great and a lifesaver, but the wrong movement for the right person can be terrible.  I said it before and I will say it again, Get an assessment to understand your movement needs whether your goal is to increase your general health and movement, or to increase golf or sport specific conditioning you can’t have a plan without assessing where you are.

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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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QUALITY OF MUSCLE TISSUE

If you have worked with me, you have probably heard the “beef jerky” talk. Here’s the typical scenario:

Me: Hows it going today?
Client: Good but my _____ hurts (you can put in knee, neck, shoulder, back etc)
Me: Hows your water been?
Client: Well could be better…
Me: Have you been foam rolling
Client: No I didn’t have time so I got straight into my workouts

This is about where I stop, and ask:
Me: Do you know what beef jerky is?
Client: Well, yeah
Me: So what is it? How is it made?
Client: *Smiling and thinking where is he going with this* It meat that is dried out, dehydrated
Me: Exactly

You may have heard at some point in your life that you are made of 70-80% water, which is completely correct. OUr bodies use water for our circulatory system, digestive system, and even for movement. Most of your water should be stored in your muscle tissue, so when you need extra digest a big meal or to keep your circulatory system moving it’s there. When you dehydrate or don’t hydrate enough, your body pulls water from any storage (i.e. muscles) to use for whatever it needs so you don’t shut down or pass out.

Being dehydrated makes your muscles tight and less pliable. Then add movement to that and getting sore from a workout and lactic acid build up from repetitive movement…guess what. You get knots in your muscles. When you have knots in your muscles that pulls on your joints in different angles, then guess what things wear down and…YOU HURT!

Something I have been adamant about for years has been foam rolling and hydration. Over the past few years working with various clients (golfers, martial artists, post rehab, general fitness), one thing stays constant people want to move better, feel better and look better. You don’t go to the gym to move shitty, feel shitty and look like shitty do you?

Mom I know you will read this so sorry for the language but this goes for you too 🙂

Let me put it to you this way, if you are tight you can’t move efficiently. If you can’t move efficiently but you do anyway, you get better at moving worse. If you continue to do that you get an injury, and that is not the goal of exercise.  The point of fitness is better health, not worse.

There’s a reason we go for the Filet Mignon over beef jerky…We don’t prefer to chew on leather if we don’t have to. That being said, hydrate, foam roll then move. In the short term you will feel better, in the long term will can move better and ultimately you will perform better.

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BALANCE FOR GOLFERS…

Over the years, I have assessed and worked with many golfer (from juniors, to recreational adults and even tour level pros) and it never ceases to amaze me how much golfers need to work on balance!

One of the biggest swing inconsistancies is found in lack of hip stability.  More often than not, golfers exhibit good stabiltiy in the lead leg, and poor stability in the trail leg.  Here are a couple of things I have used to help re-educate the hips and strength them in stabilization.

Enjoy!

Bridge

Great drill for strengthening your glutes and lateral hip stability

Half Kneeling Chops

Great for lateral hip stability and incorporating arm speed

Medicine Ball throws

Great for lateral hip stability, arm speed and reaction training