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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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HOW’S YOUR HINGE?

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In part 2 in the series with Sean Lanyi of Sean Lanyi Golf, we discuss “the hinge” in the golf swing.  The hinge is an important part of the backswing and is often a problem for getting people to stay on plane.  Check out this cool drill I use to improve not only your hinge, but your core and balance, as well as Sean’s explanation of the hinge.

Enjoy!

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GOOD, BETTER, BEST

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I think walking when playing is a great way to stay loose and focused during your round and its a great workout, especially if you are playing a tough course like Black Gold, Monarch Beach or Tijres Creek. But like anything its best to be prepared. So I wrote and article called Good, Better, Best that my buddies at California Golf Magazine put up on their website. Hopefully you find some benefit out of it too!

I highly encourage walking versus riding when you play. It’s a great way keep your mind focused while playing and it’ll burn some extra calories while having fun. That being said, I do recommend you build up yourself up off the course first to ensure you aren’t running out of gas on the back nine. You don’t want to be huffing and puffing on your way to a birdie putt. So while walking while playing might be good, being prepared for it is better, and that will ensure your best every round. Read on to what I suggest to my clients for their golf conditioning.

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Good- Walking

We all know walking is a good physical activity, and we all should walk 20-30 minutes everyday for general health and fitness. The most common complaint I hear revolves around time, my answer is, Do yourself a favor and make some time. Use half of your lunch break or skip the 2nd half of Sports Center to walk. That being said, I never suggest mindless cardio so try to disconnect from your cell phone or iPod while walking and focus on tall posture and belly breathing. Don’t worry the TV will be there when you get back.

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Better- Intervals

If you have been walking and need to step up the intensity, try some Interval training. Intervals are about taking your intensity up for a short period then dropping it down to catch your breath before doing it again.  I start all my healthy golfers with at a 3:1 (rest to work ratio) on the treadmill.  The protocol is walk at 3 mph for 1 min and 30 seconds, then run (or sprint if you can) at a speed suitable for you for 30 seconds.  You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel on the course after just a couple of interval sessions.

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Best- Circuit Training

I will stand on my soapbox here for a minute and say this, it’s wise to make sure you are ready to train and have a good routine based on your needs and fitness level, so seeing a qualified Golf Fitness Instructor is ideal here.  Now that that’s out of the way, circuit training is great to challenge your fitness and involves doing 3 or more exercises back to back with no rest until that set is complete.  For golf conditioning, I like to group a high intensity exercise (like Medicine Ball Throws), followed a strength exercise (like Push Ups) and follow that up with a balance activity (like Single Leg Balance in Golf Posture). Set a timer for 3 minutes and do your Medicine Ball Throws for minute 1, for minute 2 do your Push Ups, then finish your last minute with Golf Posture Balance on your left leg for 30 sec, then balance on your right for 30 sec.  For that example 1 set will last 3 min straight, move and do your drills for the entire time! No rests until that last minute is done. Take a minute off then repeat another set.

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Good, Better, Best is all about progress, we are all where we are in terms of our fitness. Once we understand it and embrace it we work on it.  It will benefit your overall health and improve your fitness and ability to score when it counts.

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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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VIDEO ON POWER

Over the past year or so, I have partnered with my friends at the Athletic Development Lab (www.athleticdevelopmentlab.com) to discussed and educate on training athletes.  Recently we collaborated and came up with a video on Power Development and we filmed my buddy Kenny Nitta  discussed Power.

 

 

ADL power from kenneth s nitta on Vimeo.

Enjoy!

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WARMING UP AND COOLING DOWN

Here’s a quick video on how to properly warm up and  and cool-down I did with my friends at the Athletic Development Lab !

Having a proper warm-up based on your needs and physical evaluation is essential to having a focus and time effiecent workout.  Using foam rolling, neuromuscular activation, and dynamic stretching all prepare your brain anf body for the work ahead.  Check out the video for more info.

I will post more videos as our series grows.

Enjoy!

ADL warm up / cool down from kenneth s nitta on Vimeo.

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GOLF COMBINE

In last month’s issue of Golf Digest, there was an article out on the a “Golf Combine”.  It was a great article and an informative way for any individual to test themselves.  The creator of the “Golf Combine” and co-creator of the Titleist Performance Institute Golf Fitness movement screen talks about the TPI movement screen and how the “Golf Combine” differs from it.  Great info from on of the smartest and most sought after people in the world on the topic of Movement ability.  Whether you are a golfer or not, this self test is a great way to highlight your movement competency.  I challenge you to try to test your person movement health!

Enjoy!

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Barefoot Training

A hot topic as of late, is the idea of Barefoot Training and Barefoot Running.  While I think Barefoot Running is something that really needs to be progressed into and not something that people should just go out and do (especially if they are not used to being barefoot, have any previous injury, or come from really restrictive shoes), Barefoot Training on the other hand is a great way to start to condition the feet, arches, and ankles.

A couple of months ago I was interviewed by Wyatt Myers on the Topic of Barefoot Running, and the recent popularity of Barefeet.  While the article has not been published yet, I think there is some great information.  The interview is below, enjoy!

 Q: What are your credentials:

  • Cal State Fullerton, Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Kinesiology(2004)
  • Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), Certified Golf Fitness Instructor, Level 3 (CGFI-3)
  • The Egoscue University/The Egoscue Method, Postural Assessment Specialist Level2 (PAS-2)*
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Certified Personal Trainer (CPT)
  • National Exercise and Sports Trainer’s Association (NESTA), Personal Fitness Trainer (PFT 2)

I am the founder of RFK Training, a personal training service located in Newport Beach California and  have been a personal trainer for about the last 10 years.  My specialties are in the areas of corrective exercise training, functional training and rotary sports (such as golf).  I take a whole body approach to training no matter where my clients are in the goals, or needs and the feet are no exception.Â

 My training style covers:

  • Improving the quality of muscle tissue (through the use of myofascial release modalities)
  • Improving posture through mobility and stability training
  • Improving coordination in all foundational movement patterns
  • Improving strength, power and sport skills based on each client’s individual needs

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Q: What is barefoot running, and what are its origins?
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Barefoot running is just that, running in bare feet and I guess we can include in very minimal shoes.  It’s origins truly began with the dawn of man, but as we have developed and progressed as a society we got smart and developed things to cover our feet for protection from the elements.  Somewhere along the way we went crazy and took a good idea too far, but more on that later.

Q: What are the benefits of running in this fashion?

Bare foot running is not usually a place I would start with most people but definitely somewhere to progress to.  Bare foot running has the benefit of allowing your foot to function as it was intended to.  Most people are familiar with the terms “pronation” and “supination” which describe movements of the arch of the foot, but we have been conditioned to think that pronating or supinating are bad. In actuality these are actions a healthy foot should commonly do in stepping/ walking, and squatting activities.  The problem is most people’s feet are poorly conditioned and are stuck in either pronation or supination and do not fluidly move between the movements. Â

From a training aspect, most people are not ready to run in bare feet but I train almost ever client in their bare feet.  Training in bare feet conditions the foot, ankles, knees, hip, spine, etc into better movement.  I believe that how your foot strikes the ground dictates which muscles fire in which sequence through the kinetic chain.  When the quality of foot function improves in people, walking, jumping and running are usually progressed to.  Even then, distance running is something progressed into in bare feet.

Q: Did the book “Born to Run” play any role in its growth in popularity? How so?

I believe the book “Born to Run” has played a huge role in the recent popularity of bare foot running.  It was a great story in a best selling book which I think resonated with most everyone that read it.  There is something primal about being bare foot and running.  In one part, the book describes running as one of the reasons why modern man evolved and our ancestor’s went extinct.   It definitely made me question some of my training methodology, and had me change the way I do things myself and with some clients.

Q: Why has the practice grown more popular recently, in your opinion?

This is a tough question for me to answer, but I will say this… Being barefoot is cool, I am barefoot most everyday at work.  While it may look weird initially to the outsider looking in, as you begin to understand the benefits of it, it becomes a reasonable thing.  Most people that are “physical” and exercise, start to develop kinesthetic (or body) awareness.  The more you move the more awareness you have, as you progress and become more critical of your movement and you begin to realize that proper movement makes you feel good, and things that limit or restrict movement may end up hurting.Â

I started training barefoot about 4 years ago.  My focuse was on finding out why I had good balance in one leg but not the other.  Throughout the last 6-8 years I have tried different shoes, and I noticed the more flat the shoe was (less of a heel lift) the better I did.  Then the Nike Free came out and I was able to experience a “bare foot” styled shoe and I thought they were the best things ever so I wore and trained in those for years, but my balance never seemed to improve.  About 4 years ago, I first saw the Vibram 5 Finger shoe and realized it had what I needed for where I was in my training career.  It separated my toes so they were forced to function independently, it was flat to the floor, which gave me greater stability and I noticed my balance and strength improve.  Now I am not going to say the shoes did it, but I am going to say they helped, greatly.  The training was smart, and the equipment (Vibram 5 Fingers) helped.  Eventually my feet became more efficient, I think greatly due to the separate “boxes” for each toe, and my ability to feel my feet more in my training.  So now I am barefoot in the gym and when I run my local trails, such as El Moro, I run in my Vibrams for some coverage/protection.

 Q: Can you give me a list of the pros and cons of barefoot running, and a quick explanation of each?
 Pro’s:

1) Improved efficiency of the foot- being bare foot allows for an environment in which each part of your foot can do it’s job.  Your arches are allowed to pronate and supinate as needed, your toes are free to grab, push, separate, and squeeze as needed for balance.
2) Decreased risk of overuse injuries- Most overuse injuries of the foot and ankle start because of a lack of proper function.  Most modern shoes are too confining in the toe box causing and under use of the toes, too stable at the arch (especially “anti-pronating” shoes), and too elevated at the heel (which shortens the Achilles tendon and calves before they even get a chance to move).
3) It just feels good- The first thing most people look for in shoes is how “cool” they look, and a the next thing is comfort, I don’t believe you should have to search for comfort, but unfortunately the science of shoes is based around “support” and “stabilizing” and the more ridgid shoes have become, the less comfortable.  Look for the flattest soles possible, if you are new to minimal style shoes, start with something a little more stable and work into a less stable shoes.  Vibrams are a great option to walk around and train in as you will get independant toe movement and they will be stretched into proper resting lengths.

The human body is about use it or lose it, and pain is a sign from your body that you are losing something.  If you listen early enough you can get it back whether it’s mobility, stability, strength, coordination, endurance, etc.  You just need a proper plan.

Con’s:

1) Lack of coverage- Depending on what you do barefoot, you may need some coverage.  Things to consider terrain (rocky, rutted, roots, slick ground, etc), temperature of the ground (hot/cold) and other factors which may require some coverage.  As mentioned earlier I trail run in my Vibrams to avoid excess heat and burning my feet in the spring and summer and so I don’t’ cut myself on rocks, etc.  It’s just my preference.

2) Lack of education- If you have injuries or asymmetries or poor contorl of you feet, do not just go out and start running bare foot thinking it will cure it.  Depending on what issue you have you may need to address mobility or joint stability first.  Walking barefoot may be a good place to start, but before any training routine, check with a properly certified trainer to assess your movement function and get on a plan.  Most people that have trained in shoes, often train in the wrong shoes and their bodies will adapt to that, you need a plan to adapt to bare feet as well. Train smart, and train injury free.