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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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2012 TITLEIST/SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PGA SPRING TEACHING SUMMIT

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Here is a video from this past years SCPGA Spring Teaching Summit presented by Titleist.  I had the honor to present with Todd Anderson, PGA from Sea Island Golf Club.  It was an honor to be able to instruct a the  Summit again this year and a treat for me to present with Todd.

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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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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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Commitment Trouble?

I was thinking about yesterday’s blog on New Year’s Resolutions and how to keep the ball rolling, when on my breakfast break, I came across this awesome talk on TED.com on “The Battle Between your Present Self and Future Self”

You can freeze your credit cards in the fridge to stop yourself from using them, or “tie yourself to a mast” to prevent yourself from doing something you shouldn’t, or you could develop your self control.  Daniel Goldstien, the featured speaker, says developing self control is like developing your physical strength…You have to work at it!  Watch the video and work it out.

It’s a great talk to continue yuor motivation and thought process for you new year’s goals!

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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.