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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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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!

New Year's Resolutions

The first of the year is busy time in the gym.  Everyone wants to drop a few lbs., get healthier and improve their athletic ability.  It’s a great motivation to see so many inspired people hitting it hard!  Here are a few tips to keeping that movitation going through the rest of the year:

1) Make a plan- The number 1 reason people come into train is accountability!  I ran into an old client at lunch today, and she said since she has stopped training, she gives herself the OK to finish a workout early, and skip the things she knows she needs.

Solution- If you can get an assessment, see where you stand and get a plan.  Having an organized schedule may help you stay on track, and do what you NEED to do in addition to the things you like to do.

2) Motivation- The first of the year is great becuase more than likely you busted your butt at work or school for the entire calendar year and you made (or allowed yourself) to make some poor decisions and party a little harder than you should have during the holidays.  That mean a few extra pounds, and a few days misses at the gym so Motivation is high.    The problem is we tend to lose that drive as work gears back up and stress hits us.

Solution- Set attainable goals.  Whether your goal is to make it to the gym 3 times this week for the month, or to cut sodas out entirely, set YOUR goal, and track it.  There are apps out there like “Lose It” that will help you write down food and exercise and continue to motivate you and track your progress.

3) Don’t lose sight of what you need- More often than not people want to fall back and go into “Cardio Mode” and live on a treadmill to get back into shape.  Don’t get me wrong, your need cardio but you also need to address your alignment (foam roll) , your core work, and your strength training.  Cardio is just one aspect of your training. 

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

 

Solution- Finish your workouts with cardio, and set aside a day or two as a “regeneration day” to focus on your foam rolling and longer term, steady state cardio.  

4) Diet or Exercise?- Most often we become 1 track minded and want to focus all on diet or all on exercise, niether is right, and you need both! 

Solution-  You have a few great tips above for the exercise part, but we haven’t addressed food yet.  Check out Food Rules by Micheal Pollan for some great tips and mind changing eating strategies. 

5) Be Realistic-  I will cover a few things under this topic:

ADL food tips 1 from kenneth s nitta on Vimeo.

– Drink your water, and quantify how much you are getting in.  Look to get about 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces per day and add about an extra 10-20 oz for workouts.

– Get your sleep.  You need about 8-10 hrs per day  if you get less you are “draining your sleep savings account” which will limit your recovery and your gains. 

– Limit your stress.  Increased mental or emotional stress in addition to the phsyical stress you are putting your body through during workouts accumulate and will limit your gains.

- Long Term weight loss is really fat loss.  It takes work and dedication, so don’d kid yourself and set reasonable goals when it comes to fat loss.  I tell my clients that dropping fat is a behavioral approach, realize you will have to give somethings up (alcohol, sweets, salty, fatty).  How bad do you want it?

I hope you enjoyed the tips, and the videos are from me and my friends at the Athletic Development Lab.

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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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LIVESTRONG.COM

Last month I was interviewed by Livestrong.com on the topic of How to get back into Working Out Everyday

The write-up was done really well and included tips from myself as well as from 2 other trainers.  Give it a read for some great usable info.  For the rest of my tips read below!  Enjoy!

Take the time to get a physical assessment

  1. Trainers nowadays are highly skilled professionals and are great at identifying what work you need to put in. Find a credible trainer, get an assessment and if you don’t want to work with a trainer on a regular basis get a PROGRAM.  Working out should be fun, challenging and a learning experience that keeps you motivated. Let the experts help with that. After all, the idea is to create a habit that you can continue, so do the right thing once and get after it!

Warm-up

  1. Foam Rolling, aka the poor man’s massage is a great tool/technique to warm up with. If you are just getting back into exercise, I am guarantee you will have areas that are tight, knotted up and painful. Using a foam roll will help to loosen up knots and promote blood flow. It will also help to improve the quality of your muscle tissue which in the long run is the goal.
  2. Warm-up after foam rolling. Start with a good stretch routine (such as active or dynamic stretching) to open up the hips and activate your core muscles.

Core Training

  1. We have all heard of the core, but do you know what it is? I describe the Core as your hips, pelvis, spine, shoulder blades and shoulders.  That’s a lot! Learning techniques such as bracing the core (tensing your abs, obliques, and deeper ab muscles) or shoulder packing (engaging the muscles in the upper back to promote better posture and stability of the shoulder) are necessary and all Level 1 techniques that I teach on a daily basis. The core is probably one of the most overly used terms AND least understood areas of the body.
  2. I start all my Level 1 clients with the Anti-Workout a core routine that challenges you to NOT flex, extend or rotate from the spine. It’s one of those workouts that looks easy, but kicks your butt!

Train Natural Movements

  1. The one piece of equipment everyone has is their own body! Learn to use it, move through the hips, stabilize the spine, and move through the shoulders. Try working out in various positions (standing, kneeling, side stepping, rotating). Working out is more than sitting on a piece of equipment, grabbing a handle and counting reps.  I teach 7 natural movement patterns Push (vertically and horizontally), Pull (vertically and horizontally), Squat, Lunge and Twist.  Mirror muscles are cool but being fit and functional are more important in the long run.

Cardio

  1. When most people think about getting back into training, they go straight to the treadmill. Understand that your fitness is also dependant on other factors. Do not neglect your mobility, strength, coordination, power or cardio training. You need them all.
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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!