fitness, golf, las vegas, sports

How to Generate Power?

This question has dogged me since my youth. My little brother seemed to figure it out, and he was longer than any of us. He couldn’t explain it to me in a way that I understood, though. Nor could any of my other friends who were low handicappers. I couldn’t get much out of the golf magazines I read either.  So I played round after round of golf with the same results: high weak fades that were fairly consistent. My short game became my focus, but I always knew there was something about the game that I was missing.

So now, I finally understand it, I’m hitting it farther than I ever have before, and my clients are getting it too! I will do my best to articulate in the simplest way possible. 

Power in the golf swing is created by sequencing. That is to say, a sequence of movements resulting in a powerful shot. This sequence begins with the lower body, continues into the upper torso and finally moves into the hands and the club face. This act of sequencing is the key component to creating lag. If you can improve your sequencing and create lag, you will improve your power. No matter if you are a junior, senior, mens or ladies golfer. 

The Sequence, beginning from the top of the backswing:

  1. low body/ hips 
  2. Upper torso/ arms
  3. hands / clubface 

 

Sounds easy, right? Get the low body going, then the upper body, and finally the hands and at last the club face.  Now try doing it. It’s not so easy, at least it never has been for me or my clients. Why? Because we tend to move our upper and lower body simultaneously.  So how do we fix it? We must first learn to move our hips and shoulders separately. 

How do we do that?

Practice exercises where the shoulders are stable and the hips are rotating.  Then  practice moves where the hips are stabilized and the shoulders turn. Once you’ve learned to turn your hips and shoulders independently,  it’s time to move on to sequencing drills. 

So, instead of jumping right into sequencing – here’s your first movement on your quest for prodigious power.  This move is called side step up with medicine ball. As Anna demonstrates, the movement mimics a slight lateral weight shift onto the lead leg combined with a pelvic rotation toward the target. At the same time, the shoulders are stabilized and held back by the medicine ball position. Practice this move on both legs and you’re half way there! Combine with last week’s single leg push pull, and you have got hips and shoulders that turn independently. 

Here’s the new video, as well as a repost of last week’s move. Next week: Dynamic Sequencing Drills! 

NEW

Side Step Up w Medicine Ball (internal hip rotation)
Use a step slightly under knee height.

 

LAST WEEK

1 Leg Push / Pull (torso rotation)

use with 2 cables or cable & DB

 

 

fitness, golf, las vegas, sports

Happy 420, Golfers!

Golf has a long history with smoking, and what better time to talk about it than 420 weekend? In the classic golf comedy Caddyshack, it isn’t just Carl Spackler, the demented  greenskeeper who smokes onscreen. It’s Ty Webb, Dr Beeper, Lacy and Spaulding, Danny Noonan and all the caddies.  Is everyone in golf high?  Sure, Caddyshack was just a movie, but big news stories this week about NBA players playing high and an elite distance runner sponsored by a marijuana edibles company.  So what with weed and sports?

Seeing as how recreational cannabis is legal in the State of Nevada, we can be open about it. Why do so many athletes smoke cannabis? Why do golfers drink alcohol or smoke tobacco?  What are the healthiest options and best practices?  Let’s discuss.

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The Most Interesting Golfer in the World

It’s pretty common to see golfers smoking. Miguel Jimenez is cigar aficionado,  Ben Hogan loved his cigarettes and Harry Vardon straight up puffed on a pipe throughout his round. So why all the smoking in golf? I’d say it’s because golfers want to relax, and the ritual of smoking helps them stay calm and break the tension and pressure of the game.  Actors often smoked on screen for many of the same reasons.  Knowing what we know now about the risks of tobacco, it makes you wonder if there’s another way.

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Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer on a smoke break

So now, in 2018, what’s the thinking man’s choice? After weighing all the risks and benefits, I’ll tell you what I’ve come up with. I don’t smoke for reasons, but I sometimes get anxious on the course, so I vaporize a cannabidiol hemp oil, or CBD that has no THC.  CBD is legal, safe and approved by the World Health Organization.  I get the ritual of smoking without the harm and because there’s no THC, (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis), I don’t get high. I do get medicinal benefits:

  1. Anti – Anxiety
  2. Pain Relief
  3. Focus
  4. Anti Inflammatory
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CBD Oil from Reakiro

You can also get a CBD/ THC hybrid, which is nice if you’re that golfer who wants to party during your round. You’ll get high, and you still the keep medicinal benefits.

I see people smoking weed on the course all the time, but I don’t think it’s actually legal in public spaces, and it may make the people some uncomfortable, especially if there are kids around. The reason I don’t use THC on the course is that I start to get a little too internal, that is to say – I get in my head too much. This can lead to dumb shots, mental errors and worst of all – doubt.

I play my best golf when I’m more external, focusing my thoughts on the target and the course conditions.  It’s a more positive mindset, and a CBD with no THC gets me there.  If I miss some shots or start to get some bad thoughts going,  a few drags on my vape pen helps out right away.  I’m able to stop thinking, let things happen and be the ball.

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Be the ball, Danny

This is also how I cope with slow play, which has ended more of my rounds of golf than darkness. How many times have you had a round going and suddenly, it’s that par 3 over water? There’s a group on the tee and another waiting. The guys on the green are squeezing two foot putts. You sit forever and watch a few shots go splash until its finally your turn.  Out of rhythm and anxious, you chunk one into the lake and and your round goes into the toilet. Or is it just me?

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WHILE WE’RE YOUNG!!

Here in Vegas, if I have to wait between shots, I just grab my vaporizer pen and chill out with CBD. No matches or lighter needed, which is nice on windy days.  It doesn’t bother anyone else because we’re outside, and there’s no ash or smoke. I’m telling you, the citrus flavor oil is screaming with an iced tea. Now, I wouldn’t suggest sitting out there tugging on the pen all day, but it’s nice to have it when you need it. When its finally my turn to hit, I want my mind and body relaxed and ready.

I’ve also had success taking a few CBD capsules before my round. Anna does the drops in her coffee, and she’s starting to experiment with edibles. There’s also a topical cream that you can rub directly into sore joints. We’ll experiment with all the methods and keep you readers posted.

This is my third post, and if you’ve made it this far, I just want you readers to know – I appreciate you, so here’s a great exercise to help you with core strength and torso rotation. Lunge Stance Push/Pull (why Anna hits it so far)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fitness, golf, las vegas, sports

What is Golf Fitness?

I get asked this question a lot. Another one would be, “how is golf fitness different from just fitness?”

Golf Fitness is a scientific process of training the body to produce maximum power.  It’s a relatively new pursuit, and thanks to the work of players like Gary Player, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, it has become a central part of every tour player’s routine. Men, Women, Junior and Senior.

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Lexi Thompson of the LPGA Tour

We don’t use golf clubs in our sessions. We use medicine balls, resistance bands, wobble boards and kettlebells.  Our training is broken up into:

1. flexibility training

2. posture work

3. balance and stability

4. power training.

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Tiger getting golf strong

But I’m getting ahead of myself. It starts with an assessment – a functional movement screen. The TPI screen only takes 15 minutes but it gives me everything I need to know about the athlete in front of me.  The client demonstrates some simple movements, I take notes and plug it into the computer. I take a look at the data, and from there I can go to work trying to fix the problems and improve range of motion.  Where muscles are tight, we lengthen them, when muscles are weak, we strengthen them.

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Senior Superstar Bernard Langer

You’d be amazed how much a golfer will improve just by addressing their posture, and the keys to good posture are flexibility and stability. Balance can definitely be improved, and this is especially critical for senior golfers. When working in unstable environments, the body naturally works to stabilize itself. Think stability balls, wobble boards, BOSUs and other tools that you see around the gym. Most of this training is bodyweight work with high repetitions.

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balance training on a BOSU

Once the client is in good posture, and can demonstrate good balance, it’s time for power training. Power can be described as a combo of strength and speed, and is best trained by performing explosive movements with low repetitions. It’s all about getting your fast twitch muscles going to create club head speed. Medicine ball throws, Plyometric jumps, dynamic bounding and kettlebells are examples of power training.  Of course, the kind of power training a senior golfer would perform would be a lot different from younger players, but senior golfers can really add distance to their shots with appropriately programmed power training. Every golfer is different, and knowing how to create the right program for each client is the real trick. It’s not cookie cutter at all.

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Nobody hits it farther than Rory McIlroy

 

So why is power so important? Power is important because in today’s golf, the long hitters are the money winners.  Everyone wants to hit it farther, from little girls to old men and everyone in between.  The most beautiful thing in golf is the lazy, effortless swing that results in the booming drive. Everyone who has ever played golf wants to hit the ball that way.

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Young Gary Player, pioneer of golf fitness

 

It also so happens, that in building the golf body, you look and feel great. You play golf and go through your day without back pain. You stand up straight,  move freely and without effort.  Your clothes start to fit better. Even if you don’t improve in golf, it’s totally worth doing.

But you will improve.

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dynamic bodyweight movement
fitness, golf, las vegas, sports

Welcome to Vegas Golf

Anya made a hole in one yesterday and Facebook is mad because she just started playing in October. I’m embarrassed to say how long I’ve been playing without an ace. My game is on the way up, though. Yesterday, I hit my longest drive of ever – 315 yards on the last at Eagle Crest. I’m really not that long, but crushed one and it rolled down a big hill. Still,  I got the feels  because I’m hitting it longer at 50 than I did at 30, and I’m pain free.  I’d have be more excited it, but my rookie wife canned one off the second tee and spent the rest of the round encouraging me to do the same.

“Come on.” she said at every tee. “Now it’s your turn.”

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Anya on the tee at Eagle Crest

Eagle Crest is a great course for a newbie like Anya, but it’s fun for veteran golfers, too.  It’s a par 60 – with par 4’s that let you get the driver out, and three sets of tees. Best thing about the course is the view. Sitting up there on the 18th tee box looking out over the Vegas skyline… you can’t help but crush your drive.

We moved to Vegas from Kyiv, Ukraine at the end of September, stayed on the south end of The Strip for a week, and moved into our Summerlin home on Oct 1st. We just missed the tragic music festival slaughter by a few hours, and it was heartbreaking and stunning as we’d been rubbing elbows with the festival crowd all weekend. What a start to our new lives..Still, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. 

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Arriving in Vegas, Sept 2017

I teach golf fitness and I’m certified by the Titleist Performance Institute. I work at a country club and teach some golf fit classes around town. I trained in SF and then LA, before I moved to Kyiv and eventually Vegas.  The greatest moment of my golf fitness career came while training a businessman who played in a big cash game every Sunday. He came in on Monday morning and said, “The guys in my foursome accused me of being on steroids.” 

While living abroad, I couldn’t play much, but I coached football and wrote golf articles for a fantasy sports company. The writing job required me to follow every tour on TV. I remember watching a PGA event in Vegas while sitting in an office building in snowy Kyiv . It really sucked to work in golf and not be able to play. Today, I live 5 minutes from TPC Summerlin and I can golf year round. This is surreal.

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Birdie putt in February

Anya is waiting for her Green Card, and without a job to fill her time, she’s working on her game.  She converted our guest bedroom into a chipping green and there’s a weighted club in there, some yoga mats. Didn’t expect that. We met and married in a golf free zone, and I figured she’d hate the game. Yesterday she posted a 6 over 36 on the front nine, including that ace. She is obsessed with Lexi Thompson. 

When we got to America, we bought Anya women’s starter set. That didn’t really work out.  Now she uses my old Taylor Made driver and a used set of irons. I got fit with the complete Callaway shmear and for the first time in my life, every stick in my bag is legit. 

It’s not just the clubs, though. We’ve been hitting the gym like late 90’s baseballers and doing all the TPI stuff. TPI HQ in Oceanside is out of control. Absolute heaven for a gym rat golf degenerate like myself. I had my swing analyzed, my functional movement checked, and I got a whole library of exercises to fix any conceivable flaw. I geeked out the whole weekend and now I can’t stop. That was in January. 

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TPI – golf fitness heaven

I watched some videos of my swing from yesterday. It looks like I’m not swinging as hard as I used to, but the ball is going farther… Anya aced the second hole. I feel fine after years of chronic pain. How did I get here? Well, keep reading and I will share all.  

My job is to share my passion for golf and fitness with my students. If you love golf, want to play better and without pain, or if you visit Las Vegas and want to keep up with the golf scene here, this blog is for you. If you just want to read the ramblings of a golf lunatic because you get it, welcome to VegasGolf.Blog.