This is part of a series on the simple movement tests you can do that will enable a TPI golf fitness professional to determine what your golf strengths and weaknesses are. We've looked at a couple of different exercises already: the pelvic tilt and the pelvic rotation. This week, we're going to look at the overhead deep squat.
The overhead deep squat is one of the most informative tests you can perform on a golfer. The deep squat portion of the test is used to test the mobility of your hips, knees, and ankles. When the overhead reaching portion is included, it also assesses mobility of the shoulders and the thoracic spine.
To do the overhead deep squat:
- Begin by standing with feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing forward.
- Grasp a club or a dowel with both of your elbows bent 90 degrees.
- Keep your grip, and stretch out your arms directly overhead, keeping the shaft in line with the head and over the feet.
- Next, squat down as far as possible, while keeping the club as high above the head as possible. Stop the test if you have any pain or discomfort, if you lose your balance, or if you are forced to lift your heels off the ground or move your arms forward.
What we're looking for are these things when you're at the bottom of the squat:
- Your upper torso should be parallel with or more vertical than your shinbone.
- Your femur should be below horizontal
- Your knees are aligned over your feet
- Your feet are pointing forward (not flared)
- The club or dowel is aligned with your feet.
If you're having trouble meeting these criteria, I'll need to watch you do the exercise to see what the exact cause is. Meanwhile, there are a few exercises you can do to increase your mobility in a way that should help you with this test:
Use a massage stick, golf club, or foam roller search the back of your calves for point tenderness. Rub up and down over the tender spot to break up any trigger points or adhesions in the muscle for up to 30 seconds. Search for two or three spots.
Sit butterfly style (bottoms of your feet touching each other) with you back against the wall. Grab the head of a club with the right hand and the grip with the left. Sitting tall against the wall, try to elevate the right hand diagonally as far as possible, using the left hand and the club to help get the hand up high. Hold for two full breaths and release. Repeat on both sides.
Crisscross Deep Squats:
Attach each handle of some exercise tubing to the lower part of a doorway. You can do this by opening the door and sliding the handle behind the door on the hinge side, and then closing the door and wedging both ends of the tubing between the door and the door frame. It should be wedged between knee and ankle height. Flip the slack in the tubing over so that it forms a loop you can step into. Step with both feet into the loop, so that it stretches around your legs between your knees and your ankles. Step away from the door, and hold a club or dowel high over your head. Now try to perform the deep squat. You still may not be able to, but the resistance will help stabilize you and force your body to move in the way it's supposed to.
That's all for this week! If you've found this information useful, please share it with a friend!
TPI performance test 2: Pelvic Rotation test
A few newsletters ago, I told you that it was possible to assess what someone's golf strengths and weaknesses were by having them perform a couple of simple motion tests. This week, I'm going to talk about the pelvic rotation test, which is one way that TPI fitness professionals assess a person's golf fitness.
You might be saying to yourself, "But didn't we do this one already?" Nope, that was the Pelvic Tilt Test, which assesses the overall mobility of your hips and lumbar spine. The Pelvic Rotation test tests your ability to rotate your lower body independently of the upper body. Each test tell us different things about your strengths and weaknesses.
To do this test:
Get in a normal golf stance.
Cross your arms across your chest, with your left hand on your right shoulder and your right hand on your left shoulder. Your hands should just be resting on the front of your shoulder, no need to pull and grab.
Now, without moving your upper body, try to rotate your lower body (belt and below) to the right and left several times.
The motion should be smooth and easy, with no motion at all above your waist, and no excessing bending of the knees (a little bit is okay.) If you are having movement above the waistline, I can assess whether you have a mobility or stability problem by holding your upper body stable for you. If you still can't move your lower body independently, you have a mobility problem. Otherwise, the problem is with stability.
If you have a mobility problem, you need corrective exercise and possibly some medical intervention. Degenerative joint disease and spine problems can cause a lack of mobility, but so can simple tightness in the muscles in your back. We can work together with your doctor to determine the cause.
If you have a stability problem, then you may need help un-learning bad habits you may have picked up working out on circuit machines. You may also need to simply increase your level of coordination. There are exercises you can do to remedy both of these things.I'll give you a few exercises to start:
- Stand facing the mirror.
- Keep your shoulders facing forward, and try to rotate the hips right and left without moving the upper body.
- Reach maximum rotation but don't force a stretch.
- Having the feedback from the mirror should help with stability and coordination.
Step Change of Direction
- Grab a golf club and get into golf posture.
- Put your feet together, keep them planted, and raise your golf club (as you would in a regular swing) until it is pointing down-range toward the "target."
- Now, in one fluid motion, sidestep outward with the down-range foot while simultaneously performing a backswing.
- Rapidly change directions with the club and make a full forward swing around a stable, posted left side. Focus on maintaining a good, stable core throughout the exercise.
- This exercise should also help with stability and coordination.
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I always try to keep up with the latest knowledge available to fitness professionals. This past week, I traveled across the country to upgrade my knowledge and check out the cutting edge of golf fitness.
I visited golf's premiere trade show, the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. While I was there, I attended a TPI fitness professional certification class in order to keep my knowledge fresh.
Dr. Greg Rose, founder of TPI
When I first got my TPI certification, I was one of only 4,000 TPI-certified golf fitness pros in the world. Now there are more than 18,000 of us. It's become the standard in golf fitness. Touring golf pros travel with an entourage of experts, from swing coaches to doctors to nannies. Nowadays, 23 of the top 30 tour players travel with a TPI fitness pro. 16 of the last 18 major tournament winners have a TPI pro in their stable. The job of the TPI fitness pro is to assess the body as a continuous chain of kinetic energy.
TPI's philosophy is that every there isn't one perfect way to swing a club, but there is one correct way for each golfer, and that is determined by the golfer's body and how it moves most efficiently. To achieve an efficient swing, a golfer has to be screened by a TPI pro, who can give a detailed assessment of biomechanics, physical fitness, movement quality, current health, and history.
In Orlando, I was able to refine my assessment techniques. Because the body is an interconnected system, some of the techniques are not that obvious. For example, if you cannot perform a squat with good form, you will most likely have a swing fault called "reverse spine angle." By observing and correcting subtle links between your mobility and your golf game, I can consistently improve your score.
If you would like a COMPLEMENTARY assessment by a TPI certified fitness pro, contact me at (518) 281-3772
Once we've completed the screening, we'll use the results to create a unique plan for you, including fitness training, corrective exercise, stretches, and movement patterns.
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In other newsletters, I've talked about the five pillars of the kinetic chain: flexibility, balance, strength, endurance, and power. Now it's time to talk about Power, the last, but not least, link in that chain.
Power is key for optimal performance, and to have it you need to develop two things: speed and strength.
In order to increase power, you must first have mobility of the joints and full range of motion in the muscles. Power in the golf swing is measured as club head speed.
Power is developed in stages. Speed development begins with the lower body, progresses to the torso, and is completed with the wrist angle of the head arm. It is a combination of all these body segments working together to develop club head speed. It is necessary for each segment of the body to contain levels of strength. If you're going to increase your club speed from 95 mph to 100 mph, the distance you hit the golf ball would increase significantly. The equipment you need are medicine balls, tubing, and TRX suspension.
With a partner or next to a wall, get in golf stance and mimic golf swing with a 2-4 pound medicine ball, ten times each side. Then perform the same movement with resistance tubing ten times each side, then execute the TRX standing back pull 16 times. After that, do five body-weight-only squats with a golf rotation, and do five more, this time rotating in the opposite direction.
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