Don’t be “that guy” this Thanksgiving…

Thanksgiving is finally here !  It should be a day spent with family and friends, enjoying great food, and enjoying the same old stories that can still make you laugh no matter how many times you’ve heard them.  I love fitness, and I am thankful for every single person in my life that allows me to do it everyday as my “job.”  However there are just some days that are meant to be enjoyed.  So here’s a list of things to NOT do tomorrow to avoid being “that guy”

1.  Your grandma doesn’t care if you are “paleo”.

So please… spare her the explanation that caveman didn’t have stuffing and for that reason you won’t be having any.  Whomever made it probably took a lot of pride in making it so have a piece, tell them how much you loved it and let them enjoy that they’ve made you happy. And let’s face it, it’s delicious.

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2.  Don’t post on social media about how your Thanksgiving workout makes you better than those who chose to stay home. #NoDaysOff  

 Every year I see Instagram pics or Facebook posts about how  “you’re gettin’ fat and I’m gettin trim” or… “Turkey Day or not, no excuses..”   I’m all for getting a workout a Thanksgiving workout in. We host one ourselves at Aspire Fitness.  But the reason we do it is to show thanks to the community we are a part of and to have a fun time with family and friends. Perhaps burn off some extra calories before the “feast”.

3.  Enough with the “healthy desserts” 

 If you have a food allergy and need to make a gluten free dessert than go for it. But other than that, there is absolutely no reason to try to make a gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, grain free, apple free,  Apple Pie!  There are 364 other days during the year where we can try to adhere to sound nutrition guidelines and clean up a dessert but Thanksgiving?!?! That’s the day you want to try and clean it up?  Sit back and enjoy a piece of your favorite dessert with family and friends. Be thankful you have your health to enjoy it and get back to the plan Friday morning.

And finally… something that has nothing to do with fitness…

4.  Put the cellphone away for the day… 

I’m plugged in more than anyone I know.  I’m always posting on Instagram/ Facebook etc but for one day try to be that engaged in those around you.  Posting, updating, sharing all that stuff is great and has a great ROI. But Gary Vaynerchuk said it best… “What’s the ROI on your mom?”  Spend the day “liking” and “sharing” stories with you friends and family, not on Facebook.

 

We hope you all enjoyed this lighthearted post.  If you enjoyed in and think a friend or family member might too, feel free to share it… just not at the dinner table!

Rainer and I are both sincerely thankful for you all allowing us to carry out our passion for fitness everyday. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your families!

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Part Two: Strength Training for Golf

Part 2 :  Strength Training for Golf

In Part 1 of this series we stressed the importance of improving your mobility and range of motion.  Without that mobility we won’t be able to get into the best position to drive the ball off the tee and do it pain free.

The next step in maintaining that mobility is to develop strength in the new positions with proper training.  Golf is traditionally a sport where athletes make two huge mistakes in their training. The first mistake is avoiding strength training all together for fear of getting “bulky” or stiff.  When strength training ,we aren’t looking  for large amounts of hypertrophy (muscle growth) we are looking to train in rep ranges that allow you to gain strength and produce more force.  The second mistake is choosing exercises the replicate the golf swing.  To get stronger you should focus on multi-joint movements with great form. Using weighted implements to try and simulate your swing can actually do more harm than good by throwing off your mechanics and how your body “remembers” the swing.

So let’s dive in. Here are 6 exercises that are staples in our golfer’s strength training programs.

*Note: Strength training should be challenging. You should only feel like you could have completed 1 or 2 more reps with good form. If you are able to do 2 or more reps more than what is listed you should choose a heavier weight for your next set or workout.

  • Half Kneeling Chop

This is one of the most important core exercises you can do for your swing. It helps teach you how to keep your core still while transferring force from your upper body. Having a stable core will help you transfer more force without any leaks during your swing.

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To set up, start with a bar or rope attached to the top of a cable column. You’ll begin on one knee with the inside knee up. Both the down and up knee should be at 90 degrees. In a diagonal motion keep the cable close to you and bring it down to your shoulder and then across your body. Keep your glute on the down leg tight and be sure that you remain as tall as you can.  Perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps on each side.

 

  • Suitcase Walk

Traditional core training focuses on the “outer” core muscles that we see in the mirror. While those muscles are important to train, most people neglect the deep stabilizing muscles closest to the spine. These deep stabilizers are your first line of defense in maintaining a proper spine position during your swing, keeping you from over extending or flexing.

One of the simplest exercises to hit these muscles is the Suitcase Walk. Grab the heaviest dumbbell or kettlebell you can carry without it leaning against you. Try to find a space where you can walk about 40 yds.  Walk as tall as you can as if you had a book on your head. Once you have walked as far as you can switch hands and head back. Perform 2-3 sets of varying distances.

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  • Deadlift

While golf is a rotational sport, it is still important to be strong while putting force into the ground to create power. One of the best exercise to develop this strength is the deadlift. Depending on your level of experience or strength you can use either a kettlebell or barbell. Remembering to make sure the exercise is difficult for anywhere from  3-6 reps.

To begin start by hinging your hips as far back as you can keeping back straight. Shoulders should be right over the barbell and your hips should be making a  “V” not an “L”.  Keeping the barbell as close to your body as possible press through your heels squeezing your glutes to finish at the top.  Focus on pulling the bar off the ground with your hips NOT your low back.

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  • Single Arm Bench Press

With a single arm bench press you are not only building up your chest and arm strength but your core is working extra hard to keep you stable. By developing upper body strength while also challenging the core makes this exercise a great bang for your buck. Set up on the bench so the shoulder you will be pressing with is free to move. Lower the dumbbell at about 45 degrees from your side and press back up.  Focus on keeping your other shoulder pinned to the bench so you aren’t rotating.  Find a weight that’s challenging for 6-8 reps on each arm and perform 2-3 sets.

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  • Split Squat

This exercise will help reinforce the mobility you achieved in your hips and build strength, stability and balance. Having strong stable hips is extremely important in driving through the golf swing.

Set up with the back and front leg at about 90 degrees. Keeping the weight shifted over the front heel drop the back knee straight down until it just about touches the ground. Press through the front heel and return to the top position trying to keep your back straight.  Once you can do 15 reps with your bodyweight, grab a pair of dumbbells that make the exercise challenging for 8-12 reps on each leg.

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Recap

There’s no reason that if done properly, a golfer should be hesitant to strength train. Gaining strength will help you drive the ball further, be more resilient to injury, and help maintain the mobility you gained in Part 1.  Give these exercises a shot and as always please let us know if you have any questions.

Stay tuned for our third and final installment of this series where we will cover some of our favorite power exercises for golf.

To stay up to date on this an all other posts feel free to subscribe to our email newslettter ! 

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3 Fitness Tips to Improve Your Golf Game This Off-Season

The first frost hit and all the courses are closing up. You pack your clubs away for the season and ask yourself, “How do I keep up the momentum I achieved at the end of the season?”  As a strength and conditioning coaches and Certified Coaches with Titlist Performance Institute (TPI) there are 3 main qualities we like to work on with our golfers in the off-season;  1. Improve range of motion and mobility in the hips and upper back 2. Build strength 3. Convert that strength to power. The combination of these three components can translate into a longer drive, lower score, and less aches and pains during your game.  In this 3 part series we will  break down each of these  qualities to give you some practical information you can get started on right away.  So let’s get started…

Part 1:  Move Better!

  1. Improve ROM and Joint Mobility

Have you ever worked with a golf pro and just couldn’t feel what they were asking you to feel from a particular drill?  They repeat their coaching cues of “turn your shoulders” , “turn your hips” , etc but you couldn’t seem to do it.  Sometimes the problem isn’t that you don’t understand what the coach is asking of you, but simply that the mobility needed at each of the joints involved is sub par.  If you are like most of our golfers, you sit in your car on the way to and from work combined with sitting all day when you get there. This can wreak havoc on the mobility at your hips and upper back. Mobility at both of these segments is extremely important for being able to get into the right position for a better golf swing.  Below we’ve listed three of our biggest bang for your buck mobility exercises to help loosen up the hips and upper back.

  • Hip/Quad Stretch

Being seated for an extensive period of time can cause your hip-flexors to become locked down and restrict extension of the hip.  When you can’t extend the hip you will find it extremely difficult to, as Tiger Woods described it, “activate the glutes” Without this hip extension, you will be less likely to finish your swing correctly, standing tall, hips extended for more power.

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To perform this stretch, place your back foot on an elevated surface and push slowly into the front of your hip. Try and stay as tall as you can and don’t lean back or arch your lower back. You should feel this stretch in your quad and hip on the down leg.    Hold for 45-60sec on each side.

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  • Side Lying Diagonal Reach

The thoracic spine, your upper back, is another area that’s suffers from being slouched over for 8 hours a day. Your upper back needs to be able to rotate to about 45-60 degrees to get into the best  position for your swing. If you can’t rotate through your thoracic spine well enough, your lower back will have to pick up the slack and over rotate which can lead to swing faults and possibly low back pain. Make sure you concentrate on moving from your upper back and not your lower back or shoulder joint.

 

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Lay on your side with the top knee bent at 90 degrees, supported by a med ball or pillow. Place the hand that’s closest to the floor on the bent knee to keep it in place. Next begin to turn reaching your free hand toward the ground behind you while  rotating from your upper back. If you are performing this correctly the up knee should not lose contact with the med ball and your hand should be in a diagonal line with your knee. You should feel a stretch through the upper back, chest and shoulder, NOT through the lower back .

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  • 90/90 Hips

Internal and external rotation of the hips is arguably one of the most important movements in the golf swing.  Lacking internal rotation of the lead hip can cause you to slice and poor external rotation can be costing you power as you attempt to rotate through the swing.  The seated 90/90 hip stretch is a fantastic way of killing two birds with one stone.

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Begin seated on the ground and position one leg in front of you so that it is at 90 degrees while the other leg is behind you also at 90 degrees. While keeping your chest up tall, try to pull yourself forward over your front leg keeping your belt buckle pointed straight ahead. While in this position you are working external rotation of the front hip and should feel a stretch on the outside part of your hip.  Keeping your legs in the same position, remain tall and rotate toward the back hip. Feel free to support yourself with your hands on the ground. You are now working on internal rotation of the back hip and should feel a deep stretch in the hip.  Perform 6-8 reps per side and then switch which leg is in front and repeat.

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Conclusion

While this is certainly not ALL we do with our golfers it is a fantastic place to start and can benefit anybody’s game.  An assessment is needed to truly determine which movements are right for you. Remember there is no tip or drill that can fix a flaw in your swing that is due to mobility. Give these 3 movements a shot and let us know what you think.  You’ll be in a better position to hit the ball further and with less pain than you were before.  Stay tuned for Part 2 where we break down some of the best strength training movements to help your improve your game and maintain the mobility you worked hard to gain.

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The BEST way to stay in shape when traveling…

One of the most common questions we get from our members is what to do while they are traveling, either on vacation or a busy work travel schedule.  We chose a question from Tyler Kimble who asks…

A busy work schedule leaves me little time for workouts and my nutrtition poor, what tips do you have for keeping a routine while on the road.”

When you are faced with limited time and limited equipment one of the single best things you can do to still get a great workout are complexes.  A complex is a series of exercises performed with one piece of equipment, with no rest and without putting the equipment down.  Assuming you are doing these workouts at a hotel your best choice would be to do a dumbbell complex.  The benefit here is that you don’t need a heavy pair of dumbbells to get the job done and most hotels will have at least up to 3olbs.

Here’s a great complex that hits all of the components of a great workout.  In each training session we’d hope hit each of our major movement patterns.   Squat, Hinge, Push, Pull, Single Leg and Core. 

The complex we chose to demonstrate hits all of these in 3 simple movements.  Perform each of these exercises with for anywhere from 6-12 each exercise depending on the dumbbells you have available.  If possible time how long it takes you to complete the first round and then set your rest period to match it. Shoot for 4-7 rounds depending on time.  Check out the video below and as always if you have any questions be sure to let us know on the Facebook post!

DB Complex. 

DB Ski Swings → DB Squat to Press → Alternating Reverse Lunges → Renegade Rows

 

 

 

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