I recently attended the World Golf Fitness Summit, an incredible conference hosted by Titleist that featured some of the world's leading experts in sports performance training. The speakers ranged from NFL Coaches to PGA and LPGA Movement Coaches to Olympic Team Coaches to a pitching guru -- really too many experts to name. I'll be writing several blogs based on what I learned at the WGFS, starting with some takeaways from Strength and Conditioning expert Mike Boyle. Many of you have probably seen or read Mike Boyle in Golf Digest, or have seen his blog. Whether you play tennis, hockey or golf, or just want to train injury-free, Boyle is your man.
Most people get to the gym, do a few stretches from their high school soccer days and then jump on a cybex machine. This formula, although common, is a recipe for disaster. As Boyle explained in his presentation, we all want the same thing when it comes to training. First, we want to remain injury-free. We want effective workouts that leave us feeling energized, not beaten to a pulp (he actually had a great word for the beaten to a pulp workouts: SHIT - stupid high intensity training). Second, we want to train to prevent future injuries. If your trainer understands functional anatomy and can screen you for potential kinks in your body's stability/mobility chain, you're in good hands. And third, regardless of our sport, we all want to train to improve our performance. We want to be stronger, faster, better.
So what's the best way to ensure our workouts hit the three goals Boyle mentioned? There's a formula:
1. Foam Roll
3. Dynamic Warm-Up
What does this mean to you? When you get to the gym, grab a foam roller and start working on the quality of your tissue. If you don't know how to foam roll, watch this video. Once you've achieved a therapeutic effect from rolling, stretch. Now we're working on tissue length. [A note on static stretching: There are quite a few studies indicating that static stretching often hinders athletic performance. That said, certain static stretches have their place. In this video, for example, you'll see Boyle perform the 90/90 hip stretch. The 90/90 is one of those static stretches that's excellent for those of you with immobile hips and/or low back pain. But also note the stretches he says to avoid]. After you stretch (if you need to) move on to your dynamic warm-up, getting the tissue nice and warm. Here and here are some ideas. After the dynamic warm-up, move on to your functional lifts. Squats, dead lifts, pushes, pulls -- the exercises aimed at tissue strength. Then, finally, go home and come back to the gym again a day or two later. In other words, get stronger -- now we're talking tissue tolerance.
And remember, it's not just about training. Rest and nutrition have just as much to do with your success as your workout program, if not more. See you in the gym!