Getting Ready for Golf – Underrated and Under Used Golf Exercises.

Golf season is coming up soon. With that in mind many of you are have pulled out the golf clubs and started practicing your swings. Some of you have also started hitting the gym lifting weights and getting you ready for the golf season. It is important to get the body resilient  to the repeated stress on your back and shoulders. Often people will focus on generating power with explosive lifts however one area that plays a huge role yet is often overlooked is the braking system. The bodies ability to absorb energy as well as redirect it is extremely important to a golfers game. If you cannot slow the club down after contact with the ball you are just going to keep torquing the back more and more tiring it out and eventually breaking it down. Working on slow eccentric lifts, anti-rotational and anti extension core exercises, hip and shoulder mobility and pelvic floor stability can not only help your game by improving your shot distance but also keep your back fresh as the rounds add up.

The best way to absorb teach the body how to absorb energy and force is to vary the movement with things like slow eccentric movements, using pauses or pulses can force the core to work my efficiently. Varying speed with controlled downward movements can help teach muscles to absorb different forces, make joints more resilient to stresses allowing you to improve your golf game through better energy storage and redirection. As well as keep you more fresh as you play. Now the important thing to remember is that you should have good fundamentals before adding pulses and pauses they can be hard on the low back during exercises like squats and deadlifts. As well many golfers spines may not be best suited for heavy weight but instead for rotation and because they are better  at rotation heavy loading may not be the best for your spine health. These 2 exercises can help to strengthen the back with out compromising its health.

Pulse Squats

The pulse squat is a great way to teach the body how to absorb forces quickly and redirect them. The important thing to remember is that you should limit how much weight you place on the body. This is not a max lift but an excellent core engagement exercise. If you have joint or back problems this might not be as good of an idea just due to the strain on the back, a body weight variation maybe better.


Anti Rotation Exercises

Anti rotation exercises are often overlooked in most core programs yet a lot of low back pain can be attributed to weak or slow to activate, low back muscles and a golf swing is a fast powerful movement that requires the low back to accelerate and then decelerate very quickly. Adding the paloff press is a great way to strengthen the core for golf. Use a kneeling or half kneeling position to start and focus on quality. Many people worry about how heavy but the key is not so much weight but quality and core engagement. To add even more difficulty try narrowing your base making your knees and feet in compete alignment of kneeling on a 2 x 4 piece of wood or something to narrow your footprint.



Fundamentals Of Speed Training Sprint Drills and Their Different Uses

Sprints are some of the best power drills out there they develop power, coordination and strength. That is why if you can add some sprints to your workout you can improve performance as well as physique goals. The key thing to remember though is there are lots of sprint types and each one has their own. So lets look at some sprint drills and variations to improve speed. Harness drills were left out due to the fact that they are generally partner

Lean Fall Sprint – this is the best beginning sprint drill. It teaches a person the basics, the falling movement allows you to feel the forward lean of sprinting. Many people become to upright when the sprint so this is the best way to teach the sprint. Starting in a staggered stance allows you to learn the proper push and explosive movement needed for speed and sprinting.

Ball Drop Sprint – this is a fun and excellent drill for sprints. You learn to read and react for sport plus create a game out of it. Use tennis balls for beginners or use reaction balls to add more difficulty to this drill. This drill helps take the thinking out of the sprints at times which can also help with those who over think their sprints.

Knee Down Sprint – I love this one for people who lack first step explosiveness. The placing the knee down in a 90 degree angle forces you to generate power from a deadstop position. The fact that you are in this disadvantaged position forces you to generate a lot of power just to get started. The arm drive for this drill is also very important, as you are starting from this dead stop position you need to generate a lot of power at the beginning.

The Square Hurdle Sprint – This fast footed drill is great for soccer players and sports that require fast footwork that leads to a fast sprint. A fairly technical drill, you need to move your feet quickly and then explode out. This drill is all about minimizing contact time with quick feet but then creating a powerful drive to get to the next position.

The Prone Pop up Sprint – Lying prone on your stomach you pop up with a push up and into a sprint. This drill forces a fast leg drive to get your leg under you, plus if you are and athlete who sometimes will get knocked down in you sport but need to get back up this can be useful in sports like football or non contact sports like volleyball where you dive to make a play but need to get up and back into position. If you want to add more challenge you can do thing like lying on your back forcing the participant to roll over and then sprint.

Flying Starts – The flying start is a very popular drill to develop leg turnover which is key to speed. Start with a slow jog and over a stretch of 10-30 meters you add more speed until you hit your cone and sprint full out. This drill lengthens your stride which is great when you need to cover lots o ground and open field.

Med Ball throw sprints – This drill is going to force you to absorb energy and redirect it. It also makes you lean into the sprint with the release of the ball forcing you to catch yourself and generate speed.

Single leg Hurdle Jumps to sprint – Absorbing and redirecting energy is the name of the game when it comes to the sprint. This drill forces you to absorb energy with every hop and then at the end take off in a sprint forcing you accelerate quickly. The post activation potentiation should be high in this drill because muscles have been primed with the hops you should feel more explosive.

Lateral Shuffle to sprint – this is a little agility but also a sprint as it teaches athletes to move laterally quickly and then to explode forward. Many sports require a read with a lateral movement and then to accelerate to the ball or play. This drill is great for that part of any game.

The Build-up sprint – Starting with ankle step, building to high calves to high knees and then to s sprint this is an excellent warm up drill or to develop faster turnover in your sprints.

Hop Back & Sprint – This is a very intense exercise even though it can look very easy. The hop back drill requires a quick to foot hop back and then to explode out into a sprint. If you have tight ankles or poor mechanics this drill should not be done. However the quick load and explode is very musch like sports and you can develop a tremendous amount of power.

What’s Your Number? Ignore It and Stay Resilient My Friends

In-season training is a tricky time for athletes to train. You want to do the best you can be as good as you can be and improve each day. There is a saying in training circles of getting better 1% each day (I am sure taken from somewhere else). The idea being that if you improve 1% each day you will be so far ahead by the end of the year. This is great but when it comes to in-season training this can be a little difficult cause how do you quantify this? Usually the main way people want to do this is by focusing on how much more they lift. The problem with this idea is that it really works against the first goal of your training during the season, which is to keep the body more resilient and healthy so that you play more and practice more. If you can get stronger great, you increase conditioning great but if all you are doing is spending time at physio or in the therapy room you are more than likely not optimizing your. So lets look at some gauges for training, some good and some bad.

Improve by 10% per week?


A general number i hear, is if you are starting to lift a goal of improving by 10% per week. I feel this is a solid number improvement to be around. The key is to remember that this is just a general rule you do not need to be there all the time. If you stay they same weights that is fine too. That is because while improving is fine the quality of the movement in season is more important.

Focus on the sweat?

Another one I have seen is focusing on how fatigued you feel after the workout? Many people will describe a good workout as being very sweaty or feeling sore after their workout. This mindset means you will burn out eventually. The nervous system can only handle so much before it burns out so using this gauge in season as to whether you are improving or got the right work in is not a good plan. Now does that mean you cannot do conditioning? No you can do some conditioning most practices work in a more long low intensity conditioning so a short high intensity session for 4 – 10 minutes can be a great conditioning session. The key is to keep the volume down make your conditioning shirt but sweet.

The ways i like to test to see if there is improvement in-season are


1) How do you move, this can be done in a few ways first by assessment, things like a movement screen can help you see if you are staying on track and keeping your body from being unbalanced. At the end of the day having a repeatable system is the most important part. My personal preference is the functional movement screen. It is simple and quick. You don’t need to make this more complicated than it needs to be.

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On top of a good testing system you have to remember every session is a testing/assessment session. Focus on good movement while training making sure your back is straight, weight is loaded properly and you are moving correctly. With all the video analyzing technology out there you can get lots of feedback for you and your athlete. Plus you can use it to assess previous sessions to see if there is any changes in technique from session to session.

2) How high you jump, when training if your goal is to perform in your sport a great way to test explosiveness is vertical height. It is fast easy and should not put too much strain on the body. For athletes this would be my first choice, it is performance related test that again is quick and easy. It tells you how well the program is working, how fatigued the athlete is as well.


Remember that in-season training is about maintaining and keeping healthy. If you can improve through the season then great but you should nor worry about maxing out each lift or doing German volume training to bulk up while you are likely stressing the body. Using testing measures other than how much heavier you are lifting, should keep you fresher.

Get Your Priorities in Order – Weightloss Priorities

When you are starting a weight loss plan  prioritizing your efforts is one key that we often do. We start with either diet or exercises and that is it. Yet there is so much more to a good weightloss plan. While Diet and exercises are near or at the top they are not entirely 1 and 2. So lets look at which should be the main priorities. Now while these

1) Diet


Here is the start for most people and the thing you that will get you where you want to go. At the end of the day calories in and calories out will play the most significant part of your weight loss journey. If you up your calories and increase your workout you will gain weight. If you maintain calories and workout more you might lose some weight but a typical workout burns maybe 400 – 600 calories ( I give a wide range because it all depends on effort) However diet can play a bigger effect. The key is to focus on simple solutions, things that work in your life, change nutrition habits DO NOT worry about meal plans, calorie counting or eating at specific times these are not priorities for some one beginning a weightloss journey.

2) Sleep

beautiful girl sleeps in the bedroom

This is where many people make a mistake and while getting out and exercising is important many people today are stressed and running on too little sleep. The average american gets 6.8 hours and this is not enough. If you are not getting enough sleep  a whole cascade of hormones start to work or not work. Hormones like leptin a hunger suppressing hormone start to lower. While hormones like cortisol which helps the body to deal with stress properly, start to go up. While this is not the end of the world if you are chronically low on sleep these imbalances become more pronounced and affect the system. Now the beauty of this system is that you can fix it very simply and it start by getting more sleep. If you are sleep deprived try getting some more sleep the system will fix its self so try getting 8 hours of sleep, if you can even try to get 2 weeks of 9 to 10 hours of sleep. While the deficit is cumulative the recovery is also cumulative. Another thing to try is to get a nap; a nap is sleep but try to get them in blocks of 20 minutes to avoid sleep inertia.

3) Exercise


While I have this at number 3 that does not mean it is not extremely important. The problem with exercises is more that if you do not have the other 2 aspects in order then you will be swimming against the stream. While you may get to your goals you may be working harder than you need to. This is especially true in men, we tend to start with the workout plan trying to be the tough guy by not sleeping or eating crap, not getting our goals because we think we can just out work all our bad habits.  The biggest factor for any weightloss plan is to have a well rounded plan. In your plan have strength training focus, a circuit training focus and a cardio focus. Strength train at least 3 and up to 4 times a week depending on how much muscle you want to put on. The circuit training will will kick start your metabolism with the high intensity lifting building muscle and burning fat. The cardio will help with burning fat at a low pace letting your body recover as well.

4) Breathing


This is one of those things we all do and yet put very little focus on it. Let’s face it we never put any thought into it but if you really think about it you can go weeks without food,  days without water yet only minutes without breathing. Your breathing controls stress levels, recovery and even the air you breathe is releasing the fat you burned. Yet you never think about how important it really is. Now while it is last on this list that does not mean it is not important. It is something you need to work on. Breathing exercises can help you recover faster, keep stress levels lower and increase your performance in the gym. Start with some basic meditation exercises, focus on being in a quiet room try to breathe deeply through the nose and pushing the air you breathe to the bottom of your feet. Followed by a strong exhale through the mouth like your blowing up a balloon.  You can also add breathing post workout or preworkout to help you cool down or get the diaphragm ready to go. Breathing is a valuable tool for your toolkit and something you should have for your weightloss plan, plus it does not take that much time to get your results.



Why You Should Start Your Fitness Plan Now

The holidays are coming and that means the New Year is also coming. People start to look towards the new year and start their fitness/weigtloss journey. But why are you waiting until then to start your wellness goals. While, yes it is busy around this time of year, it is a great time to start getting active.

First there is not perfect time to start working out, so you need to get that out of your head. Every person I have trained that has lost weight, built muscle or attained whatever goal they deemed worthy of their time and effort, has done so despite the challenges in their life. If it is important to start now and not put it off. Saying to yourself this is a priority and not pushing it off making it less of a priority in your mind. Remember waiting will make it less of a priority in your mind. What you are really saying in your inner dialogue is that this goal is not important.

Now does this mean you are not busy right now? Probably not. This time of year is usually very busy but getting started now while it is busy can be an excellent plan.

First you are stressed right now and you are going to need to find ways to lower your stress levels. Getting in 20 minutes of activity will help you lower these stress levels, fight off colds and flues and just make you feel better. This will save you time in the end and give you more energy this season.

Secondly you are busy so this is a good prep time to learn that missing a workout due to time constraints is not the end of the word. At the end of the day you put your head down on the pillow and try again tomorrow. Trust me there will never be a stretch in your life that will go perfectly as planned, learning to shake off fitness setbacks is part of the process.

Finally gyms are usually more empty around the holiday season, that means less people around so you do not have to fight through the gym crowds of the new year and more trainers around at the gym to help you get started, teach you proper technique. Use this time to get extra coaching and teaching without the stress of waiting for equipment or help.

The Violent Symphony of Movement & Developing Athleticism and Explosiveness in Youth Training

Any sport requires a lot of skill, speed, strength, power and so many more things. Putting this together into an explosive movement is what I call a Violent Symphony. Imagine an orchestra playing a very powerful song, all the instruments must work together to create the music, if something is off it can ruin the whole piece. The same happens in movement. If 1 movement is off the whole movement can be off. So the key is to create movement from its base and then build it up. Much like any musical group you need to master your basics like chords and instruments before playing a symphony. However to  do this will require a few steps.

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  1. Determine your Training Age and Long Tern Athletic Development Goals

These things go together, you need to figure out where you are starting at and where you want to go. When I work with youth teams beginning their training journey. I need to break the training down to the fundamentals. This means picking basic strength, agility and even conditioning movements, as well as adjusting them for the training level you are at, the Long term athletic development comes into play when charting where you are going, are you a believer in making great athletes first, or train more to the sports needs, when do you make the shift from body weight, general movement to more sports specific or strength (ie weight training); how much practice vs gameplay vs dryland do you need, where does school and other activities come into play these are all important questions to be answered with varying answers for each.  A timeline also needs to be looked at is it a 5 year timeline, 10 year or maybe just 1 year to get ready. As a parent a coach and even youth athlete you will have to answer these questions first and foremost. This is important because without knowing the plan and timeline we may over train or under train. We maay miss the goals of this violent symphony of movvement.


2) What Does the Sport Need

The next step you need to determine is what your sport needs. While overall general athleticism is always important certain sports may require, so changes may need to happen between training programs. Hockey players will need to really focus on hip and groin health. Volleyball on ankle, hip and shoulder health. Basketball players may have to adjust based on their height. All these things will need to be looked at.


3) Control Yourself

Everyone wants to do the crazy cool clean, heavy deadlift or box jump or so many other exercise. Yet very few people want to put in the work of learning to control your body and move through the correct pattern. To do this Slow controlled movements and isometric holds are the best. Isometric exercises like lunge holds or squat holds allow you to find the correct position, this is a reason i prefer to put them into any early program i gives a great workout while allowing you to develop some.  The slow movements involving slow controlled lowering of weights are great, the biggest key here is to do slow controlled movements paired with explosive away movements.


Isometric Hamstring Holds             


Split Squat Holds to learn correct positioning


4) Learn to train explosively

Training explosively means learning to go all out. Many times people leave a little left in the tank when training when doing explosive jumps lifts or other exercises learn to go as hard as possible and take the brakes when needed. If you are trying to train more endurance then train more endurance, but if you are trying to create that violent symphony you need to be explosive. As well do not overload yourself, many people will do power exercise with with heavy weight, while strength is the building block to any powerful movement doing it with speed and purpose is also key.



Ski Season Training for the Over 30 Crowd

The snow has fallen and that means it is time for you to get your skis out.  If you are over 30, have a full time career. Getting your body ready for the slopes can be helpful for your performance but also for Monday when you are back in the office. With that in mind lets look at how to train for ski season.


The key to a ski strength program is to strengthen the legs but spare the lower back. With that in mind an emphasis on leg training is important, they take the primary forces from the hill and help you to hold those tuck positions down the hill. Saving the back healthy is key too because that tuck position can be hard on the back. It is also important to engage the core and legs in movements that require loading and exploding. On the hill you need to absorb these forces quickly and under control.


There are so many great exercises for you to do but really if you stick to the tried and true squat or deadlift variations you should be pretty safe. If you have back problems over 30 personally I would advise you to stick with Front Squat, Goblet squats, Trap Bar Deadlift or a number of other exercise. The back squat and traditional deadlift can potentially cause more harm then good, especially if you are training by yourself with no one around to correct your technique.  The time you place muscles under tension  is going to be more important, start with slow lowering movements and fast more explosive. The slow eccentric movements will help you absorb any bumps on the hill, plus having strong hips will be important to hold your ski tuck down the hill. While strength is important worrying too much about your 1 rep max cannot be your focus. Your ability to handle stretches of intensity is what your body needs, resiliency is what will help you perform on the hill and still get to the office in one piece on Monday.  Your training needs to keep you fresh and fast but not at the sacrifice of your day to day life.

Excellent Primary Leg Exercises – Front Squats and Trap Deadlifts; focus on slow lowering movements and explosive up movements. Add more reps as you go keeping in mind to keep your technique sharp.

Excellent secondary lifts – step ups and leg curls


Explosive hip flexors able to withstand the jarring movement of the hill  are also  important to absorb Since you are stuck in a crouch position the hills and make quick turns.  If you are on a hill with lots of bumps the hip flexors are going to absorb the forces the more you can absorb either by speed of the hips or not have your hips give out You need to focus on controlled movements in the beginning that allow you to learn proper movement but build up to explosive exercises that allow you to absorb and redirect energy. The thing with Hip flexor excersises is that they are not promary excerssises but secondary ones. adding them to a primary or warm up can help wwith your skiing.

Excellent Hip Flexor Exercises – Deadbbugs, Mountain Climbers, High Knees, Pop Skip Float.


Core strength is important quick turns require a strong core but those quick turns also mean you also need to As well being in a crouched position all weekend and then sitting at the desk all week is killer on the back. One of my favorite and very underappreciated exercises for the core is the elbow palm plank it requires lots of core stability and also the ability to absorb forces in the core. The key though is to build up the strength of the core. If you are someone who cannot sit for 5 minutes without back pain start small and simple. Birddogs,, deadbugs, wall side planks maybe where you should start. The key is to train smart and keep the back healthy.


When it comes to a ski program for the over 30 crowd. Mobility is a must while the strength training takes all the focus. Mobility is a more important factor, keeping your joints mobile requires mobility in the muscles but also the coordination of muscles so a well designed stretching and corrective circuit that you can do daily will help immensely.


The biggest things I would say for those over 30 looking to hit the slopes is have a well designed program that focuses on strength and mobility.