Do You Feel Stiff? Part 3: Golf Fitness Trainer, Charlotte

/

Just a quick rewind. In Part 1 of this article series, I covered the fact that to Play Golf Better, you first need to be able to move better. And, to move better you need more flexibility, mobility, and tissue elasticity.

I also noted that the best athletes in any sport are typically the best movers. The athletes who exhibit fluidity and grace in their movement patterns. They tend not to be restricted in relation to the requirements of their chosen sport.  Take a look at these swings. Do the movements of these golfers look restricted in any way?

In Part 2 of this article series, I began to introduce you to what fascia is and how to keep it healthy.

Fascia is a continuous web of connective tissue that connects and shapes every muscle. And just like the strength band this athlete is using, to keep it healthy and elastic, you need to:

  1. Hydrate it
  2. Manipulate it (massage it)

You also may remember that the act of massaging your muscles and fascia gives us the window of opportunity to stretch those tissues with greater ease.

Step 3 is to Elongate (stretch)

There are many methods or types of stretching. Each one has benefits and some work better than others, depending on the athletes’ goals and objectives. I am going to talk about a 2 step process I have been using for most of my career that has been of great benefit to my clients. The first type of stretching is going to be isolating a ‘muscle’ or body segment.

One way to do that is with a method known as Active-Isolated Stretching. In this method, you would are activating (contracting a muscle on one side of a joint to work, while the muscle on the other side of the joint reflexively relaxes).

  1. Target and isolate the muscle being stretched.
  2. Hold the stretch for just 2 seconds
  3. Repeat for 10 repetitions
  4. Don’t forget to breath. Exhaling at the end range of motion will help you relax into the stretch.

 

I learned AIS from Jim and Phil Wharton, while I was living in NY. They made the method popular amongst runners, especially marathon runners, helping them improve gait length and recovery time.

Another great method of myofascial stretching is known as ELDOA (a French acronym). ELDOAs are 1-minute postural exercises/stretches designed by French Osteopath Guy Voyer. These stretches not only stretch the myofascial tissue but give space to the targeted joints they are designed for. Below is an example of an ELDOA exercise.

 

Step 4 is to Integrate (yes, more stretching)

In this last step, we are adding all the pieces together. We have rolled the myofascial tissue, giving us a window of opportunity to stretch it and create some space in the joints. Now we are going to do what I call Integrated Stretching. Now for a workout, integrated stretching (sometimes referred to as movement prep), will mirror the strength training exercises to come.

For example: 

If during our workout we were going to do a loaded split squat exercise, we would most certainly do an unloaded version of that pattern in your warm-up.

I first became aware of the term and concept of movement preparation in the 2005 book Core Performance, by Mark Verstegen. For most people in the fitness industry, the concept was revolutionary.

In 2007 I began to take yoga classes and soon realized that many of the Core Performance Movement Prep stretches were yoga-inspired. The main difference was that the Movement Preparation stretches were only held for a few seconds each and you could complete your entire movement prep routine in just a few minutes.

Forms of ‘Integrated Stretching’:

By integrated I mean that you stretch multiple muscles, along multiple joints in multiple planes of motion from the ground up.

Other forms of integrated stretching are Dance, Yoga, Martial Arts practice, and Tai Chi.

All of these ground-based forms of movement require that you shift your weight from one leg to the other, shifting your center of mass to a new base of support. This is what is necessary to be a good golfer. The pressure shifts from the lead leg to the trail leg and then back to the lead leg in less than 2 seconds. If you struggle with balance, you will struggle with golf.

Brett’s Bottom Line:

To play golf better, you need to move better. To move better, you need to ‘Optimize Your Elastic Potential’. Without elastic potential, you will struggle to get into the positions you want. Now you understand to role fascia plays a role in how we perceive, store and transfer forces during dynamic movement. The dynamic control of functional movement is deeply integrated on the body’s perception of the outside world.

To keep your fascia healthy and your body moving great use these 4 principles:

  1. Hydrate
  2. Manipulate
  3. Elongate
  4. Integrate

They will help you feel better, move better, and play golf better.

“A Golf Pro is basically telling you what they think this is the best way to express your physiology to move the ball. But if you physically can’t do it  —- you’re going to spend thousands of hours with someone who has become a master at addressing your movement compensations

BUT If you show up with the full capacity to move the way a golf pro wants you to move —- you can use their expertise to become a better golfer because now you possess the movement foundation to do so.” __Kelly Starrett, author of The Supple Leopard