Friday, April 24, 2009

Another Fitness Tip From Joey D...

We want to introduce a new Q&A feature here on the Joey D GolfGym Blog. A lot of you have found Joey D online and have been sending in your golf fitness related questions. Once a week we'll randomly choose a question or two and Joey will answer here on the blog. Add Joey on Facebook and fire in your questions, or hit him up on his Twitter page.

Mark C. of Charlotte, NC: "Joey, great blog. A friend recently turned me on to in and I'm officially hooked. My question for you... A chilly winter here in North Carolina and I literally haven't played a full round since football season. After a good 4-5 golf-free months, I went out and played last weekend and I'm beyond sore. What are some exercises I can do to get the juices flowing and get my somewhat out of shape, 42-year old body back in playing shape?"

Mark, thanks for the question.

Your problem is pretty common as that 'weekend warrior' mentality is the norm for a lot of guys your age. You get up, you go to work, you live your life and you squeeze in some golf and/or fitness where you can. It's night and day from the schedule Tour player keep, averaging 5-6 rounds per week, 4-5 trips to the fitness trailer and constant work with swing coaches, biomechanics coaches or their strength & conditioning guys. Not to mention that the season lasts virtually the whole year as the Tour always goes where it's warm -- Florida in spring, the Midwest in summer and California, Vegas, Arizona and Florida in the winter months. 

The same way you're cleaning up your clubs and getting the dust off after they've been on the shelf all winter, you need to do the same with your body. Implement a flexibility program and be consistent with it. It doesn't have to be long, but you need to stick with it and do it several times per week if you want it to work. Pick about 6 to 8 stretches that work for you. I've featured some here on the site and again, I suggest bands and balls. The 90/90 exercise demonstrated a few weeks back. The ball work I suggested to Kevin from Alabama last week. Those are a solid starting point.

Shake off the dust. Reach down and touch your toes. Swing a club. Do the hamstrings feel tight? Is the back sore? Do you feel like you have limited range of motion and restriction? Do an assessment, address where you think there's an issue and stretch accordingly.

Build an extra 20-30 minutes into your day for a stretch. 10-15 in the morning and another 10-15 before you go to bed. Do this consistently and you'll feel it paying off over time. Start off every other day and make sure to let the muscles heal when you're sore. The same way I preach 'active rest' to my guys out here, I suggest the same for you at home. Giving your muscles recovery time is as important as the actual stretching.

I know I take some ribbing for always pushing the PowerBandz, but people need to understand that I created that product for a reason. Exercises that allow you to mimic the golf swing are going to create muscle memory over time. Again, there's a reason we use PowerBandz in the trailer and there's a reason guys like Luke Donald and Zach Johnson use them religiously and ordered some for their home gyms. They work, which is why so many Tour pros now swear by them.

Stretching. Band work. Ball work. Movement, strength and flexibility. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

One last exercise for those of you who don't yet have balls or bands to train with, grab a 7 or 8 iron and try the following: Hold the club horizontally, with your left or right hand on the grip and your other hand by the club head. Take that club and run it down from the middle of your thigh to the front of your shin. Hold this hamstring stretch for a good 8 to 10 seconds. Don't bounce when you stretch. Slowly go into your end range of motion. When you reach the edge (re: your end range of motion), stop, count it out and go from there.

From there, raise the club chest level (holding it the same way) and slowly rotate left to right, while keeping your eyes fixed on a point straight ahead. Eyes fixed, arms extended, move the club all the way to your back swing (for most of you, your right), take it back to center and then move all the way to the left, eyes still fixed forward and arms extended. This exercise helps with rotational flexibility and building rotational strength/awareness in the Neuroreceptors. As the muscles fire they send signals to all the spinal rotators.

This should give you a solid starting point. Do this for the next few months and get back to me as I'd like to hear where you're game and body are at by summer. Remember what I always say -- fix your body, fix your swing.


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