Exercise progression is the path to success and it’s better to make golf fitness progressions challenging rather than difficult.
Don’t get me wrong, we all want to progress through a fitness program as fast as we can so we can play better golf. And it seems so stupid to start a workout with an exercise that is so simplistic a toddler can do it.
But there are three reasons why we should start with simple exercises.
- We forget shit.
- We lose what we don’t use.
- We over-estimate our abilities.
When you start with the fundamentals and forget about what you think you know, or believe that you can do, good things will happen.
When your golf fitness progressions challenge your ability, the body learns to adapt. Make the progression hard, and your body compensates for the lack of strength or stability and puts itself into dangerous positions to carry the load.
The result will make a dysfunction stronger or injure you in the process.
We all love the internet for the free golf fitness exercises, but they can end up doing more harm than good.
Social media makes it so easy for us to see the newest fangled exercise and what the professional golfers are doing to get into shape. We forget that we haven’t gone through the same training program and didn’t learn the exercise progression to prepared ourselves for the advanced exercise.
But we suck in our gut and give it a try.
Let me show you an example.
The Title Forces You to Watch
I found a video on YouTube called: 5 Golf Exercises to Hit It Longer by OnTour Golf.
Do you want to hit it longer?
Hell yes, longer is always better!
It’s a good video, well produced, and the exercises will do as advertised if you’re in shape.
If not, well then maybe an injury is in your future.
Let me say it straight; I’m not busting on Tyler Parson. He is providing a service, and it’s up to the person watching the video to realize if the exercises are too advanced.
He provides warnings in the video, specifically in the intro to the fourth exercise, when he says start extremely light.
The question is, do people heed the warning, or does the promise of “hitting it longer” throw all caution to the wind?
This Exercise Doesn’t Make Golf Fitness Challenging
It makes it hard.
The Hanging Snatch is a complicated exercise. Several things can go wrong with this exercise unless you have gym experience. Most people will bend down with a curved upper back to lift the weight. Then they will jerk the weight up as fast as they can without first adding tension. And finally, at the top, they’ll have a curved lower back, and their head will be way in front of the weight.
Those aren’t the body positions you need to lift, thrust, and support the weight.
Here’s where you need to make golf fitness challenging and not hard.
Before jumping into a hanging snatch exercise work on the proper lifting positions from the floor. Lift a small diameter PVC pipe over your head, so your arms, spine, hips and knees are aligned and in a position to handle the weight when it’s overhead.
Going through a progression of movement patterns before attempting a power move is a better way to make golf fitness safer for the athlete.
Teaching the athlete the progressions on how to lift and thrust the weight will pay off more than doing one power exercise on an ill-prepared body.
Doing exercises from videos that don’t explain body positions or have written instructions in the article are a good way to get yourself injured.
If you don’t get injured, chances are you will strengthen a dysfunction making the goal of the exercise unreachable and useless.
We need to earn the right to progress to advanced exercises by doing the progression exercises correctly with good form.
Listen to Gray Cook
Gray Cook is the leading expert on functional movement. Most trainers use or use modifications of his Functional Movement Systems (FMS) screening procedure to evaluate clients. Gray is also on the Titleist Performance Institue (TPI) Medical Advisory Board.
In the clip below, listen to Gray talk about training on the edge of ability. Cook uses a triathlete as an example along with an exercise that epitomizes golf fitness, the chop.
What You Should Take Away
Here are the notes I wrote down as I watched that video clip.
- Make it challenging and not difficult
- Watch the athlete
- Leads to bad positioning
- Not falling over is enough at times
- Won’t take long because the athlete is re-learning not learning for the first time
- People won’t be impressed but will make them much better athletes down the road
These notes cover the title and three points I made at the beginning of this article.
We don’t learn by doing difficult exercises, but by doing challenging ones.
Even active athletes forget how to do even the simplest movements if they don’t practice them or use them when training.
We believe we’re capable of doing seemingly simple tasks only because we perceive them as simple.
The proof is in the pudding. Sometimes trying not to fall over is enough of a challenge.
I Got This
These are the words I hear all the time from my clients when I suggest a modification to an exercise.
“No, I got this. Give me a second to get the movements right”
That’s the point; you don’t have the ability to do the exercise correctly. Instead, let’s train the movements step by step and progress up to the more complex exercise.
Shit, I see it in my movement patterns. I record myself doing exercises, and when I watch them, I see bad movement patterns.
Yes, I point them out when I do the voice over on the video. But when I was shooting the video I’m like “I got this” hang on while I put my foot down and steady myself.
In the end, I think people can learn from seeing the mistakes and failed movement patterns more so than from a perfect example. But if I were training me, I’d back my ass up and work on the individual movements within the exercise before doing the exercise as a whole.
The Point Is
When doing exercises, we need, to be honest and call ourselves out when we wobble too much or compensate for a movement pattern we haven’t conquered yet.
No matter who we are, we’re better off with someone having eyes on our movement patterns than trusting ourselves with the exercises.
The alternative is to start simple, make sure we can do each movement, even something as simple as kneeling before we string movements together into a functional exercise.
Most of the time starting simple is the best bet.
Taking the time to build a sturdy foundation will lead to a better-built house.
It’s no different with your body.
Make golf fitness programs challenging and not hard.
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