Icelandic Fitness

golf

Bryson DeChambeau: Simple Swing, Not so Simple Results

 

Bryson DeChambeau completely changed the way I look at the golf swing.  Growing up watching the swing of Tiger Woods I thought the new athletic swing was the way.  Loading up the swing with a squat and creating massive amounts of power and rotation from the lower-body was emulated by all young golfers.  I was wrong, after watching a young new golfer from sunny California.

 

He wears a throwback Ben Hogan cap, has a fascination with a cult golfing instruction book and majors in physics at Southern Methodist University. Bryson DeChambeau sounds a little quirky, but he’s achieved one of the more rare feats in golf – winning the NCAA and U.S. Amateur titles in the same year. His swing and his clubs may get the credit for getting him there.

 

The swing came about through his coach, Mike Schy, who gave DeChambeau a book called “The Golfing Machine” when he was 15.  The book was written in 1969 by Homer Kelley, a Seattle aircraft mechanic obsessed with the engineering specs of the golf swing. To a physics major, the book spoke DeChambeau’s language and it’s how be built his efficient, steady swing.

 

To break it down: when addressing the ball, DeChambeau has his arms extended and his hands up. The right elbow rises as his club goes back and with his grip, the club mostly rides in his palms, not his fingers. There is very little wrist hinge. And the swing is something he can reproduce again and again.

 

It took a couple of years, with guidance from Schy to come up with the single-plane swing. In the book, it’s called a ‘zero shifting motion.’ Basically, De Chambeau swings his hands and his club on one plane throughout the whole swing, no shifting up or down.

 

While that method keeps his swing consistent, the problem in the beginning was that golf clubs typically vary in length. The solution – a bagful of oversize clubs with each iron and wedge having the same 37 1/2 inch shaft length – about the length of a standard 7-iron. The rationale was to have a similar posture over the ball regardless of what club was in his hand.

 

Single-length shafts and a more simplified swing, have given DeChambeau’s game more repeatable and consistent center face impacts. He simply hits the sweet spot more often, producing better ball speed and accuracy.

 

On the putting green, he uses a method called Vector Putting, which takes into account length of putt, percentage of slope and speed of the green. DeChambeau plays with a torque-balanced putter that keeps his stroke square to the plane. All of the clubs have uniquely weighted heads throughout the set (heavier longer irons, for instance), enabling DeChambeau to create a similar striking force at impact.

 

The 21-year-old will most likely be taking his unique style to the PGA, turning pro next summer.

 

Check out this Youtube video to see DeCambeau’s swing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpuJhMF0ovU

How Masters Winner Jordan Spieth Stays “Country Strong”

You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Masters winner Jordan Spieth can dead lift 380 pounds. He looks slender, but over the past year and a half, he’s been living in the gym when he’s not on the golf course- usually spending at least four days a week with his trainer. His workout focuses on core strength and lower body, in an effort to build muscle to maintain a club head speed of 115.3 mph.

SISpiethPromo

His trainer calls him “country-strong,” and he’s gained 20 pounds of muscle, thanks to some of the same methods and equipment I use with my clients- kettle bells and medicine balls. And, Jordan also has a foam rolling and stretching routine to help increase flexibility and mobility and improve stability.

 

All golfers, no matter if you make a living at the game or not, should have a full-body approach to their workout. It’s not enough just to strengthen your muscles, you also need to stay flexible and avoid building unnecessary bulk that could likely interfere with a smooth, consistent swing. And, you can increase fitness and play better with a simple short exercise routine.

 

Getting and keeping your core strong is extremely important. That’s because performance on the course- the effectiveness of your swing- is dictated by the power of your rotation. You need to have a full range of motion in the hip and thoracic spine, with a strong core that allows you to transfer force from your hips to your shoulders. The bottom line- the farther you can wind your body while maintaining good alignment, the more powerful your swing will be. And, the farther the ball will fly.

 

So, here are five exercises to help you master the perfect swing:

 

1) Standing Wood Chop (1 to 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 30 second rest between sets)

This exercise combines movements of the hips, back, and shoulders, while increasing strength and improving flexibility.

You can perform it with a cable or a resistance band, but you can also do it with a medicine ball like Jordan does.

Slightly bend your knees, raise the medicine ball overhead to one side, like you’re about to swing an axe. Throw the ball down and across your body. Repeat on each side.

2) Lateral Lunges (1 to 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 30-second rest, alternate legs)

This exercise improves range-of-motion and hip strength.

Make sure you keep good posture during the exercise. Just take a large step to either your right or left, and shift your weight to that side- bending that leg. Keep your toes pointed ahead.

Medicine-Ball-Lateral-Lunge

3) Glute Activation Lunges (1 to 3 sets of 8-12 reps, alternate legs)

These lunges are also good for increasing hip mobility.

Start with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Take a giant step forward, bending your front leg at a 90-degree angle (or until your thigh is parallel to the floor).

Your back leg should remain strong and straight.

Step back into a standing position and repeat.

 

 

4) Front Plank/Side Plank (3- 5 times, holding for 20-60 seconds)

Planks are great for core strength.

Front plank- lay face down, place palms flat on the floor.

Roll your shoulders onto your back, away from your ears, and push away from the floor.

Keep your back flat and engage your abdominal muscles. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds and release back down onto the floor. Repeat.

For a side plank, lay on your side with your legs stacked. Rest your body on your forearm, shoulder directly over your elbow.

Lift your hips so that your body is in a straight line. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds and lower back down. Repeat on each side.

frontplankgolf sideplankgolf

 

5) Supine Spinal Twists (1 to 3 times, hold for 20-30 seconds, switching sides)

These twists also increase core strength and your shoulders should get a good stretch.

Start on your back with your feet raised and bent in a 90 degree angle, or so that your calves are parallel to the floor.

Extend your arms out wide, with palms facing down. Slowly lower your legs to the right side of your body, keeping your knees together. Hover above the ground for about 20 to 30 seconds, and then return to center.

Switch sides and repeat.

supinetwist

 

For the most benefit, these exercises should be combined with others that target more muscles and body parts. If you’re consistent, you should start to see improvement in your strength and your swing in a few weeks.

 

Jason Stone

Golf Performance Coach

Rory McIlroy, taking the proper rest

The Masters gets under way this week on April 9th and the world’s number one player is taking some time away from competition. Rory McIlroy will have been “off” nearly three weeks before he hits his first drive at Augusta. Like other top tier athletes, McIlroy knows that tapering before a big competition helps reset the body and the mind and puts you in a position to excel.

 

Marathon runners have used tapering for years to give their bodies a chance to rest before pushing themselves during the big race. The idea behind tapering is that coming into an event well rested allows you to maximize the strength and fitness gains you’ve made over the previous weeks or months of training.

 

Of course, McIlroy has not been sitting around. He’s been practicing at Augusta with his dad and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, having fun on the course, getting used to the lay of the land, taking nothing seriously. It’s a mental and physical rest.

Rory and Tom Brady a few weeks ago at Augusta National

Rory and Tom Brady a few weeks ago at Augusta National

 

For some athletes, however, tapering can be difficult, because the decrease in training leaves them feeling antsy and, in some cases, sluggish. There’s a fear of losing your edge, causing some serious pre-competition anxiety.

 

Like McIlroy, keeping your mind and body “in the game” is the key. While he’s tapering, he’s still playing golf. Just not at the same intense level that he’ll undoubtedly be playing during competition. Tapering is the time to refine technique, no matter your sport, and get a good feel for your desired competition pace.

 

Of course, taper length varies from person to person, and depends on the athlete’s preferences and the length of the event. For runners, a taper for a half-marathon might last a week, while a taper for a triathlon might be four times as long. The Masters is kind of a golf marathon, with play stretching out over 72 holes, that’s four complete rounds over four days.

 

For most folks, truly perfecting a taper plan requires a degree of trial and error. If the taper period is too short, you didn’t get enough rest. Too long, you run the risk of losing not only your mental edge, but also your physical conditioning.

 

So, most trainers and coaches suggest that you maintain a consistent number of training days per week. If you usually work out five days a week, continue that during the taper, but reduce volume by cutting training time (or distance) in each workout.

 

Look at it this way- pushing yourself each and every workout, with no rest, is like running a car engine 24/7. It’s only a matter of time before it (and you) break down. Do yourself a favor and build some taper time into your workout schedule.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Rory McIlroy – Golf’s new piece Masterpiece

The newest April 2015 issue of Golf Digest headed to the newsstands next month features Rory McIlroy on the cover, portraying Michelangelo’s statue of David- wearing a kilt. And, you could say the 25-year-old is a dead ringer for the real thing.

 

Rory McIlroy 2015 April Golf Digest

Rory McIlroy 2015 April Golf Digest

McIlroy has made the transition from a chubby unfit golfer to ripped athlete. Weighing around 170 pounds, with 10% body fat and not quite six feet tall, the golfer often tweets and puts up Instagram pics of his gym routine- one snapshot from last year had him back squatting 280 pounds. Not exactly what you would expect from a PGA Professional.

 

His workout routine is very intense- five times a week, lifting heavy weights for 90 minutes. He  does intense cardio work, sprints,  swims, and bikes. Rory actually never worked out until he strained his back about four years ago. Now, he’s dedicated to staying fit and injury free.  His first trainer noticed many muscular imbalances from a weak lower back to a weak left leg.  Rory’s workouts often include corrective exercises to maintain a balanced body.  Along with the corrective exercises Rory does a lot of single side isolation work.

2rory squat 2rory with 280 lbs

His trainer says they vary the workout every six to eight weeks. That’s important so that muscles don’t get overused and the routine stays fresh so you can continue to challenge yourself.

 

And, the benefits aren’t just apparent in the cover photo. McIlroy is also hitting his drives longer and harder- getting more yardage off the tee. He’s gained about 20 pounds of muscle, which puts more solid mass behind his swing. It’s simple, when there’s more mass, you can hit harder and get results.  It doesn’t hurt too that Rory has incredible stability and balance thru impact.

 

You’d have to guess that just like the clients I work with, McIlroy is feeling pretty good about himself. When you train hard and get results, you gain confidence. After all, look at what he’s achieved.  He’s completely remade himself by getting into shape and becoming the Number 1 player in the world.  Move over Tiger Woods golf has a new fitness freak.

 

 

Rory McIlroy Sample Workout:

5 Minute stationary bike warmup

8-10 minute active warmup and stretch

3-5 Minutes of plyometrics

5-10 Core and Rotational Work

60 Minute Intense Workout

  • Heavy Squats
  • Heavy Deadlifts
  • Single Leg Split Squat
  • Pull-ups
  • Presses

10 Minutes of Intense Metabolic Conditioning

Cool Down

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Golf Sports Performance Specialist

 

Rotational Exercises for golf and tennis, Part I

Rotational Speed and Strength for increased club and racket speed

 

The keys to hitting the golf ball farther or the tennis ball harder is stability and speed.  These exercises in the Youtube video below will help you with both.

Perform each of the movements for a total of 3 Sets and 10-12 reps.

Exercise 1 : Cable Trunk Rotation

Exercise 2 : Cable high to low split stance chop

Exercise 3 : High to Low rotational lift

Gearing up for the Golf Season

I am an avid golfer. Every chance I get I am out on the course either practicing or playing. I live in Denver, CO, too, where there are many great public courses, and warm weather at various points throughout the year. The winter months provide less playing time even for me, though, so I take advantage of the off-course time by doing cross-training to help my game.
Golf is not one of those sports people often see having cross-training opportunities. However, there are many things you can do in the gym to help your golf game. This is the beginning of a three part series on cross-training for golf. The first phase of a cross-training program involves developing strength and flexibility. For most this build-up phase will last through the end of March. If you are new to physical training you may want to begin by only using body weight movements and exercises. No matter what resistance level you begin at though, you will want to try to increase your intensity (cardio and strength work) every 4-6 weeks.

golfseason

For a cross-training program I recommend training 3 times per week for approximately an hour each workout. Your goal for a better golf game should be to become a well-rounded athlete. Each workout should include some type of cardio. (I personally like the rower.) Then, you should also include resistance training. Some parts of the body often forgotten by golfers include the wrists and forearms, rotator cuffs, and core and hips. After building strength with resistance training you will want to end each workout by stretching. Important areas to include when stretching are your wrists and forearms, hips, hip flexors, IT bands, glutes, and thoracic spine. By training AND stretching all areas of your body you will become a great all-around athlete and you will be helping to prevent potential season-ending injuries.

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness