Interval Training – What Is It?

There has been a lot of discussion over the past several years regarding interval training. I for one, highly recommend interval training for anyone that wants to improve their health and fitness level. There is plenty of research that points out the benefits of this type of training and often times shows it is more beneficial than the traditional steady state aerobic exercise.

Interval training is basically intermittent bouts of exercise followed by a period of rest/recovery. It is usually high intensity exercise, like sprinting, followed by low intensity exercise such as walking. It can be conducted on various types of traditional cardiovascular equipment. You can also perform an interval program in much less time than the traditional long endurance program. I personally feel that running and cycling, as well as body weight exercises are superior to any other forms of interval training.

The benefits include, more efficient weight loss, improved heart and lung capacity, prevention of heart disease, lung disease and stroke. The one benefit I find very interesting is that of lung function. As we age our lungpower will decrease unless we exercise and expand our lungs. Needles to say, taking a walk does not expand your lungs! The bottom line is, you need to exercise hard enough to cause heavy breathing/panting, and perform it on a regular basis. That’s how you exercise the lungs, and ensure good lung function as you age. So next time you do some exercise, kick up the intensity a little. And if you are really serious, get some help from a fitness professional to develop a kick butt interval program that is best for you.
Good Luck!

Posted under Exercise Tips, Weight Loss

Golf Mobility Exercise To Improve The Shoulder Turn

Here is a a new mobility exercise video that will help increase the shoulder turn in your golf swing.  As I have mentioned several times before, you want to ensure that the majority of the rotation in the golf swing is coming from your upper back.  Often times golfers will over rotate through the low back which can lead to low back pain.

The shoulder turn is not only dependent upon the golf set up posture, but also the actual mobility of the upper back (thoracic spine) region.  This exercise takes advantage of the natural biomechanics of the thoracic spine and the relationship of the movements rotation and side bend.  These 2 movements occur in the spine together especially in the golf swing.

So give this a try and watch that shoulder turn improve.  Good Luck!

Posted under Exercise Tips, Exercise Videos

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 16, 2009

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Does Your Golf Fitness Program Prevent Injuries?

With all the discussion regarding the health care bill being developed in congress, I have one thing to say…..it’s confusing. We certainly will not have a clear picture until after it is actually implemented. And who knows when that will be!

With that being said, I believe it is more important today than ever before to take responsibility and focus on our own health. I have always been an advocate of preventive medicine, especially after seeing thousands of patients move through the orthopedic physical therapy clinics I have worked in for over 15 years.

I have learned through experience that a lot of the orthopedic typed injuries that occurred on a daily basis could be prevented. In my profession we know this as a fact. So my question here today is, does your fitness program utilize preventive principles? Common sense in training can help with prevention up to a point, but what I am specifically referring to is exercise selection.

Exercise selection should be specific to each individual’s needs. We all function a little bit differently. In other words our body has specific problem areas that need to be addressed with corrective type exercises in order to reach optimum performance, as well as prevent overuse type injuries. For example in the golf swing you need to make sure you have good hip mobility and stability, along with good trunk control as the forces generated in the swing move through the body. Otherwise increased stress can occur in the low back, leading to back injury.

So I believe it is important to have a fitness professional that can asses your current physical capabilities and then prescribe appropriate exercises that will help address any problem areas. Staying healthy and injury free not only keeps you the golf course, but keeps you feeling good. So make sure you are doing the right exercises specific to your body.

Posted under Golf Injuries

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 10, 2009

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How To Survive The Holidays

Does it surprise you to know that I’m as much of a decadent food-lover as the next person? I get quizzical or astonished looks from clients when I talk about how much I love pie, cake, chocolate, ice cream, candy bars…I could keep going. They’re a wee bit shocked by my admission of guilty pleasure because they think I “toe the line” 100% of the time.

Well I don’t. What I do is “toe the line” 85.7% of the time. That equates 6 days out of the week. On the seventh day…I indulge. I don’t go crazy, but I’ll have some pizza or a piece of cake. I’ll reward myself for a good six days of healthy, supportive nutrition by “letting my hair down” a little bit on day 7.
“A little bit” is the operative phrase.

I don’t have the pumpkin pie with two huge scoops of ice cream and a pecan and apple chaser!
And I recommend you don’t either. But DO enjoy yourself one time a week, particularly on Thanksgiving. Then get right back on the “nutrition wagon” on Friday after Thanksgiving. By the way, Thanksgiving Thursday is a great day to do a workout in the morning. You’ll enjoy the meal that much more. And if you can’t get in a workout on Thursday, then by all means get one in on Friday.
All things in moderation is a really good motto that serves you well over time. To help with that, here are some important healthy holiday eating tips as we move into the season…

#1 – Get the bulk of your calories early in the day. A “breakfast of champions” will serve you really well year round, but particularly during the holidays.
#2 – Don’t go to that party hungry. You know what will be there, and most of it is “danger” food! Eat something healthy before you head out to the holiday shindig.
#3 – Portion control. If you just do this on a consistent basis…you’ll see the pounds begin to melt away. Really. Sample different things, but don’t overdo anything, particularly the dreaded “comfort foods.”
#4 – Substitute dry white or red wine for other alcohols. If you drink, don’t drink the eggnog! Beers and mixed drinks pack more calories. Yes, your friends may give you an odd look, but you’ll feel better than they do the next day (and you’ve got a goal to achieve, which makes you better than them anyway! 🙂
#5 – Watch the sweets! That’s all your get to do. Just watch them. Don’t eat them. A little holiday humor. Enjoy yourself, but be judicious about your choices. You’ll thank me afterwards.
Have a fantastic holiday season!

Posted under Golf Fitness Chicago News, Weight Loss

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 5, 2009

Develop The Engine For Power In The Golf Swing

I can’t remember where I first heard the explanation concerning the engine and transmission of the human body as it relates to human movement, but I want to talk about it today. What I am referring to, is the way in which the body uses it’s muscles to accomplish powerful movements. It doesn’t matter whether it is a daily functional movement such as lifting a suitcase, or a complex sports skill such as hitting a golf ball, this principle applies.

I have often talked about and described the importance of the butt muscles, or gluteals in powering human movement. Therefore the gluteals are considered the engine and are often times under utilized or lack horsepower. They are under utilized because they become weak or are shut down due to other changes in the body. They may not function optimally because of muscle tightness in the front of the hip or neurologically impaired. The bottom line is, they need to function correctly to avoid over compensation from other muscles, and have the power necessary for daily activities and sports skills.

Now, the second part of my description involves the core musculature of our body. I think many people train the core improperly because of their belief that the core needs to be strong. Yes, the core needs appropriate strength, however its function is more like the transmission of the car where by it controls and transmits forces throughout the body. It takes that power generated by the gluteals and distributes it in a controlled manner to the appropriate location. Depending on the demand, the core muscles along with the nervous system can accelerate or decelerate the power moving through the body.

The concept of stability is often times used with this transmission of forces and is an appropriate way to describe it. In the golf swing for example, body segments gain speed as the generated energy moves through the swing, but at the same time stability and control is needed to slow down the segment as the energy moves to the next segment. This is seen in the swing, as the hips move faster than the legs but then the shoulder release is faster than the hips and the arms are faster than the shoulders. Then energy passes through each segment all the way to the club face which should have the greatest speed at impact.

My point here is that you need to make sure to train the engine so it has the horsepower needed for powerful movements (and proper function) and the core should be trained in a way that it can control the forces being transmitted out.

I’ve attached an exercise here that helps you gain a basic understanding of gluteal control and function. You need to be able to perform this before moving on to more advanced exercises. Also for those of you with a history of back pain this is essential. More on that later. So try this exercise first.

Lie down on the floor with your knees bent as shown. Stay relaxed throughout your body and focus in on your butt muscles. Contract both sides at the same time. Make sure the pelvis doesn’t move much. If you are able to do this then try one at a time. Perform 30 quality reps on each side. If you can do this then you can move on to a standing position. Good Luck

Hooklying glute sets

Posted under Exercise Tips

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 2, 2009

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