This Golf Fitness Exercise Will Build More Power In Your Swing

The off-season (here in Chicago) is great time of year to really focus on developing strength and power in the golf swing. It is also important to focus on physical limitations that you have.

Today I have posted a video of an exercise I like to use with golfers to help develop more power & speed in the hips. A word of caution though…if you have a history of low back pain you need to use this exercise under the supervision of trained eyes.

Posted under Exercise Tips, Exercise Videos

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 19, 2012

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Become A Consistent Golfer – Part 2

Here is part 2 on becoming more consistent on the golf course from my guest writer.

“A Blueprint For The Consistent Golf Swing And How To Get One – Part 2″

IT WAS A GOOD SWING!
I’ve been helping an old friend improve her golf swing so she can enjoy playing weekend golf with her new husband. After convincing her that a consistent golf swing doesn’t just happen without an investment of some time and energy, I prepared a solid and doable course of practice sessions that would fit even her busy schedule. It’s so user-friendly that just about anyone who wants to play better golf can handle the load.

A few weeks later she ran excitedly into the Pro Shop looking for me. She had followed the lesson plan as prescribed and then joined her husband for their first round of golf together. Beaming from ear to ear, she reported, “I remembered everything. I took my time, planted my feet, relaxed, focused, took a deep breath, and swung the driver just like I’d been doing for the past two weeks. When I felt the club connect with the ball and heard a sharp ‘crack,’ I felt such a thrill that I could hardly contain myself and keep my head down. When I finally looked up, I could see the ball sailing straight down the fairway!”

She and her husband gaped at the ball as it bounced once, bounced again, and finally rolled to a stop almost 150 yards away. Suddenly there was a ‘Whoop!’ from her husband and then he was lifting her off her feet and swinging her around shouting, “You hit it! You really hit it!” She was pleased at his reaction but she was not so happy when they approached her ball, which was only a few yards from his, and he said, “Bet you can’t do that again.” But she showed him that her great drive wasn’t a fluke with a second wood shot, almost as long and just as straight, leaving her with a perfect lie about 100 yards from the green of the long par-5 hole.

When she approached the third shot, she was really nervous because she had been practicing with her woods and now she was faced with an iron shot. “But,” she said, “I got focused and I just started my swing. I didn’t hit it quite hard enough to make the green but it went straight! I couldn’t believe it and neither could my husband. He was so impressed, he asked to see my plan.”

The plan I gave her consisted of three parts:
1/ Consistency – What it is and why it works.
2/ Practice Makes Consistent – Why consistency is perfect.
3/ Consistent Tips That Work Consistently

A CONSISTENT PLAN FOR CONSISTENCY
1/ Consistency – What it is and why it works.
Consistency is the art of repeating the same helpful actions to achieve the same desirable results. That sounds a lot like the definition of insanity: repeating the same actions and expecting different results. Many people classify golfers as somewhat insane for chasing a small white ball over hills and in and out of lakes, traps, and deep forests through heat, rain, and even snow. While this behavior is fairly consistent for many occasional golfers, it can only be considered insanity if they continue to make the same mistakes and expect their shots to land in fairways and on greens.

The “Consistency/Insanity Defense.” As crazy as it sounds, the qualities needed to achieve consistency are the very same ones – commitment and determination. The difference lies in what you choose to repeat to achieve the expected result. If your actions will not contribute to an excellent swing, then you fall in the insanity camp because you continue to produce the same poor swing with the same poor results.
On the other hand, if you are repeating actions that result in long, straight drives, as well as deadly accurate chips and putts, then you are on your way to consistency.
2/ Practice Makes Consistent

Whatever I tried to achieve in my life, I heard the same advice from my parents: Practice makes perfect. As I have grown up and found a measure of success in many endeavors, I have proven them almost right. I say “almost right” because I discovered that, no matter how long and consistently I practice, I am incapable of perfection.
Consistency is not perfection but it is as close as we can get to it. It means performing the same actions the same way every time and I soon discovered that I am capable of consistency. As I worked on my own golf swing, I found that the proper actions produced the desired results. Repeating those actions over and over produced those results consistently.

Practice is the consistent repetition of an action; so, practice not only “makes consistent,” it is consistency itself. Therefore, to be a consistent golfer takes practice, practice, practice.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Address the tee properly (Repeat 20 times twice a day)
– Stand straight without hunching your shoulders
– Plant your feet slightly further apart than your shoulders
– Flex your knees and adjust your weight on your feet until balanced
– Relax your shoulders, shake out your arms and let them fall at your side
Grip the club properly (Repeat 20 times twice a day)
– Lay the club head next to the tee and relax with it loosely in one hand
– Place the other hand on the grip
– Adjust your grip until comfortable
Swing the club
– Address the tee and grip the club as practiced
– Swing smoothly and firmly with your arms and shoulders
– Follow through completely with your head down and eye on the tee
– Videotape and analyze – make adjustments as needed
Swing the club properly (Repeat 20 times four times a day)
– Pay attention to the feel of the proper swing
– Make sure each swing feels the same
– Videotape your last set of swings to be sure your swing is consistent with the beginning
Hit the ball
– Place a ball on the tee and address the ball properly
– Forget that there is a ball in front of you and just swing as practiced
– After the ball has left the tee, complete your swing and then look up
– If the ball didn’t go where you intended, adjust your swing
– Once your swing is effectively hitting the ball, repeat 20 times as many times a day as you can
3/ Consistent Tips that Work Consistently
These tips are from golfers who have worked long and hard to perfect their golf swing. While most of them are still aiming for the perfection that will never come, that doesn’t keep them from trying.
Get it right. Repeat your swing until it feels right and natural.
Practice, practice, practice – in your back yard, your basement, even your garage.
Ask for and pay attention to good feedback.
Develop a positive attitude. Reward yourself for good shots and look for ways to improve the bad ones.

One final word to the wise: Most golfers whine and complain about their scores, their poor strokes, and their high handicaps. Instead of beating yourself up when you hit poorly, reward your good play consistently. Whenever you hit a green or the middle of the fairway, congratulate yourself and then swing again the same way. If it feels the same, remember it and then do the same thing again and again until it feels natural. It may sound like the road to insanity, but it is the only way to consistency at its best.
—-
Keith Matthews is keen to share more of his golfing tips and experience so sign-up for his free weekly emails at TopGolfTipsHQ.com

Posted under Golf Performance

This post was written by Mark Tolle on October 18, 2012

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Consistency Is The Key To Better Golf

Today I’m going to post a guest article regarding the importance in developing consistency in your golf swing. Please let me know what you think.

“A Blueprint For The Consistent Golf Swing And How To Get One – Part 1″

WANT TO GET IN THE SWING OF GOLF?
WHAT’S YOUR STYLE?

When you step up to the tee and “address the ball,” do you say, “Ready or not, here I come?” When you lift the club from your shoulder and start pulling it back to begin your swing, do you shout with glee, “Watch out ball, I’m going to knock you into the next county?”

If this describes your golf game, you are not alone. Many of the best started out with such a “slash and burn” approach; but the best wisdom is that golfing is all about finding your own style – your rhythm, your best stroke, and your natural swing. This takes time and hard work even for a natural-born professional golfer like Tiger Woods.
As an expert, I get questions from a lot of weekend golfers who think they should be able to play like Tiger. I got one call from an old friend who told me that her new husband loves golf and wants her to join him in his weekend golf games. She said, “I took a semester of golf in college and I NEVER hit a good shot the entire time. I topped, pulled, sliced, shanked, and dubbed my way to every cup on every hole. I’m sure I had the highest score of anybody in the class – maybe even a course record. I’m a killer at miniature golf but the golf swing eludes me. I need serious help!”

WHAT’S YOUR DREAM?
When I asked my friend about her dream, she said that she just wanted to hit the ball without her husband laughing at her. I told her that every golfer I know feels the same way but that there are bigger dreams to chase on a golf course. There is the elusive “hole-in-one,” as well as brilliant putts, perfectly placed fairway shots, and the “winged creatures of golf” – birdies, eagles, and double eagles. Of course, then there’s the “holy grail” of golf – a low handicap or, better still, no handicap.

WHAT’S YOUR GOAL?
So, I asked my friend the standard question I pose to all those who seek out my help: what do you want to achieve on the golf course? Straighter drives, more accurate chips and putts, lower scores/handicaps, or just an enjoyable outing with your husband on the links – what’s your goal?

Every professional golfer from Sam Snead to Phil Mickelson had a goal when they got started. It may not have been to win the US Open but I guarantee they all had one goal in common: to play better golf. No matter how much they knew about the game, they all found out quickly that there is one basic skill that you must master – the golf swing. Whether driving the fairway, chipping from a sand trap, blasting out of a lake, getting out of the woods, or putting brilliantly, you must swing the golf club. The speed, path, and final destination of your golf ball are all direct results of how you do that.

WHAT’S YOUR FIRST STEP?
My friend’s next eager question was: “So what do I do first?” but her smile faded when I answered: “Get serious.You have to develop a consistent golf swing.”
“I don’t have time to do that,” she said. “Can’t I just go out and hope for the best? Maybe I’ll be lucky and actually hit the ball.” I shook my head and told her about my uncle. He was a weekend golfer who was also a member of a weekly bowling league. He was well-known on the lanes for his completely lucky 7-10 split conversion – something he always dreamed of doing. Known affectionately as “Mr. Lucky,” he was also famous in the 19th Hole of his home golf course for this shot.

After a decent drive off the 18th tee, he had ended up just off the green in two, not too far from the cup; but the ball was sitting just under a mis-placed divot. He took one look at his bad lie and flailed at the half-buried ball with one desperate swipe with his sand wedge. It exploded out of its spot and took wings! He shoved his club back in the bag thinking that he’d need an iron to get the ball back to the green. Just as he looked up, though, he saw his ball hit the flag squarely and drop like a stone into the cup. Mr. Lucky ended up with the low score for the foursome even though, he said, “It was the worst shot I made all day.”

My friend grinned, “So, I can just take a swing and hope I get lucky like your uncle.” It took some fast talking to convince her that good golf is not a matter of luck and that she would never enjoy playing without practice. I finally quoted Arnold Palmer, who said, “It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get” and she agreed to give it a try.

WHAT’S NEXT?
Several weeks later we met at the golf course for her next step, which was to analyze her golf swing. She was sure that it must be awful but when I watched her swing, I saw that she was strong and had an easy-going way with the club. So I videotaped her and she was surprised to see how easily she handled it. As we watched, I pointed out to her the basic components of a golf swing and how she could improve hers:
Address the Ball – Good posture
Firm Grip – No white knuckles
Smooth Swing with Arms and Shoulders
Golf is not a dance – no swaying or tip-toeing
Golf is not a performance – no flourishes
Backswing – not an “upswing” that reaches for the stars
Downswing – more of a “frontswing” that doesn’t chop wood
Follow-through – smooth and firm
You’re not in Fenway Park – don’t “punch it”
Don’t look up – the ball will go the same way if you’re watching or not
Consistency – whatever you do well, do again – and again – and again…

WHAT WILL MAKE YOUR SWING BETTER?
Without a doubt, the key to a better golf swing is consistency. I assured my friend that every golfer – amateur, pro, once-a-week, occasional – can swing better and more effectively and that what it takes to actually play better and improve your scores and your enjoyment is simple – Be Consistent.
She was still hesitant as I knew she was thinking about her busy schedule and wondering where she would find the time to practice, practice, practice. So I assured her that a simple regimen of lessons and practice was doable, even for her crazy schedule, and would help her to focus on her swing, to develop a consistently effective and natural stroke that would at least keep up with her husband’s game.
—-
Keith Matthews is keen to share more of his golfing tips and experience so sign-up for his free weekly emails at TopGolfTipsHQ.com

Posted under Golf Performance

This post was written by Mark Tolle on October 14, 2012

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Golf Fitness Chicago Seen On Chicago Sun Times Site

I want to direct you to a nice article Matthew Schwerha wrote in today’s online Chicago Sun Times. It gives you some more recent golf fitness exercise photo’s of my colleague Wynne Conklin. You can check it out HERE.

Posted under Golf Fitness Chicago News

This post was written by Mark Tolle on July 31, 2012

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Can The HGC Diet Help Golfers Lose Weight?

I have recently been asked about the HCG diet and what I thought. I’m going to give you some information I found from a reputable nutritionist online.

What Is The HCG Diet?

This diet was fairly popular in the 1950’s until it became clear that there was insufficient evidence to support using HCG for fatloss. As with most fad diets, the HCG Diet has resurfaced and makes some pretty outlandish claims. Many of the products declare that the diet will “reset your metabolism”, change “abnormal eating patterns” and result with a “loss of 1-2 pounds per day.”

HCG is a hormone produced in women by the placenta during pregnancy. HCG is sold as a prescription drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration for various medical conditions including the treatment of female infertility (but not weight-loss). The diet requires a daily injection of this hormone along with a scary obligation to eat a very low calorie diet of ONLY 500 CALORIES A DAY!

Why Do People Lose So Fast?

In short, people are actually losing twenty pounds and more per month because they are starving themselves! If you stop eating, you will likely drop weight quickly no matter what you are injecting into your body.

It’s insane really… it will cost you hundreds of dollars a month and the real secret to this diet is… starvation. You don’t have to pay for that… you can starve yourself free of charge. =) (Which I don’t recommend.)

The HCG label actually states, there “is no substantial evidence that it increases weight-loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

Is It Safe?

No matter your size, that level of calorie restriction is severe and does not lack consequences. These include, but are not limited to, gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, vitamin & mineral deficiency and electrolyte imbalance. This means that the HCG diet is not only unhealthy, it’s hazardous.

Keep in mind that following this diet will give you an increased risk of headaches, blood clots, restlessness and depression. In addition, the HCG can give you pregnancy-like symptoms, such as water retention, breast tenderness and swelling. And finally, HCG can also cause a condition called OHSS, or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which is potentially life-threatening.

In addition to the calorie restriction being unsafe, the HCG hormone is actually illegal for over the counter sale for any reason. In fact, it’s not approved for weight-loss even as a prescription. The FDA is warning any consumer currently using HCG for fat-loss to stop taking it and to stop following the dieting instructions immediately. I recommend this too!

My suggestion? Stick to what we know works—eating natural, wholesome foods, healthy supplements and exercise—and don’t be fooled, misled or tempted by fad starvation diets. Sustainable, healthy fat loss takes a permanent change of your habits and lifestyle.

Posted under Weight Loss

This post was written by Mark Tolle on June 10, 2012

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Golfers Should Stop Stretching Before They Play

Are you one of those golfers that are stretching out before you play or hit balls. Well check out this research that again explains that passive stretching before you play may not be the best thing for you. I always recommend warming up by performing functional movements and of course by hitting balls. And by all means do your stretching on a regular basis after your golf fitness exercise program, but not right before you play. Read the research here on my website.

Posted under Exercise Tips, Golf research

This post was written by Mark Tolle on December 14, 2010

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Golf Training – Cardio & Strength Execises Together

We are busy these days and it’s often times hard to get those workouts in. So what do you do?

Here’s a nice way to do both strength training and a little cardio together. So let’s say you are doing 4 sets of pull-ups or bench presses. Or one of my favorite exercises, like the curl & press combo. What you do is perform the first set of the curl & press combo then immediately hop on the treadmill or track and do a 1 minute sprint. Then you return to the second set of the strength exercise. Continue alternating until you complete all 4 sets. If you want, then move on to the next strength exercise and repeat the same sequence. This is a fast moving high intensity program that you’re going to love if your short on time. Good luck!

Posted under Exercise Tips, Weight Loss

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 1, 2010

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Add Power And Super Stability To Your Golf Swing

The side plank is an excellent exercise that helps build trunk stability and core strength. Recently I have been utilizing a new technique that comes from the research of Stuart McGill and is also utilized by the Kettlebell expert Pavel Tsatsouline.
I also actually used the technique back in my martial arts days through the practice of breath control and the use of Chi.

Stuart McGill calls it “super stiffness” and Pavel describes it in his book The Naked Warrior (which I highly recommend) as “Zipping Up”. Essentially you develop the ability of isometrically tensing all your muscles while in a certain posture or during a certain exercise. McGill explains that this actually happens unconsciously at impact in the golf swing. Please don’t try to consciously do it, or you may have bad results. However I believe you can train this concept as you perform certain exercises such as the side plank.

As you watch the video below and then perform the exercise, I want you to try tensing your entire body when in the side plank position. From your fist, elbow, shoulder, trunk, hips and legs as you hold the position. This may take some practice, but it will give you great results. To start off, only hold the side plank for 10 seconds, and then switch to the other side. You can start with a few reps and progress up to 8-10 reps of 10 second hods.

Have fun adding super stability to your side plank!

Posted under Exercise Tips

This post was written by Mark Tolle on July 12, 2010

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Strength Training For Women Golfers!

This is a great strength exercise for all golfers, especially women that want to increase strength in their arms. Often times women want to increase the strength in the arms for an improved golf swing as well as a way to make them look better.

This exercise will not only increase strength in the arms, but also in the core, and improve balance. Greater strength and stability is a sure way to make a more powerful golf swing. Give this exercise a try. Good Luck!

Posted under Exercise Tips, Exercise Videos, Weight Loss

This post was written by Mark Tolle on June 15, 2010

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Hip Strength & Stability For A Power Golf Swing!

The hip hinge is a basic movement that I teach to my clients for several reason. The first one being, it is the natural set up position in the golf swing. Additionally, it helps engage the gluteal muscles which help maintain stability and provide power in the golf swing. It also is essential from a biomechanical standpoint, because it helps take the stress off the low back and ensure the correct muscle (gluteals) are functioning properly. You can view my original hip hinge post here.

Now here is a more advanced exercise that builds upon the hip hinge and dead lift pattern. so make sure you are performing the hip hinge properly as well as a good dead lift. This single leg dead lift helps focus on stability, balance and strength through the hip region. Watch this video several times and practice in the mirror to make sure your technique is correct.

Posted under Exercise Tips, Exercise Videos

This post was written by Mark Tolle on June 1, 2010

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