Watch this video of Luke Hart, Fitness Lead and Senior S&C Coach discussing ‘SSC Golf Lab – Improving your strength for golf performance whilst minimising your risk of injury.’
This video was recorded as a part of SSC Evening for Golfers in January.
My name is Luke Hart, I am head of Strength & Conditioning here at SSC. I also run our fitness services and our gold lab services. Tonight what I’m going to talk about is how S&C can really impact your health but also your golf performance as well and linking the two together and linking in with what David is talking about in terms of how we can use strength and conditioning to minimize your injury history and the amount of that you get. What we’re going to go through tonight is why you should include some S&C in your plan and how they can hopefully minimize your injuries and keep you on the course for longer but also touch on how that can improve your golf performance as well improving your distance and your clubhead speed as well and the way you can go about doing that.
The first bit I want to go through is the misconception that this is just for young people and this is just for people who want to hit the ball far, more and more we’re seeing everybody of all demographics and all walks of life are being able to hit the ball a little bit further but more importantly S&C is for everybody, it is a massively healthy activity and helps you maintain that muscle mass and maintain what you love for longer so that was the first bit I just wanted to put that out there because often people look at some of the videos that we pop up today and I think I could never do that and sometimes actually a lot of the clients that we have with inside 6 months even are doing some of what you’ll see on the videos today and we’ve had people, male/female aged 60-70 all doing some of the videos that you’re going to see tonight. Hopefully, then I’m also going to talk about why being strong is so good for you in the long term.
We know that the World Health Association really thinks this is something that we should be doing, they advocate for everybody to be doing two S&C sessions a week and on top of that they also say that we should be doing about 150 minutes flow-intensity activity, well the good thing for everyone who plays gold is pretty much all of us should get that at least once in a week but when the night are like they are at the moment and it’s a little bit dark out you might want to think about adding a second session and that might be your S&C session, it could also be a bike, it could also be a long walk but just something maybe in the middle of the week you know Tuesday, Wednesday away from the weekend when generally we have out competitions and were out on the golf course that you could do just to keep up your physical activity up or maybe you know keep that strength up and you know minimize the chances of joint pain, back pain and especially any kind of bone stress issues as well, so it’s a massively healthy activity that we want to do.
Why is it important well, David’s going to talk about this as well in terms of the fact that with golfers up to 50% of people will experience some form of lower back pain within the season you know, each year about 25% will experience some form of the elbow and wrist pain and up to 20% will have some form of knee pain and generally with golf most people don’t stop golf because they don’t enjoy it anymore, it’s generally a lifelong sport we love it for as long as we can play and so it is generally injuries that stop us playing its not any other reason and so if we can minimize the risk of injury then hopefully we can keep you playing golf for as long as you want to play golf and playing to the level and the performance you want to as best as possible.
Why is strength important and I get this question all of the time, what we can see here on the left hand side we can see the muscle in the dark colour and then we can see the kind of fat mass around that on the top left there of your screens, on the right we can see an 80 year woman and we can see that the fat mass is increased and the quality of that muscle that the white running through the muscle has increased as well, If we look at the graph below we can see the ages of 40-50, we see that steep drop off in our muscle strength and muscle quality and so the big thing here is this is completely preventable and generally what we see is without us doing any work we see about 3% decline in our muscled strength year on year after the age of 50 but as you can see on the right hand side we can absolutely do something about this, so we can see in the top picture on the right hand side a 40 year old triathlete has that brilliant muscle quality you can see that dark colour there, in the muscle with very thin amount of fat around the outside and if we don’t do anything we can see what it might look like when were 74 so we can see that the fat is increased and the white running through the muscle has increased as well.
The good news is as we can see on the bottom is that as a 70-year-old we can see that it’s completely preventable and by doing some S&C and some aerobic work we can maintain a lovely amount of muscle as you can see in that bottom picture with a very small amount of fat mass there and that is what all us what to try and achieve okay and if we can do that we see some massive improvements in our life expectancy but also the amount of support that we can play and the amount of physical activity and how long we can be self-serving ourselves as well so it’s brilliant to be able to maintain those muscle mass levels. Strength and endurance together gave the best results. The first things we lose as we get older are strength and power, so it makes sense that there are two qualities that you try to keep.
Strength is really important for our health, what we find is generally if you are strong you have a better life expectancy, and if you are slightly weaker and studies have shown that if you are strong and you have a slightly higher BMI, you still actually have a slightly better life expectancy than maybe someone who’s weaker but has a lower BMI. When all things are equal being strong is very healthy for you even if you have a slightly higher BMI, versus maybe someone who has a slightly lower BMI but isn’t as weak, so for everything else being equal, being stronger is going to have a better life expectancy but also it is going to have a big impact on how active you can be throughout your year. We found in the studies the stronger you are, the better clubhead speed.
The faster clubhead speed you have, the lower handicap you’ll have. We see long game performance improves and your distance will improve both your carry and your run as well. It is important once we get you strong to do a little bit of transfer work and I’m going to show you videos of that tonight, different ways you can transfer this once you have strength, you can transfer this onto your swing. When we strike the board with the driver there are massively high forces its similar to that of throwing a javelin actually believe it or not and so having that level of strength protects you against injuries when you’re using the driver and this young man on the right-hand side he’s got about 133 miles per hour clubhead speed can probably strike the ball into the mid to low 300 yard kind of range.
We have a continuum that we use here at the clinic and it goes from the high force on the left-hand side to higher velocity on the right-hand side. I have got a few videos here to show you. These are clips of our training. So then it brings us on to our swing speed progressions, once we have the prerequisite strength and we want to try to improve the actual speed of our swing. There is a couple of different progressions that we use that you can do down the range as well, In this video, we are using a swing speed stick that helps us, gives us a little bit more speed not swinging but using different clubs so you can use your lighter clubs such as your pitching wedge or heavier clubs as well such as your fire burn to do this with. We’re not focusing on hitting the ball here, we’re just focusing on swinging as fast as we can so it’s far removed from actually hitting practice on the range.
That then brings us on to our Golf Lab, over the years we have done a lot with a lot of our golfers in and around Ireland, we wanted to make a specific service for people who want to try and improve their golf and to minimize their risk of injury, so we have created the Golf Lab. Within the Golf Lab, we have several different tests to help you. We have some total body strength and power testing, where we test your total body strength, similar to what we saw in the video earlier my colleague lifted the bar into an immovable weight, very safe. We also do some jump testing to see how powerful we have both double leg and single leg and that’s interesting as we know both your dominant and your non-dominant leg both have a really big impact on how fast you can swing your club. Then we have what’s called some Isokinetic strength testing, now what we do on this day is w test the strength on your glutes your backside muscles because the stronger you are through them, the better we can protect your lower back but the more powerful we can be. We also have some swing speed testing. Then we have a personalized strength and conditioning program based on the results and what you want to achieve. That’s important because you might want to achieve maximum speed where others may have had injuries come from knee surgery or back surgery and want to make sure they can stay playing golf for as long as possible. Everything is individualised to you and all of the tests are individualised to you. The price is €150, we have contact details available at the end.
We also have our Total Tee Box Warm-up, we’ll have a link to this afterward. It is really important as you can get up to an extra 20 distances and prevent that double bogey by just warming up. We also have a sample S&C program available on our website. It is an excellent 6-week program. You can then see a qualified professional get a program tailored to your strength. A few takeaways taught from this evening. Take it slow by gradually introducing exercises. Then increase wither weight, reps, or sets when it gets too easy. Consistency is Key, doing well over one year is going to give you better results in terms of your muscles, in terms of your swing speed, and terms of your injury prevention, than doing 3 perfect months, so doing a little bit over one-to-three years we know it’s healthy for our whole lives is much better than you know is perfect for six or eight-week program. Strong = Healthy, as we have a longer life expectancy and important for us and our general health as well as our swing speed.
Lastly for those of you who have health insurance with Irish Life, VHI, or Laya, we also have the Fitness Lab and the Fitness Lab is included in a lot of the health plans and within the Fitness Lab we can make it specified to you, so if you wanted Golf Lab and you wanted some of those assessments that easily done and included in the Fitness Lab. A lot of it is covered for you by your health insurance and sometimes it’s partially covered and sometimes it’s fully covered, just to have a little look at your policy document and see whether you have that available for you. I’d be more than happy to take any questions or email any questions to us, hopefully, that helps you.
Are there any exercises you would recommend to strengthen the knee to prevent pain when walking down a hill?
Absolutely, some of the exercises we went through on the video there would be excellent, the wall holds especially because there is not much movement associated with it you get a brilliant strengthening of the muscles around the knee so that probably my first go-to exercise because it’s unlikely to cause you any discomfort. A lot of the exercises in the video would be perfect.
Yeah, there is some fascia underneath the foot that can get swollen if you load it too much, so it would kind of be a telltale sign that it’s happening when walking, that could be plantar fascia. There is some fat padding some bursts underneath that could be getting inflamed. You would want to look at an assessment and see why that is happening, it might be you need to strengthen around the foot, to try to provide that with a little bit of support or you may need some physio.
No you don’t need a GP referral for the Sports Medicine section, to see a physio, a sports medicine physician, or S&C you don’t need a referral but if you are going to see one of our consultants and our surgeons you would need a GP referral.
The big thing after a total knee replacement is you get the strength back into the leg so what tends to happen is after total knee replacement we do see a lot of muscle wastage around the knee and we have to try and get that back before heading back out onto the golf course.
You want to do all of the normal rehab exercises that you do for total knee replacement but make sure those muscles around the knee are as strong as possible before heading back to golf. There are lots of exercise options available to you, it’s just what suits you best.
Is a good warm-up important to play better from the start of your round-off, as it takes 3-4 rounds to get going?
That is a brilliant question, it is vital not only from an injury perspective but from a performance perspective. The evidence is you can get up to 1- or 15 power improvements if you do a good warm-up but also just in terms of your scoring over the first four holes, you will do better if you do a warm-up.
Getting your rotation and doing some swings is the most important but if you have some time do some squats or total tee warm-up which we have online. I think it’s important to do At least 5 minutes.