Anatomy, Exercise and Bio-Mechanics was one of my favorite classes of the 3rd semester. Because of what I learned from Dr. Jordan Mackner, I have already made and continue to make what I consider to be some pretty significant lifestyle changes. I had hoped to learn everything from stretching to a golf-specific workout routine, and I learned that and more. The class far exceeded my expectations. Here’s a breakdown of my biggest takeaways of the semester:
Easily one of my biggest deficiencies when I enrolled at the Golf Academy was my flexibility. I believe tight hips are one of the reasons I tend to slide into the golf ball instead of rotate onto my left side.
Stretching is really, really important. Dr. J showed us a 10-15 minute stretching routine that he recommends his clients do on a daily basis. All of the stretches are dynamic stretches, which means that they are done while moving or bouncing into the stretch. For maximum benefit, it is best if they are done 60-90 minutes prior to athletic competition.
1. Cat-Camel (alternating core and extension contraction); 1 set, 10 reps
2. Press-Up (focusing on full lumbar extension, hip extension); 1 set, 10 reps
Hands shoulder height, toes in, fully locked-out upper back, breathe out at top, relax glutes
3. Dynamic Child’s Pose (stretching shoulders and thoracic spine T/S); 1 set, 10 reps
Sit into ankles
4. Rotation T/S Mobilization (teaching correct rotation); 1 set, 10 reps
Elbows to knees, flat back, head follows forearm, squeeze scapula at top
5. Dynamic Pigeon (posterior capsule of hip warm-up); 1 min., each leg
Hips closer to ground, bounce; try straight back leg
6. Dynamic Hip Flexor (forward, lateral); 1 min., each leg
Hips forward, rock forward; try reach over head
7. Dynamic Triplanar Ankle Mobilization (restoring dorsiflexion, mobilizing calf); 1 min., each leg
Barefoot, heel on ground; try turning toe in on back leg
8. Hamstring Stretch = straight leg on table, other leg hangs down, straight upper back, bounce forward in semi-circle
These eight exercises can also be done in conjunction with what is called the McGill Big Three. These three core-strengthening exercises also strengthen the lower back muscles.
* Side Bridge = 10 sets of 10 sec. hold per side, 1 sec. rest
Hips forward, chest back, rotate hip under
* Bird Dog = 2 sets of 5 reps per side with 5 sec. hold
Straighten back heel, reach w/ heel
* Curl-Up/Reverse Curl-Up = 2 sets of 10 reps
Slow, hold at top
Since I started doing this routine, the lower back pain and plantar fasciitis that have plagued me for years have all but disappeared. It turns out that the plantar fasciitis I was dealing with was caused by tight calf muscles and Achilles tendons. Since I started stretching them, the pain has vanished. I have seen a very significant change in a very short amount of time.
Daily Workout Routine
With the help of Dr. J, I have also developed a daily workout routine. I am not someone who likes to work out, but I have just a few exercises I do each day to help me build the strength I need to hopefully get into the swing positions I want. Most of the exercises are for my shoulders, glutes, and hips. I have a membership to LA Fitness, and depending on when I go, I can be in and out in about 15-20 minutes. It usually only takes me about 40-45 minutes to combine my daily workout and stretching routines. I also run for 35-40 minutes every other day.
Strict Press = 3 sets, 10 reps; warm-up w/ bar and work up to 75 lbs.
Head back, press head through window, show armpits
V-Ups = 1 set, 10 reps; set lower back 1st
Hollow Rocks = 1 set, 20 sec. hold; set lower back 1st
Waiter’s Carries = 50m walk, 3-4 times per arm w/ 35 lb. dumbbell
Goblet Squats = 3 sets, 10 reps w/ 55 lb. dumbbell
Squat deep, pause at bottom, fight curvature of upper spine
Monster Walks = green resistance band just above ankles, 30-40-foot walk
Slow, feet stay wide on forward walk and sideways shuffle
Lunge = 3 sets, 10 reps w/ 50 lb. bar
Push-Ups = 3 sets, 10 reps
Butt high (no sag), slide forward, tuck chin
Goblet Lateral Lunges = 3 sets, 10 reps w/ 25-35 lb. dumbbell
Butt back, like sitting in chair
Straight Leg Dead Lifts = 3 sets, 10 reps w/ 35 lb. dumbbell
Glute Bridge = 10 reps of 10 sec. hold w/ green resistance band around knees
Upper back on floor, feet and knees wide at peak, then together
Golf Rotations w/ Pulley = 1 set, 6-8 reps of 60 lbs. each side, lower body
1 set, 6-8 reps of 60 lbs. each side, upper body (turn lower body first)
Front Leg Impact Drill = 1 set, 8-10 reps of 60 lbs. w/ strap
By far the biggest (and most difficult) changes I have made in my personal life are in the area of nutrition and specifically as it relates to athletic performance. The two weeks that Dr. J lectured us on nutrition were by far the most impactful. I have already begun transitioning to a low carb, high protein, high fat diet, but I am doing it slowly. You would be surprised at how inconvenient it is to eat this way. Most of the foods on the market are high carb. Eating low carb takes a lot of time and does not always taste that great.
However, I am making these dietary changes because of the influence diet has on our overall wellness. Our diet is a driver of pain and inflammation in our bodies and predisposes us to inflammation. We burn sugar (glucose) or fat for energy. We cannot burn protein, but protein can be turned into glucose, which we can use for energy. Excess carbs turn into fat. Because diets in the Western world are so rich in carbohydrates, it takes 3-4 weeks to retrain our bodies to burn fat for energy once again. Eating fatty foods only makes us fat because our bodies are trained to burn that fat into energy.
Foods can be inflammatory for different reasons such as carbohydrate content, type of fat, acidity, pH level, and food sensitivity. It also depends on how our bodies react to and break down the foods we eat.
So why is inflammation in the body bad? Inflammation is a pre-cursor to chronic diseases in the body such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), and cancer. Foods can be either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. Pro-inflammatory foods include: refined grains, whole grains, grain/flour products, grain-fed meat, eggs, most packaged or processed foods, deep fried foods, trans fats (margarine and some processed oils), and most commercial salad dressings.
Anti-inflammatory foods include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, potatoes, fresh fish, wild game, grass-fed meats, Omega III foods such as eggs, grass-fed meats, and avocados, highly saturated organic oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and butter, dark chocolate, stout beer, red wine, and spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, oregano, and cumin.
Grains and Gluten
Gliadin (gluten protein) cannot be broken down by human beings. That means we are all gluten sensitive to some degree, but because it is such a wide spectrum, some people exhibit more symptoms than others. Grains contain lectins, gliadin, and an acidic pH, which are pro-inflammatory in our bodies. They are very high in carbohydrates, which feeds into insulin sensitivity and fat storage. Gliadins create a leakiness in the gut, which predisposes us to inflammatory and immune reactions.
Research shows there is a real connection between our stomachs (or guts) and our brains. We are more bacteria than human being – we have more DNA in our bodies from bacteria than we do from our own cells. Bacteria in the gut outnumber our own cells 10:1. Nerves connect our stomachs to our brains, which means bacteria can influence our hormonal production, gene regulation, and even how we feel. The bacteria in our stomachs could be to blame for our current moods!
Insulin Resistance and Syndrome X
Insulin resistance represents a pre-diabetic state referred to as Syndrome X or Metabolic Syndrome. If patients have three or more of the following risk factors, they are said to have Syndrome X or pre-diabetic: a fasting glucose greater than 110, triglycerides greater than 150, HDL cholesterol less than 40 for men and 50 for women, blood pressure over 130, and a waist circumference greater than 40″ for men and 35″ for women. Insulin resistance is also involved in the pathogenesis of many pro-inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, stroke, MI, and cancer.
Omega III vs. Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids (EFAs). When we cannot produce these in our bodies, we need to get them via nutrition. Omega III and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential but react in the body much differently. In the traditional hunter-gatherer diets under which we evolved, there was a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3s to Omega 6s. Today, that ratio is closer to 30:1. A high concentration of Omega 6 fatty acids is pro-inflammatory in our bodies.
The last piece of the puzzle is dietary supplements. Dr. J recommends Vitamin D, ProDHA 1000 (which is an Omega 3), an antioxidant (CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, or resveratrol), Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and a probiotic. Supplements can be very expensive, especially depending on how they are made, but how can you really put a price on good health?
What if taking these supplements in conjunction with a healthier diet adds five years to your life and prevents you from getting certain diseases? We may never know. For budgetary reasons, I am starting out by taking these three supplements every day: 5,000 I.U.’s of Vitamin D after breakfast, 1000 mg of Omega 3 after each meal (for now), and a probiotic before breakfast. It’s costing me about $90.