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  • Matteo Niglio

NEW SEASON START

Some preliminary considerations:

- this article is aimed at self-trained amateurs

- the numbers shown are only for reference (Don't take them as a rule!)

- my purpose is to give you a general idea

- whenever you are in doubt between two weights, go with the lighter

- if you have a personal trainer or a fitness coach, stay with what he says. He knows you and what is best for your health!



Annual schedule is a key point in the path for carrying someone from A to B (no matter the player level). Coaches, trainers and students spend time/energy measuring performance, detecting goals and choosing the right way to achieve success.

I think that resuming training after a holiday period is a highly understimated crucial moment in amateur golfers‘ activity. Some amateurs return to daily routine after two weeks (others even after one or two months) of total relax. A thorough training before holidays is a good starting point, but it’s not enough. After a period of inactivity, muscles and joints training ability need some progression at the beginning of a new season.

In this period, risk of injuries is very high because students feel recharged and bold. They think it’s possible to start from the level they had previously reached. Let's see some changes that occur after a de-training period.



Heavy DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and other non desirable complications are behind the corner, waiting for athletes who don’t follow an accurate plan.

Trainers use all their charisma with tour players to avoid stupid mistakes in this phase. The worse scenario is a pro away from gym or competition for another two to six months. Even a pause of two or more weeks may be a price too high to pay. Amateurs are often alone in this process and have no idea how to proceed.


I would analyze the problem from three points of view: FITNESS, GOLF and MEDICAL.



FITNESS AMBIT


There are simple rules I apply with my students:


1) YOU SHOULD PERFORM ONLY LIGHT WARM-UP AND STRETCHING DURING FIRST SESSION.

["Mobility trumps stability" Gray Cook - SFMA founder and TPI board member]


2) YOU MUST REDUCE BY 50% OF YOUR PREVIOUS WORKOUT LOAD FOR TWO WEEKS OF NON-TRAINING.

[This is valid at least for the first week, but you can apply it as long as it seems necessary]


3) IF THE NON-TRAINING PERIOD LASTS FOR THREE OR FOUR WEEKS, YOU MUST DEDUCT ANOTHER 30%

[-65% of old workout]


4) FOR EVERY WEEK OF RE-TRAINING, YOU MUST ADD 20% OF WEIGHT.



Let me explain better these concepts with some numbers.

Imagine that, before holidays, you performed a workout like:


1) warm-up: 15 minutes running at 10km/h

2) barbell front squats: 4 sets x 10 reps x 40 kg with 180 sec rest

3) mountain climbers: 3 sets x 60 reps x bodyweight with 30 sec rest

4) dumbbell military press: 4 sets x 12 reps x 6kg (each side) with 90 sec rest

5) kettlebell swings: 3 sets x 15 reps x 20kg with with 60 sec rest

6) jumps box: 2 sets x 8 reps x bodyweight (box 30 inches height) with 120 sec rest


I've chosen a group of heterogeneous exercises on purpose. We can use different tricks for changing total output load. We could modify every aspect: weight, n° of reps, n° of sets and time of rest. The main concept is to maintain the workout basic features.



After two weeks of rest the old fitness schedule could be:


1) warm-up: 5 minutes walking at 6,5km/h + 9 minutes running at 9km/h + 1 minute walking at 6,5km/h

[speed variation]

2) barbell front squats: 4 sets x 10 reps x 20kg with 180 sec rest

[weight variation]

3) mountain climbers: 3 sets x 30 reps x bodyweight with 30 sec rest

[reps variation]

4) dumbbell military press: 3 sets x 9 reps x 5kg (each side) with 90 sec

[sets + reps + weight variations]

5) kettlebell swings: 3 sets x 12 reps x 12kg with 60 sec rest

[reps + weight variations]

6) jump box: 2 sets x 6 reps x bodyweight (box 24 inches height) with 180 sec rest

[reps + box height + rest-time variations]



After a month doing nothing for your fitness, the old workout could be:


1) warm-up: 3 minutes walking at 6km/h + 3 minutes running at 8,5km/h + 3 minutes walking at 6,5km/h + 3 minutes running at 9km/h + 3 minutes walking at 6,5 km/h

[speed variation]

2) barbell front squats: 4 sets x 7 reps x 20kg with 180 sec rest

[weight + reps variations]

3) mountain climbers: 3 sets x 21 reps x bodyweight x with 30 sec rest

[reps variation]

4) dumbbell military press: 3 sets x 8 reps x 4kg (each side) with 90 sec rest

[sets + reps + weight variations]

5) kettlebell swings: 3 sets x 12 reps x 8kg with 60 sec rest

[reps + weight variations]

6) jump box: 2 sets x 4 reps x bodyweight (box 24 inches height) with 180 sec rest

[reps + box height + rest-time variations]


(Editor's note: every time the weight has decimal numbers, it is reduced to lower value)


Let's take a look again at the first form. Now you should imagine a month without exercises. The last form could be a good basis for re-starting. Does that make sense? Working with a percentage of your previous load allows your body to get used again (gradually) to gym and golf requirements.

Now you have to add 20% of load, week after week, and the job will be done.


If you take a look at the graph below, you can easily understand how the process works.

  • Y-axis is the mitochondrial cells number in a muscle.

  • X-axis is time.

  • The red line is strength increasing curve due to training.

  • The purple line is strength decreasing trend due to non-training.

  • The green line is strength increasing curve when, after some rest, a person starts to workout again



After one or two de-training weeks, you need five or six weeks to be back where you were before holidays. There isn't a big difference between two and four weeks of stop.

You must remember that, in the same period, you have to resume even your golf practice. My advice could seem exaggerated, but the swing is a subtle balance. Any muscular trouble would have negative effects on a player, both physically and mentally. It brings us straight to next ambit.



GOLF AMBIT


When my students re-start practice after a rest-period, I've a clear idea how to proceed. It is a ladder. They must climb with proper timing. Rushing or making steps two at a time may put them (and you) in serious trouble.


The first goal is to fix general swing coordination and rhythm. Short game, like distance wedges from 30 to 80 meters, is the best tool. Furthermore, you may immediately gain again your feeling with pitching distance control. It will be useful during first course rounds later. I'd recommend one session working exclusively on these concepts. (Features: little speed, low energy)


The second goal is to refresh some feelings about full swing: set-up, alignment, feet pressure on the ground (static and dynamic), balance, position of CoM (Center of Mass), kinematic sequence, X-factor during backswing, X-stretch during transition, wrists movements during downswing etc.

What to start with depends on player abilities and skills. There are many softwares that can help you. Academies with launch monitor, 3-D system analysis and pressure plate are priceless (look for one of them!). I'd recommend two sessions working with irons between nine and six. During these sessions, you should do some putting games for interspersing long-game tiresome work.


While you continue to rebuild the core of your swing, you can polish up hips movement and wrists whipping action. It's now time to pull out hybrids and woods and hit some power shots. Don't forget to devote a bit of time on routine. I'd recommend two sessions or more, unless you feel confident again with your game. Now you're ready for the course. I’d recommend nine holes the first time, hitting some balls from situations and lies that you feel are tough. Then you should have an eighteen hole practice round with score in your hand.

Usually amateurs think it's better to practice for a while and then they take a lesson with a teaching professional. My last advice for this ambit is: the first day you put a foot on driving range, you should book a lesson with your pro. He may help to avoid swing compensations and mistakes as personal trainers do in the gym.




MEDICAL AMBIT


It isn't my field of expertise. So I'd give you simple advice. Before starting re-training protocol, call your physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath or other medical professional whom you trust. You must tell him what you're going to do. Then you should book at least two appointments/sessions, the first ten days later and the second twenty days afterwards.

Checking your body status and alignment is useful. You will avoid muscle contractures and unbalanced loads on one side compared to the other. Variables relative to your holidays are non-countable. So it's better for you to reset yourself with the help of a professional and to be followed in this process for a while.



Last observation


Remember that the faster you gained strength and power the steeper will be the decreasing curve with no-training at all. The best way is to have a transition period between sport seasons. I recommend you continue a light workout routine during holidays. Five or ten minutes per day of bodyweight exercises can have a huge consequence on your ability to maintain a good fitness level.




"Est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines / quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum." Quinto Orazio Flacco


(There is a right way to do stuff, there are right ambits / it cannot exist the right thing beyond and short these limits)



MATTEO NIGLIO

+39 347 3900877

Mail: matteo.niglio@tiscali.it

Sito Web: nigliogolf.com

Facebook / YouTube: “Matteo Niglio - golf pro & fitness coach”

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