The Powerlifting Golfer (Blog)

Powerlifting for Golf

Powerlifting for Golf

So lets squash a few myths before I convince you to slap on a back belt and cover yourself in a cloud of chalk.

  1. Powerlifting is not bodybuilding, but we do lift bro!
  2. Powerlifting is not “Working Out”.  It is training.
  3. Powerlifting is objective.  We train to lift a certain weight.

If you want to label yourself as a powerlifter, or at least train like one, it’s pretty simple.  All you have to do is become as strong and proficient as possible in the Bench Press, Deadlift and Squat.  If you want extra credit, you can toss in the overhead press, which will from now on be referred to as the OHP (it’s all about lingo).  Even though your progress will be determined by the total amount you lift on the Bench Press, Deadlift, and Squat (all future references will be called “The Big 3″…more lingo!), you will still do various accessory movements.  You essentially train the entire body with the primary focus being on improving your “Big 3” lifts.

How is powerlifting different then bodybuilding?  

If you are training like a bodybuilder the primary focus is going to be on the individual muscle contraction.  The goal is to shape and build individual muscles using various amounts of weights, sets and repetitions.  If you put ego aside, which is damn near impossible for some, the weight used by a bodybuilder is irrelevant.  The weight is simply a tool to achieve the ideal and desired muscle contraction.  I feel this is the primary difference between bodybuilding and powerlifting.  A powerlifter is focused on the weight and any aesthetic body changes are a side effect of the pursuit of more weight.  Compared to a bodybuilder who focuses on aesthetics and has the side effect of having to increase weight to achieve the desired aesthetics.

Train like a powerlifter.

Weight training like a powerlifter is like hitting balls at the driving range and aiming at a target, while just working out is spraying balls randomly all over place.  You may get some results, but they will not be as good as they would be if you had a target.  When you train like a powerlifter you are not simply working out, you are working towards a specific target weight.

Powerlifting is objective.

The greatest thing about powerlifting is that it’s completely objective.  You set a target weight and work your ass off until you get there.  Don’t get me wrong the getting there is the hard.

“It’s supposed to be hard…the hard is what makes it great” – Tom Hanks (A League of Their Own)

Not only is it objective, but it’s also personal.  My target lifts are mine and mine alone.  There is nobody judging my appearance or trying to keep me from my goal.  It’s similar to golf where the goal score is relative to the person trying to attain it.  My bench press is nowhere near a lot of people, but I still get to reach for a number that I have never done before.  That’s the beauty of setting personal records.  How often in life do you get to physically perform a feat that you have never accomplished before?

Why should you choose Powerlifting to become a stronger golfer?

If you’ve made it this far then at least you’re open to the fact that weight training can make you a stronger and longer golfer.  So lets get to the reasons why weight training, specifically powerlifting, can help you.  I like to think of the body as a machine.  This machine is of course powered by an engine.  This engine can only produce so much power.  You can make small changes and tweaks, but to truly increase power output you’re going to need a bigger engine.  Weight training can build you that bigger engine.  With the proper type of training you can increase your strength which drives your muscles faster thus exerting more power.  This can result in more clubhead speed and more distance.  It can also lead to more control of the clubface while blasting out of the long rough.  Remember Tiger Woods back in the day?

This takes strength!
This takes strength!

 

With all this talk about lifting weights you may be picturing Arnold.

It's a little too much!
It’s a little too much!

You need to forget about the bodybuilder image.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I want you to take a look in the mirror and just imagine a stronger version of you.  Can you bench press your body weight?  If you had to pick up a really heavy object off the floor could you do it?  I think most people will say yes, but unfortunately most cannot.  Golf can be a physically demanding game on the body.  So many people have a bad back or knees or you name the ailment.  Take a look around the next time you play and just notice how many golfers prefer to take a cart instead of walk. It’s considered strange for a person to walk 18 holes.  Hell, some courses won’t even allow you to walk!  I can’t even remember the last time I saw a foursome walking 18.  Our bodies have gotten away from us and have begun to break down.  The machine is falling apart.  The good news is it can be repaired.

The beauty of the “Big 3” movements is that they are full range compound movements.  Each one requires the entire body working together and with practice you can become better and more proficient.  This sounds remarkably like a golf swing…weird!  While performing these movements you are going to incorporate so many muscles, large and small, that you will feel and see the differences all over your body.  If you still have any doubt, think of performing the “Big 3” in real world situations.  I’m sure we all know someone who has injured themselves doing everyday tasks.  Whether it’s getting up from a chair or picking up a child off the floor, there are so many different ways a weak untrained body can get injured.  By training in the powerlifting movements you are going to be moving a barbell by using your entire body.  This is going to result in more strength, power and the ability to move your body optimally.  It will also strengthen your body especially in the vulnerable lower back region.  This is the reason Rory McIlroy turned to weight training.Rory Trap Bar Deadlift

Are you sold on powerlifting yet?  If the answer is no then here’s my final pitch.  Do you want to hit the ball farther?  Have you already invested in a brand new driver?  Did it make much of a difference?  Hopefully it did.  I hope you gained 10 more yards.  However, are you still the shortest hitter in your foursome?  Can you still not reach a par 5 in two?  That driver made you a little longer, but you’re still not long!  That Pro V1 you’re playing will help a little but you’re maxed out.  I don’t care what that brush tee says it’s not adding 4 more yards.  There are no more variables left.  There’s no more equipment left to buy.  What are you going to do about it?

Bulls**t
Bulls**t

 

It’s time for a bigger engine…Let’s get to work!

Mobilize for Better Weight Training

If it’s all in the preparation, then why am I unprepared?

Everyone knows that it’s impossible to teach an old dog new tricks.  I’ve been trying  to teach my dog Woody for years to “speak,” but he

Old Dog
Fold a pair…eat a pair

still hasn’t learned.  However, he has attempted to help with the laundry (to no avail).  Despite Woody’s apprehension to learn new things I would like to think of myself as more intelligent and able to learn (debatable).  So with superior intelligence over the K-9 and unlimited access to information, why do I continue to be ill prepared.  And then the old dog, “Woody” showed me the tricks on how to prepare as you get closer to the turn in the Golf game of life.  That was my attempt at some fancy analogous…alliteration…I mean I’m getting OLDER.

dog stretch
The Downward Dog

Have you ever watched an old dog get up after laying around?  It’s a production!  Woody will typically start off with some “downward dog” go figure.  Then he will usually rise up and walk into a nice forward stretch perhaps “upward facing dog”.  This is followed up with a nice full body shake.  There might even a be a quick lick and scratch session.  All of this just to get

back leg stetch
The Upward Facing Dog

up and walk to the next resting spot.  Woody understands that he has to mobilize before he takes action.  I finally decided to take a page from my fury companion.  After all, he is a master at Yoga.

I’ve been struggling with my squat for a couple of years.  There have been some sessions that have gone well, but they are few and far between.  It wasn’t from lack of trying or research.  The benefit of trying to become a stronger lifter nowadays is that there is so much good information available.  There is almost no excuse to having poor technique and a lack of understanding of the particular movement.  So why is the squat such a struggle?  I even watched and read plenty of content about how to prepare for a squat session.  However, even armed with information I failed to understand the true importance of preparation and mobilization.  I would always do the same half-ass stretching routine and expect the session to be different.  There’s a word that describes this kind of thinking…INSANE.

scared dog
I’m embarrassed for you?

So prior to this last squat session I made it a point (20 minutes) to MOBILIZE.  This is a fancy name for rolling around on the carpet and putting your body into  multiple unflattering positions.  My daughter laughed and Woody left the room.  The humiliation was worth it.  After some serious contorting and moving I was able to loosen up my hips and back and proceeded to CRUSH my squat workout.  I was able to hit proper depth and set a new 3 rep PR.

Sleeping dudes
Nap Time!

So what does this all mean?  First, I love my dog.  Second, It’s important to put as much focus on the preparation as it is the actual objective.  You can bring as much intensity as you want, but if your body isn’t ready to go it will not perform.  This will end in a major let down and could start to effect your confidence.  Thank you Woody for showing me the way to prepare.  We may be slow to start, but once we get going, we are still as good as we once were.  Now lets go take a nap. All this typing has made me exhausted.

 

Crunch Fitness (Mason OH) – Reviewed by “The Powerlifting Golfer”

Crunch Fitness
Crunch Fitness (Mason OH)

Sometimes when an animal is released into the wild they turn around and go back into their cage.

Disclaimer – I have not belonged to a commercial gym in a few years.  I have put a lot of time and money into my home gym and have even made a video about it (see video vault).
So there seems to be a new gym opening every few months in the greater Cincinnati area.  Within 10 miles of my house there is: Lifetime Fitness, Planet Fitness, LA Fitness (x3), Snap 24 and a host of other regional chains.  This doesn’t include the independent gyms.  So there is lots to choose from and something for everyone… or is there?  The latest to open is Crunch Fitness.  I had never seen one before, until they appeared in a former Borders Bookstore.  It’s a great location right at the end of a big open air shopping center.  After passing it twice a day and peaking into the windows (not a creeper) during a date night with the wife, I decided to sign up for a one day trial.  Here are my findings…
Tanning / Hydo-Massage
What the Hell is Hydro-Massage?
The check in process was super simple and the dude wasn’t pushy at all about a membership.  That was cool!  He then mentioned I could use the Tanning and Hydro-Massage during my one day pass.  I said no thanks even though I’m not really sure what Hydro-Massage is, but I was pretty certain it wasn’t going to be my thing.  So with all the formalities finished it was time to enter the Thunderdome!
The facility is brand new and everything is branded.  It says Crunch on everything.  The plates and dumbbells are all clearly labeled and organized.  There weren’t too many people in the free weight area so all lights were green to begin my workout.
Free Weight Area
Welcome to Thunderdome!
I figured chest day would be the easiest way to assimilate into the crowd.  There were only two flat benches to choose from. However, they were both empty.  Awesome!  Time to get to work.  I soon realized I was the only person sporting compression cuffs and wrist wraps.  I also noticed that I was old.  Who gives a shit, let’s get going.  I’ve got my headphones and stocking cap…oh wait stocking caps appear to be out now.  What the hell? Sean feeling uncomfortable…Sean need to lift something heavy!

 

Please step inside Sean’s brain and enjoy the ride –  Why is the bar smooth? Where is the cheese grader knurling?  I’ll just use some chalk and…that’s right no chalk.  I get it.  Chalk is incredibly messy.  No problem quit complaining and lift.  Why does this feel different?  Why can I almost dump the bar over top of the uprights?  Why are my arms so long, or are everyone else’s arms short?  What…just lift.  I’ll just move over to a power rack where I’ll be more comfortable.  Wait…Smith Machine, Smith Machine, Smith Machine…oh shit!  There’s no where else to go.  I’ll just squeeze out one more rep and forget it.  Let’s move on.

Oh sweet sweet dumbbells how much I missed you.  Oooo they have 120’s. Let’s do some incline dumbbell presses because we can’t do these at home. I’ll just grab the hundos and…stupid knurling.  Why are they so smooth? Why is that group a dudes standing by an adult jungle gym?  They haven’t lifted anything.  Did they all come together in one big car or did they meet here?  How big is that car?  Focus…Let’s try for one more rep…why did that kid just drop a 40# dumbbell?  My 105’s never touched the ground, but he spiked that 40 like he scored a touchdown.  Oh well let’s move onto arms.

Excuse me tan people I need to slide by here.  What…Where are the pins for the weight stack?  When did they start using switches?  How can I not know this?  Relax just pick a weight and…too heavy.  Grind it out Sean there is no back only forward.  That sucked!  Let’s get away from this contraption and back to the dumbbells.  Lets knock out some Hammer Curls…why are they so smooth?  Who can hold on to these things?  Why isn’t anyone else lifting?  Those dudes are still at the jungle gym.  Time for pull ups.

What the hell is this thing?  There are monkey bars, punching bags (not for punching), ropes, rings and lots of kettle-bells.  Oh well…I’ll just jump up and grab something and pull myself up.  What the hell…even this bar is smooth.

It is now safe to exit my brain – Even though Crunch Fitness was not for me it was a really nice facility.  If anything, it was too nice and polished and I never felt like I could bring the intensity.  There were lots of people working hard and some people socializing.  The latter really doesn’t matter, but it doesn’t help my intensity level.  It was overall pretty quiet. If I was to let out a last rep war cry it would of been really awkward. The house music was the standard bullshit, but not too loud.  The Crossfit area was pretty cool and I saw a kid doing box jumps on some really cool looking equipment.  So overall Crunch Fitness was really nice and it’s a hell of a deal.  It’s currently less then $15 a month for there basic membership.  That includes all the enrollment and misc fees they don’t advertise.  However, it’s not for me.  There truly is no place like home. Where everyone knows your name and you own every house record. Unless your spouse has the records; then please be sure to clean up the their weights when they are  done!

The Keyboard Warrior’s Guide to Dieting

Congrats on the desk job…you’re screwed!

Desk Belly
“The Office Bulge”

If you have the metabolism of a racehorse or you’re constantly active (CONGRATS) you can save this post for later.  For the remaining keyboard warriors and cube farm commandos, here is the lesson I learned on trying to diet as an aging, less active,husband, father of two, powerlifting golfer.  I think that’s everything!

I changed jobs a few years back and besides congratulations, you’re going to get big was the most common farewell.  The scary thing was they were right.  I left a job where I was on my feet and active for 10 hours a day to a job where I’m in a chair for 9 hours.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some cardio aspects to banging away on a 10’s key all day, but they are minimal!  What I found was that I was going to struggle maintaining weight while ensuring I got my required macros.  The funny thing is I remember a time when I would try to “Bulk”.  That is no longer a problem.  If I want to put on weight now, it would be unstoppable.  What I aspire for now is maintenance.  So here is what I found to be the positives of settling into a more sedimentary work environment:

  • Conserving energy for workouts is never an issue
  • It is possible to determine how many calories you burn everyday
  •  You can control when you eat and the quantity
  • The quantity of food can be constant because you are not burning any additional calories

​After a year of large fluctuations in my weight, I finally settled into a diet groove.  The biggest breakthrough I made was determining an appropriate amount of calories.  There are lots of caloric calculators available, but they can only get you so far.  It took about 3 weeks, but I was able to track my weight and diet and finally determine my break-even caloric number.  My number was 2700 calories per day.  It actually surprised me that it was so low.  At 6’3 and 218lbs. I figured it would be higher.  I always read about these 4000-5000 calorie diets to build muscle.  I found the rub to be the fact that I sit at a desk all day.  Even though I feel I train pretty hard, it does not make up for sitting 9 hours a day.  So here is what I did about it:

  • Avoid the typical office temptations (donuts, sodas, the flavored creamers)​
  • Consume an insane amount of coffee to suppress hunger and maintain energy levels
  • Attempt to stay on a regular eating schedule
  • Try to move around as much as possible, although it won’t be much
coffee and donuts
Keyboard Warrior’s Breakfast

Once I determined my calories, I was then able to figure out my macros.  There are all sorts of calculators available to determine your macro levels.  I try to eat my body weight in protein everyday and then work backwards to determine carbohydrate and fat grams for the day.  It has resulted in the following:

  • Calories – 2700
  • Protein – 218
  • Carbs – 300
  • Fat – 64

Dieting is much harder then weight training.  I have very little discipline when it comes to food.  If I indulge, I will then go on a all out food bender. So I keep my diet very simple and monotonous.  I found that if I essentially eat the same thing everyday I have less chance of going off the rails.  The reasoning for this is that at 2700 calories per day there is not much room for error.  I’m one large pizza away from a caloric surplus that would be tough to burn off.  During the golf season, I can increase the calorie level a little due to increased activity, but not a substantial amount.

So to all my fellow keyboard warriors who battle in the trenches everyday. Let us keep up the fight.  Raise our coffee mugs in air and declare we will not be beaten by the office bulge.

Office Deadlift
No Excuses – Find a WAY!

For more information on Dieting in the workplace please checkout my Video below!

 

Rory McIlroy lifts weights…DO YOU?

Why Should YOU Weight Train For Golf?

So a Sledge and Wedge Golf favorite, Mr. Rory McIlroy posted a video himself doing a squat workout.  He had barely finished the first rep before all the naysayers started voicing their opinions.  At some point people will realize what Gary Player has known all along…check out the guns on the “Black Knight”

Picture

Gary realized early on that a strong body can still be flexible and capable of playing high level golf .  Rory has stated clearly that “he’s not a bodybuilder” and that he’s trying to increase his strength to avoid injury. This is when everyone reverts back to the “Tiger argument”.  Everyone is quick to point out his injuries and his body transformation as he increased his strength level.   The argument points out that he decreased distance and club speed as he became stronger and bigger.  This may be true, but Tiger has stated that there were shots he was not strong enough to hit when he was the skinny fast twitched youngster from the 97 Masters.

Picture

Tiger would hit one of his custom shots from an impossible lie in the rough, and the commentators would trip over themselves talking about the incredible strength of the big cat.  Now he’s the prime example of how trying to get stronger is not conducive to better golf.  The HYPOCRISY is ridiculous.  So the best golfer of the last 30 years and his heir apparent, Rory, believe strength training for golf is beneficial; but they’re the ones that are wrong.  I think I’ll follow the lead of Gary, Tiger and Rory and their 27 majors.

Please checkout my video as I explore this topic further and give Rory a Sledge and Wedge Golf salute.

What’s Sledge and Wedge Golf?

What is Sledge and Wedge Golf?

  • It’s and slogan that seeks to crush the misconception that weight lifting for golf is negative.
  • I support the golfer who understands that overall body strength is important.
  • I will document my progress as I seek to become stronger, longer and better.
  • I support all golfers who believe that driving the ball longer can result in more enjoyment and better scores.
  • Destroy the naysayers that believe touching a barbell will result in some overnight bulky body transformation.

PictureIf I here one more person say that they don’t want to lift weights for golf, because they will “become bulky” or “lose flexibility”…I will…say nothing.  What I’ll do is air mail them off the tee.  We’re all not born with the fast twitch, ultra flexible frames like Bubba, or Daly.  However, you don’t need the dexterity of a ballerina to swing a golf club fast.  We’re talking about swinging a weighted object through space.  The experts will show you all sorts of exercise movements that mimic a golf swing…See wood chops or one legged rotational twists holding a medicine ball, while tilting at the waist and straddling a parking meter.  I made up the parking meter part, but it’s as ridiculous as the rest.  You need a foundation of strength.  Your house is only as strong as your foundation and without it, all the pretty details will crumble to the ground.  Your body is the same way.  You need total body strength…head to toe.  The so called “golf specific muscles” are the same ones used during a deadlift, squat or bench press.
​     Tiger is the poster child for both the positives and negatives of serious strength training.  The naysayers will say that it was his obsessive training that made his body break down.  I say the guy won 14 majors (however you want to count them) and reached that level after he transformed his body.  He dominated with multiple swings, but he always kept his body at a high strength level.  Maybe it was the late night carousing with waitresses and strippers that took away from his dominance.  Whatever it was, all the detractors combined don’t equal the wins that Tiger accomplished.  I got sidetracked….In closing, golf is a sport played by lots of people that do not train like athletes.  Do not listen to these people!  Being stronger is a good thing.  Lifting a barbell will not turn you into Arnold.  The next time you here someone say “I don’t want to lift weights for golf because I don’t way to get bulky”.  Reply with “I hope you enjoy seeing the ass end of my Titleist as I fly by” and then tell them about Sledge and Wedge Golf.

Big WeightsBigger Drives