Article Featured in NorthenVirgina Magazine
Article by Rachel Keeney
Tim Carroll, co-founder of Custom Kinetics personal training, works with clients between the ages of 16 and 75, affording him unique insight into the physicality behind a range of professions and pastimes. Primarily focused on assessing and improving mobility, Carroll addresses foundational physical issues in order to improve or build upon specific skills. One example: perfecting a golf swing.
“All golfers … want to hit the ball longer, strike with more consistency, enjoy a pain-free round and lower their handicap,” Carroll says.
In order to help golfers achieve those ends and frustrated by his struggle to break his own 95 handicap, Carroll went to his first Titleist Performance Institute workshop, educational programs that specifically tackle the relationship between physical fitness and golf. Carroll now uses the TPI screen, a 15-movement pass/fail physical assessment, for Custom Kinetics clients. The assessment includes a test of swing mechanics, biomechanics, physical fitness, quality of movement, health and client history.
“Assessing clients with the TPI screen has proven to be an invaluable tool,” Carroll says. “Each golfer’s swing is unique to that individual. The screen and TPI Prosite allow for flexibility and creativity when designing programs.”
The TPI Prosite, software available to TPI-certified professionals, allows trainers to input a client’s test results and then receive a list of recommended movements and drills that will address each of the client’s apparent impairments. Carroll says the top three issues his clients encounter are a lack of hip mobility, lack of thoracic (the area between the neck and abdomen) rotation and a lack of core, trunk and shoulder stability.
These issues can arise from hard-to-avoid activities that take a daily toll, such as lack of movement from sitting at a desk all day, not understanding the importance of pre- and post-workout stretching, insufficient exercise and poor eating, hydration and sleep habits.
Some overly ambitious golfers, despite their good intentions, can even bring these issues upon themselves through more drastic behaviors.
“Most golfers have no idea where to start in regards to fitness or a training program,” Carroll says. “They see an exercise on YouTube that will help ‘increase your drive by 20 yards,’ try it and end up with lower back pain or some other ailment. You have to earn the right to perform explosive exercises, otherwise you’re risking injury.”
While every attempt at correcting these issues is designed for the individual, Carroll shared some of his go-to exercises.
For a lack of hip mobility, he suggests rocking, supine hip drops, primal rolling and crawling variations (bear crawl, lateral crawl). Crawling helps your body to better anticipate and react to movement. Some clients also use resistance bands to help generate the movement and pattern.
Carroll says another major issue, thoracic rotation, is often caused because players can’t “do extension properly and use their lower backs instead.”
“One of the [exercises] that I give for homework is called a T-spine rotation,” he says. “This is a great stretch for thoracic spine mobility and stretching out your chest.”
Carroll also has clients perform a variation of anti-rotation movements (especially through the pallof press) as well as unilateral leg movements.
And if golfers aren’t sure how to perform such recommended exercises, he suggests consulting a knowledgeable expert like a personal trainer.