What is Nike NG360 Golf Performance Powered by the Gray Institute? Fortunately, I can tell you first hand after becoming certified in October of 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Here at Sandestin, we've had an influx of tourists visiting the resort and the golf season is ramping up as the weather improves. There has been a lot of interest in the program and the golfers are starting to walk into the clinic to inquire. I thought it would be good to explain. The NIKE course was amazing and put on by the incredible Gary Gray, PT who is Michael Jordan's physical therapist through the Gray Institute and therefore, added into the name of the program. The focus is improving your movement in 3 planes of motion, 3D. We move as humans in three dimensions and should train in a similar fashion. If you look at most workout routines, everything seems to be in what we call the sagittal plane, motions that move forward and back (bicep curl, squat, lunge, etc.). The idea here is to get the body better moving which will carry over into golf. Most of the clients I have seen so far require the basics in training in strength and flexibility before we get into the more golf specific activities. If you look at the golf swing you can see how much rotation is involved in the body. It makes sense as to why the ankle and hip have a major influence on the low back during the golf swing. Most of the elite golfers in the game right now have incredible flexibility. Look at the picture provided below. The rotation at the ankle and hip is amazing and usually the primary focus of our training. At NIKE, they emphasized improving the "Transitional Zones" which are the end of the back swing and the end of the follow through knowing that everything in between will take care of itself. Agreed. Look how internally rotated the left hip is in the golfers below. The average Joe cannot obtain this position and it's something we see instant results with once we target the appropriate musculature. Lifestyle promotes tight hip flexors from sitting and traveling which ultimately limits the follow through. Most of the clients I work with finish their swing with the pelvis still in a flexed position and the low back extended until we introduce a couple highly effective stretches in a weight bearing position. Getting the ankle to pivot also provides instant improvement and takes immediate stress off of the low back. If the hip and ankle are not rotating, guess what has to rotate more and does not want to? The low back. If Fred Couples didn't rotate on that ankle below, the hip wouldn't rotate as much and the back would be jamming into more extension. Most of the older gentlemen are already standing with increased extension in their low back because of the tight hip flexors (and pot belly) that we had mentioned earlier causing the pelvis to tilt forward resulting in an extended back. Now a back that is already resting in an extended position certainly does not want to go into more extension, especially in a violent manner that is performed during the golf swing. That translates into pain. I threw in a video of Gary demonstrating the stretches that I tend to use quite often in the clinic without the use of the fancy gizmo. Give it a shot and you'll notice instant mobility after a good couple minutes of stretching. We went over each joint in the class in a similar fashion to the video below. Enjoy and please share so we can all BeneFIT!
Also, please ask questions. I could not possibly cover all of the info detailed in the class. Thanks for reading!
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Scott Rusin is the Director of Physical Therapy at the Sandestin Executive Health & Wellness Center in Sandestin Resort, Miramar Beach, FL. He has a degree in Physical Therapy, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Nike Golf NG360 Performance Specialist Powered by the Gray Institute.