Recapping the TPI Level 1 Certification

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This weekend, my coworker and I went south to learn about assessing, correcting, and relating movement to the golf swing.

Oh and by south, I mean we went to New Jersey which was still really cold.

This was probably the first time in the last 10 years that I left the northeast and I had a great time learning a ton of new things.

Titleist Performance Institute is on the forefront of educating golfers, golf pros, fitness pros, and medical pros about the connection between the swing and the body’s movement.

The most prominent thing that I learned was the body swing connection. I understood a lot of ways to train strength, stability, or mobility in golfers before but I had no clue how someone’s movement affected their swing.

I thought it was a really interesting dynamic as well. The room was full of fitness pros, golf pros, physical therapists, chiropractors, and potentially more professions.

This gives everyone a great opportunity to learn new things from other disciplines. I learned a bunch about swing characteristics while a golf pro hopefully learned a thing or two about fitness.

One of the most impressive aspects of the course came from the instructors. Jason Glass is fitness, Dave Phillips and Mark Blackburn are golf pros, and Lance Gill is on the medical side of things. All of these men have a remarkable understanding of the other disciplines but allow the proper pros to perform their expertise.

Too often we run into fitness pros that are experts in sports performance, back pain, ACL rehab, pre natal, post natal, pelvic floor, Crossfit, and yoga. Somewhere something has to suffer and in this case it’s probably a little bit of everything.

There is nothing wrong with understanding the other fields but these guys are evidence to stay in our lanes.

Obviously the most I learned was specific to golf and there was a metric ton of great information. There were some other things that really got me thinking.

  1. If someone cannot hold a movement then is too hard for them

The single leg bridge test assesses glute strength unilaterally. Not many people will pass this assessment with great glute strength. There were some really strong people in the room that couldn’t hold this position very long.

sl glute bridge

Sometimes the notion is to give someone harder exercises, without a load, in order to get better at the pattern. The truth is if someone cannot hold a single leg bridge, they need to be doing easier exercises. Once the single leg bridge test is mastered then harder variations will work.

This applies to exercises like hip thrusts or barbell glute bridges. It is easy to load up a bar super heavy and have the person lift them up with their hips. 90% of people are going to use the low back and hamstrings to achieve this movement. This is not glute activation like we want.

It does not always make sense to use harder variations to get better at exercises. It might seem like common sense when I type it but people try exercises that they are not ready for all of the time and then wonder why they aren’t reaching their goals.

  1. Getting good at a sport requires training for it

Clearly, I am a big believer that athletes need to train for sport. This was more of a reminder than a point that I learned. Most athletes will just try to play their sport more and more to try to get better at it.

Golfers will continuously go out and play without training for their sport. They will get lessons and play more rounds but not get better.

They need to train their body to get the proper mobility and stability where they need it.

If someone lacks the ability to rotate the T spine into the back swing, playing more golf will not improve their T spine mobility. It has to be trained.

The same goes for any athlete in any sport. No one wants to work on their strength or technique to get faster, everyone just tries to run more.

  1. The glutes and core are the driving force of the body

The TPI movement screen consists of 16 assessments and most of them are controlled by the glutes or the core muscles. Core and glute strength influences the ability to rotate the hips, rotate the t spine, reaching overhead, controlling the pelvis, and squatting.

Those that have incredible core stability and glute strength are going to be the most successful at whatever it is they are training for. It is also important to note that focusing on those two areas is going to increase performance dramatically.

I have written at length about how important the two muscle groups are but all of the movements they control is eye opening.

Taking the TPI course is awesome because I like golfing myself but I want to give golfers the tools they need to be successful. I will also be able to take the information I learned and implement it for other populations like hockey players and those with back pain.