Who is the Expert?

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When our car has trouble we go to see a mechanic, if a pipe bursts in our house we go to a plumber, and for work on our teeth we visit a dentist.

So when we need advice on fitness or injuries we will listen to any idiot?

Yesterday, Brandel Chamblee of the Golf Channel expressed his concern with Rory McIlroy lifting weights. He thinks that extensive weightlifting is part of the reason why Tiger woods started to perform poorly later in his career.

There was also a quote from legendary swing coach, Butch Harmon, about getting hurt in the gym from getting too bulky.

rory squat

Lets poke some holes in this argument shall we?

To be fair, Brandel did not say that Rory will start to suck because he lifts weights. But the problem is that he assumes lifting weights = injuries and/or poor play. Butch Harmon on the other hand appears to have less of a clue.

Here is what we know.

  • The golf swing is a violent action which results in plenty of injuries by itself
  • Strength training does not result in a ton of size increases
  • The goal of hypertrophy training is to increase muscular size
  •  Strength training helps makes athletes more durable and resist injury better
  • Stronger golfers will hit the ball further and have more control over their body
  • The injury rate in competitive weightlifting is much lower than most other sports
  • Most people do not train with the intensities or volume of weightlifting making the injury rate much lower

Strength training only helps the golf swing. Jason Glass works with a lot of professional golfers and is on the board with TPI, certifying professionals to work with golf.

On Twitter, he summed it up beautifully having never seen someone get worse with strength training.

It just does not happen. You will not enter a weight room and automatically become huge. And if we are worried about bulk affecting the golf swing, how do guys with their stomachs hanging over their pants manage to win events on tour.

Those guys are as bulky as it gets but they have seemed to figure it out.

In order to protect against the rigors of the golf swing, strength is necessary. It gives them the ability to withstand the stress that the swing puts on the body. Injury is the number one reason recreational golfers leave the game. Most recreational golfers are bulky slobs that don’t lift weights.

Lets also look at McIlroy and Rickie Fowler. Neither of them are very big- Rory is 5-9″, 165- but they can both murder the golf ball. Driving the ball well over 300 yards for smaller guys is incredible. Both of them take their off course training very seriously.

It is the new way to perform and everyone else just needs to get used to it.

I would also argue with Brandel that there were a couple of bigger picture things that affected the way Tiger played since his last major in 2008. One would be the divorce/scandal, coming back from injuries too soon is another, and constantly changing his swing is doing no favors.

Oh and the guy did win 5 events in 2013, his last injury free season.

The whole point of this article is questioning why we listen to these people on topics outside of their expertise. Brandel has never been shy to stir the pot and he is always good for comments that rattle the cages.

Everyone who has ever gone to the gym all of the sudden is a expert on fitness. We have people with advanced degrees in exercise, nationally recognized certifications, and authors that are doing great things with their clients. Yet, all of the A holes come out in groves when someone has a question about losing weight, nutrition, or lifting weights.

The worst part is that people listen to them!

We are willing to listen to people who have never trained anyone, wrote a program before, or gotten a single result for someone. Never mind finding the difference for someone who wants to train for sport performance, bodybuilding, and weight loss because they all need different approaches.

This is not exclusive to the fitness industry but it does go to medical. When one of our athletes is having issues with pain or an injury, they always go to their pediatrician. I trust their pediatrician to do their physicals, help them when they are sick, and whatever else they do.

They are not orthopedics or physical therapists. These people have terminal degrees just dealing with their scope. They are specialists in that area.

You have to find the specialists because they are the ones that are going to give you the useful advice. You wouldn’t ask your pediatrician to look at your teeth for cavities but everyday someone is asking the fitness equivalent of this.

Rory didn’t seem to take Brandel’s comments too seriously any way. His response on Twitter was to hit a set of 3 at 265 on the back squat.