I’d never heard it pitched that way before: “I want to see how you move.” How I move boxes? On the dance floor? “No, how you move. It will help you become a better, fitter golfer.” Her name is Marie Achkar and she is a TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) certified medical professional and a certified athletic trainer. She has training and fitness experience with Olympic athletes and she is going to help this middle-aged engine become a stronger, more efficient golfer.
We met up at Discover Golf Fitness, my favorite place to hang out for fitness’ sake. Her goal was to spend an hour asking questions and putting me through an elaborate series of positions and exercises, called functional movement testing, all geared toward determining my level of flexibility and my personal strengths and weaknesses of motion. Before I continue, let me say that at no time did I assume the pretzel position, or did I ever feel like a contortionist. Each position and exercise defined a range and it was Marie’s task to determine where I fit along each individual range. Each result led to one of 170 possible tests, each test dependent on the previous result.
I’ve been through fitness testing before. Typically what they find is that I have very good flexibility for a dude, weak balance and average core strength. I’ve focused on hamstring strength since a source (maybe a person, maybe a book) once told me that strong core and strong hamstrings mean less lower back pain/injury. Marie smiled and dispelled that myth, revealing that it is the glutes, not the hamstrings, that provide the lower/rear support of the back. She then confessed that my glutes were not firing and that they needed a fair bit of work.
I’ll be honest…I want to know that something needs a fair bit of work. I don’t feel like a well-oiled machine, nor do I envision myself to be a powerful athlete. I know that professionals peek before age 46 (where I am currently parked), yet I hold out an immeasurable degree of hope that I will always strive to improve through all my days. For that reason, I KNOW that I can get those glutes a-firing and I know that I can strengthen my upper and middle back. Marie and I agreed to meet every other week for a three-month period, to work from the baseline toward a yet-unstated goal. I shall report on our progress after each session, as well as during off weeks when I reach a minor or major break through.
In the meantime, if you’d like to get in touch with Marie Achkar to set up your own testing and evaluation, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.