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Strength and Golf with Jay Livsey | Starting Strength Radio #17

Mark Rippetoe | August 16, 2019

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Mark Wulfe:
From The Aasgaard Company studios in beautiful Wichita Falls, Texas... From the finest mind in the modern fitness industry... The one true voice in the strength and conditioning profession... The most important podcast on the internet... Ladies and gentlemen... Starting Strength Radio.

Mark Rippetoe:
Thank you, Mark Wulfe. Welcome to Starting Strength Radio, where extremely important shit gets discussed.

Mark Rippetoe:
Comments from the Haters!.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Good points, well-elucidated from a couple of fat fucks."

[off-camera]:
Which one is that on? You and Abeel?

Me and Abeel. Yeah, me and a heart surgeon. Oh, yeah. Here we go: "Smelly, brown Indian."

Mark Rippetoe:
No, no, no. We're going to... This is from a guy named N-A-U-O..."nauo.".

[off-camera]:
He's a less smelly version.

Mark Rippetoe:
That sounds like an awfully brown name. Sounds like a very brown name to me.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. "Rip has always... always has to expose his ignorance on nutrition. Friend of... friend in the meat industry told him to eat a minimum of 300 grams of protein a day. What a fat retard he is. And Santana is too scared to correct him like all Starting Strength sycophants. Also tired of his bitch-tit-having-ass pretending he is anything less than 30 percent bodyfat. His gut hangs a good three to four inches over his belt. Fucking slob. I went to a seminar once and all Rip did was snort and grunt the whole time. I never heard anyone as unhealthy sounding as him. I thought he was gonna have a heart attack any minute. He looked horrible."

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Here's a good one. "Jesus Christ." This is Frank Hoodacheck: "Jesus Christ, stop worrying about what YouTube comments say. Or at least stop bringing it up every 90 seconds. Goddamn, I'm a jacked metrosexual." No, you're not.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I had a boyfriend for a year once and he put his penis inside of my anal orifice. Twice. Twice. And it was not protected sex. Oh, so I'm getting hard just thinking about it." This is Frank Hoodacheck.

Mark Rippetoe:
Look, I'm just reading the goddamn things. Bre, printed it out. I read it. But there's a thing at the bottom of this that says "show less." I'm thinking maybe that would have been good to do.

Mark Rippetoe:
Let's see, "When will a segment of Starting Strength Radio come out with a segment on icing your testicles?" It might be a while, we'll try to get around that though. We gotta find a volunteer first. Would you like to? No, this is BRoberts42115. Give us a call B.

Mark Rippetoe:
Do you see why you people are the bottom 3 percent? Maybe the bottom 2 percent? Maybe the percentage has shrunk.

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay, one more. NoFapGamerG. This is our favorite. We always read this. "Why are Mark's nipples hard? Is he some kind of pervert?"

Mark Rippetoe:
He? "Is he some kind of pervert?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, fuck. Oh, that's so much fun. We're got to keep doing this. This is the greatest goddamn thing.

Mark Rippetoe:
Joining me this week is our friend Jay Livsey. Jay is from Denver. Jay is the owner of Starting Strength Denver. This was a free shirt. That's why I've got it on. No other reason.

Mark Rippetoe:
So, Jay, what the hell happenin', man? How far along are you?

Mark Rippetoe:
And we're recording this on July the 20. What is it? 3rd? July 23rd. So when this runs, it may... Hey, by the time this runs the damn thing, may be open.

Jay Livsey:
Doubtful.

Mark Rippetoe:
Probably not.

Jay Livsey:
Doubtful.

Mark Rippetoe:
Probably not. You know why? Because commercial real estate people are involved.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah, I hate to go that far, but yes. So actually, I just got an update right before we got on here. We're... the drawings are complete minus the MEP portion.

Mark Rippetoe:
What is the MEP?

Jay Livsey:
I don't know. They need some engineer... they need some engineers involved. They need the information...

Mark Rippetoe:
Mechanical, electrical. and plumbing.

Jay Livsey:
And they need the HVAC information. And they need an HVAC in there before we get that information.

Mark Rippetoe:
So the landlord has to install the the unit before anything can... Oh, God, this may take another couple years.

Jay Livsey:
The scare... the scary part was we might get a bid back by the end of the week.

Mark Rippetoe:
Might.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's been our common experience, boys and girls, that when you try to go around the country and open small businesses like we're trying to do the primary problem is commercial real estate.

Mark Rippetoe:
So in Jay's case, how long has that place been available? Sitting there empty. Just air in it. Right.

Jay Livsey:
Oh, yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
For what? Years? How long was it vacant?

Jay Livsey:
I mean they're vacant a long time.

Mark Rippetoe:
Months and months and months. Didn't you tell me it'd been a couple years since anything had been in there?

Jay Livsey:
No, that other place that we thought we had lined up had been always vacant since being built in 2006.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. Two thousand six - so it had been vacant for 13 years.

Jay Livsey:
The city told me that. Went down there and said, "Oh, there's nothing's ever been in there. So the property should be fine."

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. So he goes in and says, "Here... here's a check. I want to rent this space." And they go, "Hold on!" [Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.] "I kind of think we might just like to just leave it empty.

Jay Livsey:
Let's just slow down.

Mark Rippetoe:
Let's slow down now because empty is... you know, if if it's empty, then we don't have to try to find the key.

Jay Livsey:
I mean, it's still it's empty.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's still...

Jay Livsey:
Still empty. Yeah. They were... I mean, it is a shell ready to go. It was... it was bizarre.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah, well, it's... it's usually bizarre. Yeah. These things are. This is universally the case that we have found.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ah... like that deal in Dallas that we were looking at. We were... we looked at that place. What was it, Nick? June of last year? It was June of 2018. We found a location in Dallas. This is when we were thinking about having a company own one of the gyms.

Jay Livsey:
Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And we identified the location. They said it was for rent. We said we wanted to lease it and we fucked around with these people until the middle of December. And and they came back... they came back in the middle of December and said, "Well, you know, all this other... these hoops we've made you jump through are all well and good, but we've decided we want another ninety-five thousand dollar deposit from you because you guys don't seem to have any W-2 income.

Mark Rippetoe:
At that point. We... you know, our real estate broker said, look, I'm not even going to present that to these guys. You guys are not actually serious about this. So we just blew that whole idea off because it was just too goddamn frustrating. But it's been the same way virtually everywhere.

Jay Livsey:
I mean, these guys we finally found and have... when we signed the lease and they've been really good to work with, but like little stuff like this, like the HVAC. We got three people involved. You know, when it's gonna happen? It's like, you know...

Mark Rippetoe:
Always on vacation.

Jay Livsey:
Everybody's yeah... oh, very busy. Very, very busy.

Mark Rippetoe:
These are busy people.

Jay Livsey:
Everybody's very busy.

Mark Rippetoe:
And their primary deal, you know, like leasing commercial real estate space.

Jay Livsey:
Yes.

Mark Rippetoe:
Is not part of why they're busy. Apparently. God almighty.

Mark Rippetoe:
So well, that's a little update. So, you know, at some point here this year, this thing's going to get done. And those of you in Denver who are - a lot of you are in communication with Jay already - just need to just kind of... we'll get it done as fast as we can. If it was up to us, it would have been open last month. But it's not up to us. We're pushing on it as hard as you can. So your patience is appreciated.

Now, we brought Jay down here today and I've asked Jay to come in and and talk to us about about golf. We are... this is second in a series of podcasts about the two-factor model of sports performance. And the two factors are training and practice.

Mark Rippetoe:
Training is - to recap briefly - training is the... is the thing that produces a a an accumulation of physiologic adaptation and makes you better capable of performing the skills that are necessary for the performance in the sport in question. And practice is the... is the thing that allows for the repetitive execution of movement patterns that are dependent on accuracy and precision.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the difference really between the two is that practice is exquisitely specific to the sport itself. And training is extremely general in terms of its acquisition - strength is a generally-acquired thing. And and practice - skill - is an extremely specific to the performance-acquired adaptation.

Mark Rippetoe:
And we came up with this distinction three or four years ago, and it is a very useful way to think about sports preparation.

Mark Rippetoe:
Golf is probably one of the most popular outdoor pastimes in the country. Would you say? What do you think the golf market is? In terms of number of people participating.

Jay Livsey:
Golf transcends business outings, social outings, and competitive environments. So it makes it kind of unique compared to... nobody's going out and joining a basketball club. You know, when they get a job there. They join golf clubs or tennis clubs. That's kind of the way these things work. And so you get these results of popularity. I'd be curious if they could find it. What the...

[off-camera]:
One hundred and seven million. Six and up a year.

Mark Rippetoe:
Age six and up play golf. Hundred and seven million individual participants or golf games or what's the...?

[off-camera]:
All on course or off course, watches or on television or read about in 2018. So there's one hundred and seven active people that are involved in golf.

Mark Rippetoe:
Involved in golf. Now, that doesn't mean there are 170 million.. hundred seven million golfers. But let's say there are a third that many. Let's say there are... Let's say there are 40 billion golfers. Would that surprise you? Would that number be...

Jay Livsey:
40 billion would be a lot.

Mark Rippetoe:
40 million million million million.

Jay Livsey:
No, they wouldn't... that wouldn't surprise me. Forty million? No.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's a hell of a lot of people.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah, there's a lot of golf clubs out there.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's a hell of a lot of people. Population of the country's 330 million. And that would mean that, what? That's 15 percent.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah. I mean, think how many people own a set of golf clubs. They probably don't play three times a week, but once every other month is pretty doable for most people. If you're considering that a golfer.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know I had no idea that the market was that big. What is an average set of golf clubs worth? Entry-level set of golf clubs.

Jay Livsey:
I mean, depends on what you want to pay. I mean, could you get a set of used clubs? Maybe 200 bucks?

Mark Rippetoe:
Or you can pay, what, five grand? Probably for the highest.

Jay Livsey:
Them I think are like five grand right now. Yeah. And I mean you can get a you can get a driver for a thousand dollars. Just one club. Yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well that's that's interesting. So there's a lot of money in this market.

Jay Livsey:
There's a lot of money in golf. Yes.

Mark Rippetoe:
And golf being as popular as it is, is a is a segment of the recreational market that is being underserved by the fitness industry and. And the service that it does receive from the fitness industry is ninety-nine percent bullshit.

Jay Livsey:
Because it's yoga.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yoga.

Jay Livsey:
Some pilates, they do pilates.

Mark Rippetoe:
And that weighted swinging thing...

Jay Livsey:
They take the ball and swing it like this. Yeah. Not sure what they're doing.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, they're wasting a bunch of time. Yes.

Jay Livsey:
They stretch too. Lot of stretching.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the and the two-factor model is is interesting in that it explains a lot of that. It explains that what people should be doing. But it also explains why it's not being done correctly.

Jay Livsey:
Everybody's doing yoga and pilates. It's disgusting.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. And once again, the two-factor model is helpful to us here. The two-factor model of sports performance - and golf approached correctly shouldn't be a sport. The problem with golf is that most people who play golf approach it as a game, which means that the only thing involved in it is practice.

Mark Rippetoe:
And that there's not any training component, there's no attempt to obtain an accumulation of physiologic adaptation that would make the game of golf into a sport.

Mark Rippetoe:
See, I think this is...

Jay Livsey:
That's interesting. I never thought about in those terms. You're right. People do approach it like it's a game.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's a game. They approach it like it's billiards. They approach it as if it's billiards. And I think the the vast majority - and there are some notable exceptions, couple of guys around bench press and do some stuff. You know, Tiger benched. Tiger is supposed to have a 300 bench at one time. Which is cool. No, it's not astonishing. But it's cool. You know, fit, young man ought to be able to bench 300, but I don't think he deadlifted and don't think he squatted.

Mark Rippetoe:
And and game...

Jay Livsey:
They squat now.

Mark Rippetoe:
Who squats?

Jay Livsey:
Lot of these guys on tour will squat. But with Smith... Smith machine.

Mark Rippetoe:
Smith Machine, quarter-squats.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah, that stuff.

Mark Rippetoe:
Suboptimal.

Jay Livsey:
Don't see a lot of deadlifts though, which is crazy.

Mark Rippetoe:
No probably not. That... that's odd.

Jay Livsey:
That is odd.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's very odd to me that they're not deadlifting. There's not a better connection between hands and an implement, a way to prepare for that than the deadlift. You know, it's just it's kind of it's kind of strange to me that it hadn't occurred to them that... just get your deadlift up to just talking about 315. You know, I'm not talking about a powerlifting specialization.

Mark Rippetoe:
And you know, and then let me preempt you... what you're typing right now on the YouTube comments is that "Rippetoe thinks everybody needs to be a powerlifter. These guys are professional golfers. They don't need a seven hundred and fifty pound deadlift to be a golfer. Rippetoe, you fat, stupid fuck."

Mark Rippetoe:
See?

Jay Livsey:
No. No, you can't beat off to this, can you? I'm sorry.

Mark Rippetoe:
But that's... I think it's a useful distinction. But, but but because of the definitions that that fall out of the two-factor model, you can look at something as a game if there's not a training component. If all you do is practice the the performance, you practice the performance. You go to the driving range, you play nine holes, you play 18 holes, you you drive, you do stuff like that. And and and if that's all you're doing, then you're approaching it as a game.

Mark Rippetoe:
And for you know, I'm not I don't have a problem with that for most people, it is a game and it should be approached as a game. You know, it's recreation. It's what you do after work. You know, you take a Wednesday off and go play golf. It's a game. I don't understand why, you know, it's it's so controversial that it's it's not a sport. It's a game for people that do it like that.

Mark Rippetoe:
But for a subset of golfers, it should be approached as a sport, which means that in addition to practice, there should be a training component to it.

Jay Livsey:
Well, do you feel that the training component approached appropriately would allow them to practice more? That was kind of the guy that I sent you that you tried to get in contact with. Whose back is shot. Doctors can't figure it out. And had a good result.

Mark Rippetoe:
Never heard back from.

Jay Livsey:
Right. Never heard back from him. But he wanted to. His big complaint is, you know, I can only hit balls for 30 minutes a day. All these other guys are out here, these 25 year olds are out three, four hours a day.

Mark Rippetoe:
If your back hurts...

Jay Livsey:
Right. And he's a skinny guy.

Mark Rippetoe:
Limit your practice and you're a skinny guy. I understand that it's a leap to think that deadlifts. Which to you look like a blunt object - I understand that - will improve your ability to practice highly technical golf by keeping your back from hurting. If you have a glass back and your glass back is limiting your practice and you start training, your back will become less glass-like and you'll be able to practice more.

Jay Livsey:
And that's universal with recreational and professional. How many people that I've talked to even this year that "I'll throw my back at work" and then they can't play golf. And that's kind of their recreation. Like they're not doing a whole lot of their stuff. That's their... their downtime is playing golf. Now, all of a sudden, they can't do it.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's the only fun they have.

Jay Livsey:
Right. And so they get back into "Well, I heard I should do some yoga." That'll get you back out there.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. Right.

Jay Livsey:
And never does it. Yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
No, no. Here's the... All right. Yoga is not training. Yoga is stretching. And pilates is not training. Pilates is whatever the hell pilates is and the difference between those types of activities and training is that training is the accumulation of a physiologic adaptation.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, training means that you don't go into the gym and do the same damn thing every time you're there with the same weights in in the same way. You start here and then you go this way [mimes going up higher with hands]. And you don't do that with yoga, at least not in a way that is beneficial to golf.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, looking at the game of golf, it is not aerobic. It is a stroke occasionally, and the stroke is designed to deliver the ball down range. Now, looked at from a physics perspective - which is a useful thing to always do - if you hit the ball harder, it will go further down range. And if you can take a stroke off of the hole, that's helpful. And if you take a stroke off of the hole, you've hit the ball further. To hit the ball further, you must hit the ball harder. In order to hit the ball, you accelerate the club and transmit force from the accelerated club to the ball on the tee.

Mark Rippetoe:
And to do that, you accelerate the club by applying force to the club. Force is applied to the club by the whole body. A golf swing is a full body movement. OK, now, it doesn't matter what the what the golf swing looks like, it's necessary to understand that the kinetic chain of a golf swing is between the hands and the feet. And everything in between the hands and the feet is in the kinetic chain of the golf swing. Therefore, if we strengthen the kinetic chain involved in the golf swing, which is the whole body, then the whole body can contribute to force production during the golf swing. Accelerating the club more rapidly.

Mark Rippetoe:
And since now, we are stronger each one of those clubs swings represents a submaximal effort that can be more precisely controlled because of the excess of force production capacity.

Jay Livsey:
So yes, listening to you explain that it sounds so stupid. But the new thing in golf is adding miles per hour to your club head speed. It's pretty quantifiable now. They have these machines. Oh, easy. They have these machines and they say, "Oh, you just picked up 10 miles an hour with this new driver" or whatever. So common sense would tell you what?

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, that anything else you could do to add club head speed would also affect the speed of the club hit.

Jay Livsey:
Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And yoga. I mean, this is a tautology. I mean, this is not this is not complicated material. You know, if you can hit the ball harder by applying more force to hit it, then matter if the club is new or not.

Jay Livsey:
No.

Mark Rippetoe:
I mean, and see, in the hilarious part of this whole thing is if you just think about it from of... from a perspective of a first cause and just look at the the physics of the swing, we have a kinetic chain that is producing more force when it is stronger. And if you can produce more force, you can take the club and hit the ball harder with it and make the ball go further down range.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, we're not suggesting that strength rating improves your putt.

Jay Livsey:
No, but that's not...

Mark Rippetoe:
That's not that's how you pick up the stroke.

Jay Livsey:
That's not. No. And it's been quantified that that is not. It's actually off the tee.

Mark Rippetoe:
Off the tee.

Jay Livsey:
Strokes gained off the tee. And that's why these guys are so obsessed with how far they hit the ball. And a side note here is how blind golfers are to it.

Jay Livsey:
My wife has been playing a lot of golf this summer and she's been doing some, you know, grab ass version of the program since we don't have a coach yet, but she's been hitting some tee balls. Like where other people are like, whoa. I mean, you know, she's, what, 128 pounds? Maybe, you know, maybe slender, you know, physique. Like she's not gonna produce a lot of power.

Jay Livsey:
And she came home one day. It was like, "Jeeze did you see how far I hit that ball." And I hadn't seen you hit. You know, I haven't seen that before. And then it both dawned on us. I was like well, "Geez, you been in there lifting for like the last three, four months. You know, you've been making gains." Not huge, but nonetheless. It's so common sense.

Mark Rippetoe:
Hold on just a second, because we should have done this earlier. Now, what exactly gives you the right to have an opinion about golf? I mean, after all, you know, and YouTubers fill in the blank, after all.

Jay Livsey:
Everybody's got an opinion about golf.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. Sure they do.

Jay Livsey:
I've played at a relatively high level. I played some mini tours, golf after college and currently play. And I mean, in amateur events. It's kind of the outlet for that now. So just like anybody else, do I know everything? No. But I'm... if I was put in a room of golfers, I don't think anybody would argue my competence when it comes to the game.

Mark Rippetoe:
You've been playing golf how many years?

Jay Livsey:
How many? Since I was little, you know, and competing for at least the last 20 years. So, that's a big, big difference. Playing, you know, tournament, competitive golf and playing club golf and playing once a year at a resort or something.

Mark Rippetoe:
Entrance fees are involved, that sort of thing.

Jay Livsey:
Money is put down. Money is lost more often than not. And so, yeah, you learn you know, you learn how good you are pretty quick when you start putting money down, which I did. And strangely enough, you know, when I started, I was I was following the age old, you know, "Well Tiger is running three miles. And, you know, you got to run and do these circuits."

Mark Rippetoe:
You got to do what the greatest golfers in the world are doing right? Now, who's that fat guy that shows that's real popular right now? What's that guy's name?

Jay Livsey:
Daley.

Mark Rippetoe:
John.

Jay Livsey:
John Daley.

Mark Rippetoe:
Do what he does and be a good golfer. Right.

Jay Livsey:
Drink, smoke and gamble.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. It works for John, right? Yeah. Yeah. It works for John.

Jay Livsey:
It works for John.

Mark Rippetoe:
And John's good.

Jay Livsey:
Right? He's... that's what that's how you should do it.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's the logic.

Jay Livsey:
Right? That's the logic. He's doing it. Yeah.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah and unfortunately for me, you know, I didn't know about Starting Strength back then. I'm thinking, jeez, how big a difference could that have made?

Jay Livsey:
Because it's very obvious when I'm lifting and how far I'm hitting ball. And I don't ... I'm pro I don't have a whole lot to gain, but you can see, though. You can hear all the club head.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh really.

Jay Livsey:
Oh, yeah. But it's like but it's being being around like my wife and these amateur golfers who are recreational at best. The... they have the biggest room.

Mark Rippetoe:
Sure. That's this is the novice effect. It's absolutely the same thing.

Jay Livsey:
I'm topped out, but these guys aren't.

Mark Rippetoe:
The the further along you are on the curve, the less you obtain. The more the beginner you are, the more the easy factors are going to contribute to your improvement.

Mark Rippetoe:
So in in terms of yards, you take a club golfer and go from no deadlift whatsoever to 365 - what happens to his drive off the tee?

Jay Livsey:
I mean, honestly, three, you know, we even just said 365. I'm thinking, jeez, that's big. I know, I know, I know, you know, I know. I know. If that 40 year old male is not hinting at 20 yards further, I would be shocked.

Mark Rippetoe:
And is that significant?

Jay Livsey:
They would. It would be... They'd... Nobody believes it. Nobody believes what you just said.

Jay Livsey:
They're gonna believe it because we're gonna quantify it here in a few months when this gym opens, because the beauty of... what's where we hit this at the right times, they have these machines that will quantify it. Period.

Jay Livsey:
You started at this. Your swing speed is this. You're hitting it this far.

Mark Rippetoe:
So in other words, these these these metrics machines, measure machines, actually calculate the physics of the speed...

Jay Livsey:
All of it.

Mark Rippetoe:
...Ball weight and project that down range.

Jay Livsey:
Yep, absolutely. I don't know how it works, some little lasers. I don't know, but they work.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ah, it's computer shit.

Jay Livsey:
That's computer shit.

Mark Rippetoe:
So no it's just it's just a physical relationship between the club and the ball. .

Jay Livsey:
Right. And every you know, any, you know, 60 plus male. It's the only thing they want to talk about. "If only I could hit it a little further off the tee."

Mark Rippetoe:
And the reason I want to talk about it is because when they go from 40 to 60, if they're not training, their strength goes down.

Jay Livsey:
Right. And they can't play as much.

Mark Rippetoe:
Power is directly proportional to strength.

Jay Livsey:
Well, think about it. If if you're hitting your your tee ball and you're hitting six irons and all the greens compared to if you start training, then all of a sudden you can hit eight or nine irons in greens. I mean, it's common sense. Where you going to be more accurate? With a short club or a long club? The shorter one. That's why everybody is obsessed with it.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you get the driver to work for you. And and go from a five or six island ad to an eight or nine iron or pitching wedge, right? You know.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah. That's what that's the game that the pros are playing.

Mark Rippetoe:
Those shots are shorter and you get closer with your putt.

Jay Livsey:
Absolutely. It seems so stupid when you're saying it. Yeah, that's what.

Mark Rippetoe:
And it's it's it's hard to understand why they don't understand this.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I'll blame it squarely on the modern strength and conditioning fad that's called functional training. Functional training has wasted a lot of time and a lot of money for a whole lot of people at all levels of athletic development and all little levels of athletic potential.

Mark Rippetoe:
Functional training has a major fallacy. And that fallacy is explained by the two-factor model. If you are going to strengthen the kinetic chain - and in the case of golf and lots and lots of other sports - the kinetic chain is hands to feet. The whole body is in the kinetic chain. You have to strengthen that with an exercise that allows you the greatest amount of potential to move progressively heavier weights.And if you move progressively heavier weights, then the kinetic chain strengthens. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
For hands to feet there is no better example of the kinetic chain being strengthened than the deadlift going from you're not deadlifting to deadlifting three hundred and sixty five pounds. And this is not a strength specialization. 365 is not a strength specialization. It's not remarkable at all. For most men, that's not a remarkable deadlift. But it's something that we can easily do, let's say 315, let's say 275.

Mark Rippetoe:
Pick a number. From zero to there is a strength increase. Now, I use the deadlift because it allows me to lift the heaviest weights and it allows me to load that entire kinetic chain in a progressive way to make the whole damn thing stronger. Now a deadlift does not look like a golf swing, and a golf swing is a progressive... a golf swing is a full kinetic chain movement.

Mark Rippetoe:
But if I load the golf swing. Let's say I make the mistake of not understanding the difference between training and practice, and I load the golf swing by loading the golf club. Does that full kinetic chain movement have the same potential for progressive increases in load that a deadlift does? And the answer is obviously no.

Jay Livsey:
No, it would be a heavy golf club.

Mark Rippetoe:
Because that's gonna be a heavy golf club if it gets heavier and heavier. What happens to the swing? It gets slower and slower. Timing is a factor in golf, right?

Mark Rippetoe:
But the way the kinetic chain in the golf swing is used, it's a sequential movement that that is not a terribly full range of motion movement for the hips and knees. And the back stays at roughly the same angle, it's a rotational movement. It uses the kinetic chain in little ways, whereas the deadlift uses the kinetic chain in big ways. And the bigger the way that the kinetic chain is loaded over the fullest range of motion of all the joints and the kinetic chain, then the more potential that movement has to cause an increase in force production over all of those ranges of motion.

Mark Rippetoe:
What functional training people don't understand is that, A) if we strengthen in a way that's the most efficient way to strengthen, then we're stronger and then we practice. With the expression of strength we're going to use in this case on the course. If you take your deadlift from zero to 365, you're stronger. You're not only stronger for the deadlift, you're stronger on the course too, because you were practicing the whole time.

And B), if your back was hurting while all this was taking place and now your back is strong enough to support itself more effectively and it is no longer hurting. And this is a common report. After about two weeks of deadlifts your back quits hurting. Thousands and thousands and thousands of people told us chronic back pain is gone. After two weeks of starting to deadlift and squat. Then, as Jay mentioned earlier, your ability to practice is enhanced because you're not limited by the pain.

Jay Livsey:
I was sit here thinking golf, your stationary. You know, it's the only... I'm trying to think maybe a tennis serve you kind of coil up, you know, you're loading and unloading. You're not moving around like these other sports. So there's really no reason to ever, you know, bound around on one foot, do these different things because you're loading and unloading. That's all you're doing. You're stationary.

Jay Livsey:
It's the only... I'm blanking on what other sport. Maybe a baseball swing, but the ball's coming at you. So you're having to allow for, the pick up the ball out from the pitcher's hand and here the ball's sitting there.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. Yeah, but in the case of both baseball swing and a golf swing, you are hitting a ball with an implement. You don't look at the implement, you look at the ball. And in one case, the ball is moving. The other case it's stationary on the tee. But you are making an implement go to the ball and both your feet are in contact with the ground when you do it right. A tennis serve most people leave the ground.

Jay Livsey:
Right. That's the only one I was thinking...

Mark Rippetoe:
Most of both feet when they're...

Jay Livsey:
And I can't think of another. What's another? I mean, all the other ones you're moving, right?

Mark Rippetoe:
Pretty much. You're headed toward an implement or doing something else, but a golf swing and a baseball swing are there... there's a lot of analogy there. There's a lot of analogy there in that the eye directs the implement in the hands that you're not looking at.

Mark Rippetoe:
But in the case of comparing a golf swing to a deadlift, for example, the the only similarity is the kinetic chain is the same. It's used in a different way, but the whole body is the kinetic chain. A deadlift, a heavy deadlift, might for a guy at this level might take four seconds. And a golf swing takes how long?

Jay Livsey:
Not that long. It's like a minute, 30.

Mark Rippetoe:
Actually, the swing.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah. In an 18 holes of golf.

Mark Rippetoe:
I'm. No, I mean, one swing.

Jay Livsey:
Right. I'm doing the math.

Mark Rippetoe:
Three quarters of a second.

Jay Livsey:
Maybe if it's a minute and a half total in four hours that you're actually swinging. Break that out. So, yeah, something second or two. It's nothing.

Mark Rippetoe:
In the vicinity of 1000 is the swing.

Jay Livsey:
Quick.

Mark Rippetoe:
From the top to the ball is is very quick and it's expressed. And the hips don't move in anything except a rotational way. The leg, the knees barely unlock.

Mark Rippetoe:
So there are no similarities. And this is what confuses simple people. All right. There are no similarities in the way the two movements look. But it doesn't matter that there's no similarity in the way the two movements look. The thing that matters is what gets strengthened, because we're trying to strengthen. We're not trying to strengthen the golf swing. We're trying to strengthen the golfer.

Mark Rippetoe:
Try to wrap your head around this. A stronger golfer hits the ball harder because the golfer then makes the golf swing. And the golf swing is practiced. The golfer is trained. This is probably a concise way to summarize this. It doesn't matter... you don't intentionally trying to make your training look like practice. Because if you do, then then activity becomes neither training nor practice.

Jay Livsey:
Right. And one of the main exercises you'll see golfers do, which you kind of alluding to, is they realize that you can only get a golf club so heavy. So that's not gonna work. So what do they start doing? The medicine ball, you know, swinging a golf club with a medicine ball or maybe grabbing the cable and making that move [rotational move demonstrated], making the cable.

Mark Rippetoe:
You've seen these parabolic looking frames and hook up took a cable. What... so since that ends up being the default thing that most golfers are fed as strength and conditioning for golf. What's wrong with that? How heavy can you get a rotational golf swing looking movement with a with a medicine ball? Heavy enough to make you stronger? No. That's the problem with it.

[off-camera]:
Jay, have you had experience doing those kind of exercises versus strength training?

Jay Livsey:
Oh, I've done them all. Yeah.

[off-camera]:
Could you talk about that?

Jay Livsey:
Yeah. And I've I've done, you know, through the magazines, I've tried everything. And the biggest thing I've noticed from squatting and dead lifting is in my hips and rear and core area. I mean, just no question. It's just not even... It's two different people. And tighter. I can create more force. I mean, it's just...

Mark Rippetoe:
Snap through the swing.

Jay Livsey:
I keep repeating it sounds stupid. Keep repeating it. But I mean, that's what you're doing. And and doing, you know, 30 reps of, you know, with a with a band and whatever, you know what I doing. In hindsight, I'm like, OK, I see why that was so not good at that time.

Mark Rippetoe:
Because there's no carry over.

Jay Livsey:
No carry over.

Mark Rippetoe:
There's no carry over at all. It'll superficially looks the same, but let's look at the... there's a phenomenon that that must be examined when looking at movement patterns and their similarity toward each other. If you have got... and this is a good golf example. Do you swing a driver the same way you swing a nine iron?

Jay Livsey:
No.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's a different swing, isn't it?

Jay Livsey:
Yeah. One's flatter. One's more up and down.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. So in other words, swinging a driver does not constitute practice for swinging a nine iron.

Jay Livsey:
No.

Mark Rippetoe:
You have to do both.

Jay Livsey:
You got to do both.

Mark Rippetoe:
Because the movement patterns are superficially, to a layperson, they look kind of the same, but they're different enough to where one does not constitute practice for another. Once again, practice is exquisitely specific to the movement pattern going that's going to be used in the performance. And if the move-... there are several different movement patterns in each performance, then each one of them has to be practiced separately because movement patterns that are that specific do not carry over to each other.

Jay Livsey:
No, that's right. That's a very common... This guy is a good driver of the golf ball, but he's not much of a wedge player.

Mark Rippetoe:
So now let's go back in the weight room and do the little rotational swing looking thing with the cable. It's not similar to anything you've done. It's not heavy enough to make you stronger. Certainly not in comparison to a 365 deadlift. And therefore, it is not capable of making you stronger while at the same time being absolutely incapable of constituting practice.

Jay Livsey:
It's interesting because you'll see a lot of these guys that are that are good iron players, good wedge players, but they struggle off the tee because they know they're not hitting it as far as some of these other guys. And they're at a disadvantage, period. And going from being a good wedge player, an iron player to getting some more yards off the tee would be...

Mark Rippetoe:
Two different skills.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah, but you would be able to do it a lot easier than the other way.

Mark Rippetoe:
Two different skills, but training prepares for both because training is not specific to either one. Do you guys begin to see what I'm talking about here? I don't think this is that complicated. I think that if you if you understand that a stronger golfer has the potential to be a better golfer because he is merely stronger and he is also practicing the game of golf, which is multifactorial. That he is using his now stronger body in ways that he's familiar with. Because he's done the strength, he's applied the strength to the various aspects of the game. And that strength is now dovetailed into the skill. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
And, you know, I think... I don't think this is that hard to understand.

Jay Livsey:
The narrative of the narratives been lost somewhere. I mean, I was out there, I was playing an event yesterday and they had a long drive -celebrity out there. What do you think this guy lookd like? 6' 5". He's huge.

Mark Rippetoe:
Big, long arms. Big, long swing. Long linear arc.

Jay Livsey:
What do you think happened in that golf ball?

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, guess it went way down...

Jay Livsey:
Way down there.

Mark Rippetoe:
Way down there. And it went down there because the guy right at six five 250 - because he's stronger than your wife.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah. Stronger than me. And that's what. I can't figure. I think that the narrative has been lost, that though the average guy who leaves work everyday and wants to play golf, who cannot... he can't even think about getting anywhere near as strong as this guy. So I better go do yoga.

Because he doesn't have the physical potential that this guy who's accidentally stronger than he is. Who's accidentally stronger than he is and who can take that strength and display it in the skill. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I think everybody knows when this came up in our discussion with Nick about fighting. I think everybody understands that a stronger guy is more of a problem in a fight than a weaker guy. And I think everybody also understands that the stronger guy is a better golfer than a weaker guy.

Mark Rippetoe:
What they can't wrap their heads around is the idea that the best way to get stronger is the deadlift and not to do silly ass golf specific rotational bullshit in the weight room that lacks the potential to make you stronger. What's the best way to get stronger? This is the only question. If you understand the physics of a golf swing, what's the best way to get stronger for the golf swing is to get stronger all over because we're using the whole kinetic chain and that question is answered. What's the best way to get stronger?

Mark Rippetoe:
By barbell training. And that's all there is to it. Now, I don't have anything to sell. Barbells are cheap, barbells are way cheaper. I don't sell barbells anyway. Barbells are cheaper than golf clubs. You know, coaching on the barbell exercises is cheaper than golf clubs. It's cheaper than a golf club membership.

Jay Livsey:
It's cheaper than golf lessons.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's cheaper than golf lessons, you know. But they have you guys believing that in order to get stronger, you have to do something that superficially looks like golf. For it to apply to golf. And that's just not true. And I think our discussion here has his illuminated that a little bit.

Mark Rippetoe:
How many guys have you coached that play golf?

Jay Livsey:
I coached high school golf for a few years and at the time I knew that we needed these - these are high school kids, boys, you know, get them in the weight room. I mean they are skinny little guys. And I had to give up because it was almost impossible, as you could figure, to get time in the weight room. And then at that point everybody's jacking around. So it's kind of... it's just difficult.

Mark Rippetoe:
Two weeks of strength training will make a difference off the tee.

Jay Livsey:
Yes.

Mark Rippetoe:
To everybody.

Jay Livsey:
To everybody, yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
To everybody.

Jay Livsey:
Oh, yeah, absolutely. No, I mean, I can't imagine if if the base if... If the average recreational golfer had even 50 percent of what you think baseline, you know, numbers should be. I mean, that would be it would change the activity for everybody. There's plenty different activity.

Jay Livsey:
Hit the ball further, I mean, they're hitting with shorter clubs and they're just more accurate. Scores get lower than... they and they can, they'll be less... they won't be as injured.

Jay Livsey:
I said the back injury piece of it is enough. It's like, jeez, you know, you want to do is play golf. And yet you got to protect your back... by doing yoga.

Mark Rippetoe:
You have to use your back playing golf and you think that yoga is going to make your back stronger.

Jay Livsey:
Right. Protected.

Mark Rippetoe:
Protected because it's been stretched that day.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't know is is the idea that a stronger set of muscles around the back such an arcane concept that that people don't understand how a deadlift would make your back healthier, quieter, pain... more pain free.

Jay Livsey:
Deadlift are bad. I don't know...

Mark Rippetoe:
More able to transmit force.

Jay Livsey:
I don't know where that...

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh because deadlifts hurt your back.

Jay Livsey:
It hurts your back. It hurts your back real bad.

Mark Rippetoe:
And we've got it... We've got a long way to go.

Jay Livsey:
You're going to hurt your back.

Mark Rippetoe:
Got a long way to go, man. Might hurt your back picking something heavy yet. Because, you know, I guess the assumption is, is that I'm going to load the bar to 365 and take a guy off the street and say, "Hey, pick that up.".

Jay Livsey:
Right. Yeah, what is the assumption?

Mark Rippetoe:
I think that's the assumption.

Jay Livsey:
Go pick that up. Oh you did it wrong.

Mark Rippetoe:
They don't see the process.. See the process. This thing right here [mimes escalating ability]. That process is what they're missing, They don't understand that there is.... we don't start you off... we find where you are today. And then we add 10 pounds next time and then we add 10 pounds after that and in ten pounds after that. And then five pounds after that. And over time, we accumulate a strength adaptation.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's a cumulative process. It starts where you are now. Where you are now defines where we start. And then we're going to force you to get stronger by adding a little weight to the bar every time you come into gym. And it doesn't take very long to get you up to that 275 315, 365 lb deadlift. It doesn't take that long. It doesn't take six months.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you can put together six months of training, your deadlift's over 300. And if you're a if you're a woman, you put together six months of training your deadlifts over one eighty five. And this is these are just baseline numbers. If your trainer, your coach, your strength coach doesn't know how to do that, then he's not qualified to charge you money for it.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. This is not an astonishing accomplishment. And, you know, people in this industry thrive off of the ignorance of their client base.

Jay Livsey:
They do. I see I see it. I see a lot. And it's just private training session. You're thinking "What are you paying for? What exactly just happened here?" Can't quantify any of it. Maybe you feel good when you're finished because you did something. You had to talk to somebody. But what's your endgame?

Jay Livsey:
Nothing changed.

Jay Livsey:
Right, nothing changed. No no body transformations.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. You didn't make anything improve.

[off-camera]:
The novice effect though...

Mark Rippetoe:
The novice effect explains a lot of it. Yes, it does. If a guy goes from not doing anything at all to taking a five pound dumbbell and waving it around in the air while standing on a bosu ball while another guy throws a golf ball at him. You know, that's okay. Yeah. You know, for a couple of weeks, that's going to make you feel like you accomplished something, but does it have the potential to continue to accumulate an adaptation over years or even weeks.

Jay Livsey:
I wonder if people even appreciate what being strong really means. You just threw out the number three sixty five for a deadlift. Should just be that -Jay, come on. That's easy. And if you... I mean people I'm around would think you're crazy.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah I know. And that's I think that is it's just they come from a different right level of experience and I disagree with it. And it's been our experience that 365 is not remarkable.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, especially for a younger guy. You know, if you can't take a 19 year old kid and get him to three 365 pound deadlift in six months. We... we're not doing our job. Because that's not heavy.

Jay Livsey:
Or you're going to be 400 pounds, you know, by the time you're able to lift that much. They just... I don't know what, somewhere the narrative got off. I don't know how...

Mark Rippetoe:
It got off intentionally, because people that don't want to bother to learn how to do these... how to learn how to coach these movements have talked about their little bullshit rotational things that they do in their functional training. And there's a bunch of money in functional training. Whole bunch of money in functional training because it's superficially looks logical. But if you'll think about it from the from the standpoint of the two factor model, it's not logical at all.

Jay Livsey:
Well, yeah, it looks complicated.

Mark Rippetoe:
It does look complicated.

Jay Livsey:
You must be smart to figure that out.

Mark Rippetoe:
And complexity appeals to stupid people.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I've said that before. And I can't apologize for it because it's certainly true. And by stupid, I don't mean just, you know, an imbecile. I'm talking about someone who hasn't thought about it.

Jay Livsey:
They aren't thought of it, right. They haven't thought through it.

Mark Rippetoe:
They're really they're ignorant. What stupidity appeals... complexity appeals to ignorant people and stupid people too. Two different things.

Mark Rippetoe:
But if you think about it for just a minute now in terms of how the body adapts over time to stress and what the body is doing when it applies its physical capacity to a specific activity, you'll understand that practice and training are two completely different things. They must both be undertaken in order to get the most out of a performance.

Mark Rippetoe:
Anything else, Jay?

Jay Livsey:
No.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, I think we've pretty much nailed it. I think that's a pretty cogent explanation.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah, I honestly, it's frustrating to sit here and rehash this conversation because it does seem like such common sense. And the bummer is we don't have the data to quantify it and we will within six months easily.

Mark Rippetoe:
What we need. I'll tell you what we need. And this is this is what will break us through. We need a guy with a name that's on the tour, you know, to just try this for three months. That's all we need is one guy, one guy that's willing to listen to what we're trying to telling. If if what we're talking about is complete and utter bullshit it should be apparent, right? In three months...

Jay Livsey:
You would think that those guys are incentivized enough to try anything.

Mark Rippetoe:
You would think.

Jay Livsey:
And they're like that Argen Atwall that you tred to reach out to. Like, ike that guy. You can't play as much anymore. Your back's busted. Doctors can't do anything for you. What would you be trying? Everything.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, you would think. But right. One might be mistaken. No. You don't really know how deep a guy like that's interest is in moving out of his comfort zone. You know, if you're going to try something completely new, something that would be regarded as so completely outside the norm as deadlifts and squats and overhead presses for golf. RYou're going to have a guy that's that's not, you know, that's comfortable being uncomfortable. And a lot of people are just not. You know, and I don't know.

Jay Livsey:
And as as these guys, you know, a guy like that who is looking to transition to the Champions Tour in the 50 plus tour, you know, logic would tell you, how am I going to strengthen my body to maintain another eight years of travel, competitive golf. Seems logical.

Mark Rippetoe:
It does seem logical. Now, there's no better way to strengthen the body than with barbell strength training, more and more people are understanding that. But why not him.

Jay Livsey:
Right? Why not? Yeah.

Well, I don't understand it.

Jay Livsey:
Yeah. And you know, that is it. That's golf is a tough sport because it is very, you know, any type of outside perspective. That guy, Bryson de Shambo on tour right now, he's kind of an outsider as he does things a little differently. You know, nobody likes that, you know. Especially when you get to when you get to the name level with what these people doing. But you know.

Mark Rippetoe:
Everybody's supposed to act the same way.

Jay Livsey:
Everybody's supposed to do the same way. And, you know, who are you to do it differently.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. I can think a politician that's kind of made everybody uncomfortable the same way.

[off-camera]:
Bernie Sanders?

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah, Bernie. Who won't pay his own staff 15 dollars an hour...

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, God. Yes, Bernie.

So. So anyway. Well, Jay, thanks for coming down. Appreciate your your your being here today with us to talk about this important topic. I hope that what we can do when your gym gets open and we get this thing off the ground, we get the data, we can start convincing people in golf and other sports that are that are suffering from this archaic mindset in terms of how to prepare for a performance. I hope we can get some some progress made.

Mark Rippetoe:
And let's get people who are willing to do the work. To get onboard with us and get everybody strong and and move them along down them down their career path to do the pro level.

Jay Livsey:
I'm excited to do it. Let's get that HVAC. Get it. Get it up there and running.

Mark Rippetoe:
Absolutely. If I was an air conditioner guy... I promise I'd help.

Mark Rippetoe:
Thank you for joining us today on Starting Strength Radio. We'll see you next time.

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Mark Rippetoe and Jay Livsey discuss how golfing performance is improved by dedicated strength training with barbells as part of a series on the Two Factor Model of Sports Performance. Jay Livsey is the owner of Starting Strength Denver and former pro golfer.

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:34 Comments from the Haters!
  • 04:52 Guest - Jay Livsey
  • 05:15 Perils of Commercial Real Estate
  • 10:26 Intro: Two-factor model & Golf
  • 12:11 Popularity of Golf
  • 14:34 Golf underserved by the fitness industry
  • 15:40 Game vs Sport
  • 19:11 Approaching Golf as a Sport
  • 21:57 Hitting faster and harder
  • 26:28 Jay's background in golf
  • 29:24 How many yards added?
  • 37:21 Hitting with an implement
  • 41:08 Jay on what doesn't work, what does
  • 46:35 Average golfer getting strong
  • 49:36 Golf coaching experience?
  • 57:22 Getting the data

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