Become a better golfer in just 12 weeks. This offer comes from Forme, a personal training app that recently launched a golf-specific program that promises to pair users with a Titleist Performance Institute-certified coach to dramatically improve your flexibility, range of motion and strength.
The 12-week program includes eight face-to-face live sessions with a coach who also broadcasts tasks in the form of pre-recorded video workouts with other instructors (everything from 20-minute yoga recovery routines to aching strength exercises). building sessions) or tailored workouts consisting of individual exercises.
Forme sells two versions of the interactive mirror that work with the app. The Home Gym ($6,495) has two arms attached to cables that provide resistance training, while the Home Studio ($2,495) offers a way to see your instructor life-size and keep an eye on your technique. Neither is required to join the program, which costs $799 for 12 weeks.
Did the test run of the 12-week program come? It’s too early to tell if golf has improved, but flexibility and strength improved, as did independently measured swing speed.
This virtual training program will improve your golf game with the help of an app and a personal trainer in just 12 weeks. Although it may take a little longer to see significant improvement, Forme Golf Fitness helped our flexibility, strength and swing speed.
Register, download the app and create an account. You will be assigned a trainer (you can request one in advance or request a change if you prefer) who will send an email and set up a time for the first session. Gary B. is TPI certified in Power (Level III) and Fitness (Level II) and tapping the screen at the appointed time brings him to life on the screen.
Gary checks my golf history, level of play, etc. and he asks about my fitness history, which includes a couple of limiting injuries (chronic shoulder problem, long-term tennis elbow). He is confident that we can work through and around them. Most of his clients, he says, are men over 40 with excruciating pain and creeping limitations who want to maintain or regain their swing. He also wants to know what equipment I have on hand (not necessary, but damn work with what’s available).
He then completes a fitness assessment that includes 16 movements that reveal weaknesses, flexibility or imbalances. Most of the assessments are easy, although some require props and awkward arrangement of limbs.
Gary groups the results into three areas of green light (good), yellow light (needs work) and red light (hints of rigor mortis) and says he’s designing a program to turn yellows into greens and reds into yellows.
The first video routine was a Bodyweight strength training intermediate, which is typical of the activities at the end. It’s hosted by Breezy J, a frighteningly fit director with a tsunami of brown hair above his forehead. After a short introduction, Breezy leads the warm-up, clearly explains that two moves are good to do, and then demonstrates them. A series of points appear as rows on the screen, and each point represents a set completed during the exercise. When we finish the first set of stretches, the first point is filled. A countdown clock shows the time to hold each pose, though it’s impossible to watch while stretching, so Breezy usually counts us down.
The exercise includes three movements well doing 30 seconds of each bridge march, bear crawl and backward lunge with a 15 second rest in between. Again, he introduces each and adds tips: keep your leg here, arm straight, inhale, exhale. The exercise moves to another set of three exercises, then a cool down and done. Intense but reasonably short.
Over the course of the week, Gary shares three golf-specific videos hosted by the even scarier Andrea D., who claims to have once trained with the British Open champion and started each round with three shots of tequila. It’s not confirmed, but he’s clearly a golfer because he talks about the game during practice and explains how the practice he does affects your game. In fact, several of them involve either a golf club or a golf stance.
During the days, Garys hand-curated workouts are scheduled and appear on the screen as a list of activities in a similar format to the pre-recorded videos: a few warm-ups, two groups of three exercises in sets, and a cool-down. Press Start and the video shows the instructor performing the movement. The text block in the lower corner indicates the number of repetitions or the time allotted for that exercise. Timed parts have a short countdown clock that overrides the timer.
The idea is to watch what the person on the screen is doing and repeat the movement. When you finish the workout, swipe up and the next video will start playing. There are built-in supports along the way. The main difference between these exercises and the videos is that they specifically target the areas where you need improvement. My body is good at doing things it’s been asked to do time and time again, but many of these movements are new and relevant areas that are lacking in my training, so they have an immediate impact.
In the next session, Gary will ask questions about technique that pop up and note which exercises aggravated my injuries. He’s happy to have information so he can avoid problem areas as we go along.
Like Andrea D., Gary explains how our workouts relate to golf, but again, tailored specifically to my situation. We built up my right leg and hip (which are weaker than the left), reduced my backswing stability and limited my ability to drive the ball through the downswing. These hip exercises and stretches not only give me more hip rotation, but also promote dissociation between my lower body and upper body, another key to power and perhaps the biggest difference between pros and amateurs.
Due to timing issues with the story and adjusting my left hip flexor, I only participated in the Forme program for eight weeks instead of 12 weeks. Despite the obstacles, a repeat of the 16-point assessment showed that Id lowered what Forme calls my fitness handicap from 32 to 28, and Id improved in several areas, going from five yellows to green and three reds to yellow, for a total of 10 greens, four yellows and two reds.
More importantly, I went to my local PGA Tour Superstore and hit 10 drivers and 10 six iron shots on the Trackman simulator both before and after starting the Forme program. I didn’t play a round between sessions, but I had hit about 150 balls while test driving the launch monitor, the Bushnell Launch Pro. The good news: My swing speed increased by about 2 mph with the driver and 3 mph with the six iron. Less good news? The warm-up included an unusual amount of rattling near the shafts and a low, thin scream, and the carry distance remained about the same.
The expert leading Trackman explained that this was a common result. When golfers exercise intensely or lose or gain a lot of weight, their swing changes subtly and the quality of contact decreases.
To prove the point, he showed the Smash Factor data (a measure of how consistently I hit the ball near the center of the club face) and my consistency had dropped. As I continued to play with the new, faster swing, I would adapt, he said, and my crush rate would return to its previous level, and I would notice an increase in distance.
The individual exercise demonstrations in the custom workouts provided by Gary did not include audio instructions, meaning you had to study the video trainer for nuances. For an exercise called Bird Dogs, previous trainers have explained that one of the keys is to keep your shoulders and hips level, but custom demos leave this detail up to users. When you watch a coach demo kickstand dumbbell lifts, it’s hard to tell if he’s lifting the dumbbell straight up or if he’s moving toward his hips as it comes up. Adding an audio component to clarify the finer points would improve the experience.
Also, as promised, the customized videos avoided exercises that modified my injuries, but the pre-recorded video sessions occasionally included such movements. Gary tried to choose ones that minimized those incidents, but there were limits to what he could do.
Eventually Gary built in some rest days, but otherwise posted something for me to do every day, sometimes seven days a week. He had mentioned that I should set my own pace, which typically gives me a solid commitment to four out of five workouts a week. But looking at the app and the icons for exercises that didn’t have a check mark and the word completed always made me feel guilty and lazy, not to mention wasteful. The practice created pressure to do more, which reduced some of the positive vibes of the overall experience.
The progress was gradual, but it was still progress. Best of all, the program offered a series of new exercises that cater to known weaknesses. It should enable additional benefits. If they increase or stay the same I would consider another 12 week run with Gary next winter as I believe there is even more opportunity to increase my numbers.
In addition to golf, research on aging shows that general atrophy and muscle imbalances increase injuries and injuries, not only because they promote falls, but also because they accelerate the loss of smooth muscle movement, coordination, and strength for everyday tasks. In that sense, the regained flexibility and strength offered better health and perhaps a sense of youth?
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