Golf Trainer Joey Diovisalvi on Improving Your Strength and Working With PGA Tour Star Dustin Johnson

Genesis Invitational Golf, Los Angeles, USA - 13 Feb 2020 Dustin Johnson hits his second shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles 13 Feb 2020
Ryan Kang/AP/Shutterstock

Over the last decade, golfer Dustin Johnson has risen in the ranks to become one of the best PGA Tour golfers in the world. On the road to winning 20 PGA Tour events, being ranked No.1 in the world for 64 consecutive weeks, and winning the 2016 U.S. Open, Johnson has had a consistent presence along the way: his trainer, Joey Diovisalvi, a.k.a. Joey D.

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Part of what Diovisalvi focuses on with his clients, like Johnson, are his “four pillars” for golfers, which include balance, stability, mobility, and power.

“What’s important is without one, everything else sort of crumbles. It’s like the foundation of a building or a house,” Diovisalvi tells Men’s Journal. “Structurally, you’ve got to build from the ground up and be stable in any environment. We call it anatomical neutral; it’s the strongest position of the human body. It’s where you extract power, balance, stability, and mobility from.”

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The longtime golf trainer has helped Johnson transform his game and take his fitness to another level, creating a program that has simultaneously made Johnson a stronger and healthier golfer.

“Joey D’s golf-specific training has absolutely helped throughout my game,” Johnson told Men’s Journal. “It’s easy to transfer the training from the gym to the golf course. No matter what, I go five days a week, sometimes seven. Maybe I won’t lift heavy, but I’ll do a lot of mobility and core work.”

Diovisalvi spoke with Men’s Journal about working with Johnson, his training philosophy, and why hydration is so important.

What kind of workout improve a golfer’s strength?

For a golf-specific workout, we incorporate two or three movements that start with balance. In those prescriptions, we make sure we use both right and left side, right? So, we stand on one leg, then switch to the other. And for balance we add the functionality part of it, so we would do a side plank because that’s an opportunity to strengthen the body from the bottom to the top. And a mobility move where we would maybe use a band or a functional trainer where we can create stability on the bottom and rotational mobility on the top.

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You’ve worked with Dustin for a while. What areas have you focused on in his training?

We work a lot on balance in his training because balance is a key opportunity to extract power and create velocity. We like to stick to basics, but fundamentally, some of the Olympic lifts like deadlifts and squats, are important. And then we like to incorporate things on a stability ball so we can add the balance functionality into that workout, so the core activation on a ball is an important part of incorporating, power, balance, and stability—tying it all together.

What are your top three moves for someone to get a powerful swing like Dustin’s?

Here are my three picks:

  1. Split-stance anti-rotation drill with a resistance band or functional cable column. (Watch how to do the exercise here.)
  2. Torso twists on a stability ball holding a 25-lb dumbbell
  3. Power backswing/follow-through rotations with a resistance band or functional cable column

For you, what’s the important role that hydration plays on and off the course for golfers like Dustin and others out there?

They’re out there for six or seven hours and obviously, in different types of environments where you’re either cold or you’re hot, the body begins the dehydration process quickly as you start to expend energy. With a product like BODYARMOR LYTE, it gives our athletes, and Dustin especially, the opportunity to stay hydrated with vitamins and electrolytes. Those nutrients get absorbed into the cells and bloodstream, which keeps his mental focus and energy as he’s going through a round that takes a lot of swings and effort. All of that keeps his mental focus and his ability to have energy on the course. We like to have BODYARMOR available because it gives the athletes an opportunity to stay hydrated through the course of either their sports endeavor or when they’re training. And depending on how much work we do, we might need something more than water, like the BODYARMOR LYTE, which has no added sugar. And that creates a lot of value for any athlete, especially going through what they go through with the amount of energy they need for being on the course or in the gym.

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