Two European Tour wins in two seasons, Andrea Pavan – who is defending his D+D Real Czech Masters title this week – is certainly a rising star. In partnership with the European Tour Performance Institute, we take you behind the scenes into the Italian’s fitness regime.
By ETPI Consultant Physiotherapist Nigel Tilley, and ETPI Strength and Conditioning Coaches Dan Coughlan and Simon Brearley.
The importance of training
In recent years we have seen a great shift in attention to the physical demands of the game of golf, drawing a focus towards strength and conditioning.
The game of golf has gone through an evolution – with longer courses there is an increased emphasis on driving distance and power.
As a result, elite players are placing more emphasis on physical preparation – more so than ever before.
The importance of strength and conditioning, as well as other forms of physical training, are now essential within modern players’ routines.
Players train for a range of reasons, but broadly speaking, we can break these down into three categories:
1) To increase clubhead speed and hitting distance
2) To reduce injury and illness risk
3) To transfer to technical ability (moving better in the golf swing)
When we first met Andrea
Andrea first approached us during the start of the 2018 season, and he was already an excellent athlete.
Having come through the US collegiate system he started off with a good strength base, and was comfortable with a variety of lifts.
As a result of Andrea’s prior training history, he was able to take to our programmes quickly and required less supervision and coaching – allowing him to dedicate more time and effort to the work, and he was able to recover well from sessions, without excessive post-exercise soreness.
We have been supporting Andrea through the last two seasons, and during this time we have guided him through a series of different focuses in his training regime.
His programme in 2018
Our initial focus was to develop good training habits – using a programme that would increase his strength in-season, but without causing excessive fatigue.
Fortunately, due to his previous history, and his excellent consistency, we were able to quickly establish these habits, even despite his busy in-season schedule.
Andrea’s in-season training programme (per week) – 2018 strength focus:
|Excercise regime - weekly||Sets||Reps||Rest (minutes)|
|Hex bar deadlift||5||5||3|
|Bent over row||3||6||2|
|Hex bar jump||4||4||3|
|Dumbbell push press||4||4||3|
|Single arm cable pull||3||8||0|
Over the course of the 2018 season and despite a busy competitive schedule, Andrea was able to increase his clubhead speed by 3mph, strength by 28% and explosive strength by 4%, following a largely strength focussed programme. We then continued to increase his strength over his short off-season.
At the ETPI, we typically measure explosive strength using countermovement jump net positive impulse and strength using isometric mid-thigh pull peak force. Andrea’s 2018 in-season improvements are shown below.
|Test||2018 Italian Open||2018 British Masters|
|Countermovement jump impulse||367N||382N|
|Isometric mid-thigh pull peak force||2341N||2972N|
Starting again in 2019
With a new year, came a new set of goals. Having established high levels of strength over our first season with Andrea, we began to move onto an explosive strength focus.
Explosive strength is of great importance in golf. Players are required to generate large forces through the ground, then through the body and into the clubhead to generate speed.
Clearly, being able to generate a lot of force is important, however if you cannot reach your peak level of force within the small timeframe that is a golf swing, then it is not much use.
This can be likened to a car in a drag race. You could be entering the half-a-mile race with a car that has a top speed of 200mph, but with a 0-60 time of ten seconds (this is the strong but slow golfer). You could also enter with a 100mph top speed and a 0-60 time of three seconds (the fast but weak golfer).
Developing a balance between these qualities is key. In Andrea’s case, we had developed a high top-speed over the 2018 season and needed to shift the focus towards improving his 0-60 time.
When working with golfers in-season, we typically use a ‘daily undulating model’. This means that we change the training stimuli throughout the week, working towards different focus qualities (strength, explosive strength etc) on different days.
This is usually delivered as a two-three day per week programme, starting with more of a strength focus and developing into an explosive focus over the course of the week.
Volume is normally also reduced as the week goes on, which allows us to control for fatigue over the week, while still getting the hard work done.
This is reflected in Andrea’s current programme below. If the Italian keeps developing at his current rate he will soon become one of golf’s fitness elite.
Andrea’s in-season training programme (per week) – 2019 explosive strength focus:
|Exercise regime - weekly||Sets||Reps||Rest (seconds)|
|Half kneeling pallof press||3||20||30|
|Bulgarian split squat||3||6||60|
|Rotational punch throw||3||6||60|
|Trap bar jump||4||4||60|
|Suitcase carry with side bend||4||10||30|
|Barbell Romanian deadlift||3||6||60|
|Suspended chest fly||3||6||30|
|Barbell squat jump||4||4||60|
|Standing pulsy pallof||3||20||30|
|Rotational medicine ball throw||3||4||60|
|Medicine ball plyo Russian twist||3||8||0|
|Kneeling medicine ball slam||3||8||0|
|Standing medicine ball slam||3||5||0|