Ever wondered how a European Tour player trains? In partnership with the European Tour Performance Institute, we take you behind the scenes into the regime of rising Thai star Jazz Janewattanond and how he’s aiming to improve his game through working on his physique.
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 Jazz
When Jazz approached us in 2018, he was of a slight build – weighing less than 70 kilos – and his goal was simple: he felt he needed to hit the ball further to be competitive.
Becoming ‘bigger and stronger’ helps with this in two ways:
1) The increased muscle mass increases the player’s ability to produce ground reaction force – the basis of the force a golfer can utilise during their swing.
2) The overall increase in body mass creates a greater anchoring effect which helps the golfer remain stable throughout the swing.
Although the golfer may rarely reach their maximal ground reaction force during the swing, increasing their peak creates a greater ‘force buffer’, meaning the player can ‘swing easy’ or ‘club down’ and maintain control.
The latter has the added benefit of offering better stopping power on the green. It is therefore unsurprising that together these factors can significantly improve a player’s Greens in Regulation statistics – a vital component of any modern player’s game.
We built Jazz a programme which targeted the development of muscle groups which are primarily responsible for ground reaction force generation in the golf swing – the thigh and hip muscles, the torso and an overall emphasis on the posterior chain (the muscles at the back of the body).
This consisted of both ‘heavy’ and ‘light’ loads to help aid muscle mass development, with some of the lighter sets performed to exhaustion.
Aside from aiming to increase Jazz’s driving distance, the programme also took into consideration the unique nature of Jazz’s swing, in particular his tendency to use a large degree of ribcage rotation in the back swing.
To support this movement strategy, his programme included a large emphasis on strengthening his core strength to ensure he was best prepared to tolerate this movement repeatedly.
The below table details an example of one of Jazz’s training blocks designed to improve his golf strength metrics…
|Exercise regime - per week||Set||Rep||Rest|
|Pallof press (overhead)||2||8||60|
|T push ups||3||12||60|
|Lower ab 2 b||3||To failure||30|
|DB split squat||3||8||30|
|BB Russin twist||3||8||30|
|Standing one-arm push press||3||8||60|
|Pallof press (overhead)||2||8||60|
|Push up pulls||3||12||60|
|Lower ab 2 b||3||to failure||30|
The below table charts the changes in Jazz’s weight, strength (through testing his isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP), and clubhead speed since he started working with us …
|Date||Body Mass (Kg)||IMTP (N)||MAX CHS (mph)|
You will notice from his recent re-assessment that although Jazz increased his lean mass, this didn’t translate to meaningful increases in strength.
One of the reasons for this was that Jazz frequently had to deviate from the plan due to facilities available on the Asian Tour.
As a predictable barrier to players achieving their physical performance goals, we routinely provide a Plan B ‘travel programme’.
This ‘travel programme’ remains as close as possible to Plan A, but it can at times be a challenge to incorporate alternative maximal strength training methods. We typically do this by settling for substituting in an explosive strength exercise like jump squats, to make up for the fact the player will be unable to access the facilities we have at our disposal.
This would also explain why Jazz did make reasonable improvements in explosive strength (as indicated by the countermovement jump impulse), likely attributable to the Plan B jump squats!
Having now made considerable increases in muscle mass, maximal strength development will become more of a focus for Jazz for the forthcoming year.
Accordingly, we are currently trialling a travel friendly (no facility) training option for players to adequately train their maximum strength while ‘on the road’. More info on this in due course!
Finally, with Jazz potentially playing more events on the European Tour this season and next, we hope this presents the opportunity to work more closely with his coaching team and help Jazz achieve his physical objectives.
To find out more about the European Tour Performance Institute, visit: http://www.etpi.co/