Remote Athlete Highlight: Evan Festa Batting .459 (Class 2024 from Nevada)

Evan Festa , 2-way player from Las Vegas, Nevada (Class of 2024), came to us last September looking to elevate his game and performance on the field. At 5’11″, Evan started his remote training at RPP weighing in at 155 lbs. and expressing a desire to increase his lean body mass, strength and power, and eliminate his pre-existing lower back discomfort. Six months later, Evan is off to a great start this spring with a .459 batting average and no lower back discomfort. Let’s review how we got here.

Although every strength training program is different and customized for the individual, the blue print generally includes:

    • Increasing lean body mass
    • Addressing / improving any pre-existing discomfort
    • Improving overall mobility
    • Improving strength and power production

Remote Training Process (100% remote assessment)

The process starts off with a fully remote assessment which involved Evan filming over 20 brief videos of a variety of specific functional movements, and the 3 big lifts. These videos help us assess the current state of his mobility / stability and overall strength. From these videos, we were able to complete a fully remote assessment, which allowed us to properly create an individualized mobility and strength training program for him.

Over the next 6 months, we progressed his training programs on a monthly basis to coincide with getting closer to the start of the season. Throughout his training, communication with Evan remained constant with weekly and monthly meetings to go over the plan and iron out any questions, comments, or concerns he may have had. These conversations touched many topics, including the following:

    • Reviewing videos from the weight room to evaluate his form
    • Touching base on how he was feeling regarding his progress
    • Any questions or concerns he may have had in regard to his programming

Now… let’s dive into what we worked on during the off-season.

Increasing Lean Body Mass 

With lean muscle mass being one of the highest correlations to performance and exit velocity as well as injury prevention, at 5’11 and 155 lbs., the lowest hanging fruit for Evan is putting on another 10-15 lbs. of lean muscle mass. This included educating him on proper nutrition and “clean” calorie consumption, before increasing volume and intensity in the weight room.  Click here for a guide on proper nutrition for high performance athletes.

Interested in learning more about remote programs, you can simply click below to schedule a phone call.

Improving Overall Mobility

When Evan started his remote training process, he expressed that he had been struggling with lower back discomfort for quite some time. So, the initial goal was addressing / improving his pre-existing lumbar discomfort.  It’s hard to perform at a high level with any discomfort or pain.

We assessed Evan’s active and passive ROM through our movement assessment, and were able to find the following issues:

    • Increasing core control
    • Increasing hip mobility / stability
    • Increasing t-spine mobility
    • Increasing his ER (external rotation) of his shoulders

The body alternates between desired areas of mobility and stability. So, if an athlete feels pain or discomfort in a desired area of stability, it may be due to a lack of mobility above and / or below the affected joint.

With that being said, during the assessment, it was clear that a severe lack of hip and t-spine mobility was more than likely contributing to the discomfort he was experiencing in his lower lumbar.  It was clear that we needed to swiftly emphasize hip, and t-spine mobility.

Improving Strength and Power Production

Assessing strength in the weight room with the Big 3 lifts helps us evaluate strength deficits or if the athlete is “strong enough”, in which case lighter loads would be prescribed to help train for power production.

With a fully remote strength assessment, we have our athletes perform a 5RM of the “Big 3” lifts:

    • Deadlift
    • Squat
    • Bench Press

This allows us to calculate an estimated 1RM and also make sure the athlete’s form is proper.

With Evan, although his strength numbers were “strong enough” for his current age and physicality, his lifting form was inconsistent and compromised due to a lack of mobility in certain areas. With an athlete such as Evan, the goal is to lower the weight, improve his form, and then reintroduce heavier weights so that he is lifting it properly with good form to prevent future injury.

Progress Made this Off-Season

Evan is a very athletic and dedicated athlete and has made significant strides this off-season. First and foremost, after tirelessly working on his mobility program through the first 4 weeks of remote training, Evan has yet to feel any lower back discomfort. Being able to slowly increase the mobility in his hips and t-spine, has allowed his lower lumbar to remain more stable and pain free.  Here are a few of the mobility routines he performs regularly.

In addition, here are some of his weight room metrics:


      • Baseline: 155 lbs.
      • Currently: 165 lbs.



      • Baseline: 405 lbs. 3RM
      • Current: 425 lbs. 3RM


      • Baseline: 295 lbs. 3RM
      • Current: 335 lbs. 3RM


      • Baseline: 185 lbs. 3RM
      • Current: 205 lbs. 3 RM

Spring Update

Evan has started off the season on a tear. Taking his performance to a new level having improved his mobility and increased his overall strength.  The great news is that he no longer has any lower back discomfort.

He is currently batting .459 with 5 doubles and 2 triples (versus .313 last year) according to Max Preps. Keep up the great work Evan!

By Jake Lebovitch (Pitching Coordinator, Strength Coach at RPP Baseball) and Nunzio Signore (Owner at RPP Baseball)

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