Although the MLB’s 2017 season officially began April 2, for the players it started much earlier – even before spring training. By the time players travel to the temperate Arizona and Florida climates for pre-season play, their bodies are conditioned for their regular-season play. At least, they should be; there have been exceptions.
According to Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Tony Watson, “There’s no catching up once the season starts.” But most players don’t prepare their bodies by practicing on the field all day long. They cross train – some with some pretty insane workouts. Whether they’re pushing cars uphill like San Francisco Giants’ right fielder Hunter Pence or performing calisthenics and bodyweight training like Los Angeles Dodgers’ center fielder Yasiel Puig, players want to be at their best by the time spring training rolls around.
But you don’t have to be a professional baseball player to train like one. While we wouldn’t recommend pushing cars or cycling over 500 miles weekly (cough, cough, Jose Fernandez), there’s other ways to cross train. Here’s a few ideas:
Baseball is all about consistency, and according to Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Jake Arrieta, that’s what you’ll get from Pilates. He believes the mind-body awareness developed through Pilates practice attributed to his 2015 comeback with the Cubs. But if you’re just interested in looking better, Pilates can help with that, too. According to Arrieta’s Pilates instructor, Liza Edebor, he “went from a regular-sized athletic guy to just ripped.”
Yoga has been a part of many MLB programs since about 2012, but the Tampa Bay Rays have been implementing yoga since 2007. Many players feel the flexibility gained from regular yoga practice not only prevents injury, but also makes them stronger. Oakland A’s catcher Stephen Vogt also attested to how yoga improved his performance.
Whether you invest in TRX straps for your home or purchase a boutique fitness membership, the bodyweight-suspension training phenomenon is gaining momentum in many professional sports. Baltimore Orioles’ outfielder David Lough incorporates TRX into his training regimen. What’s more? He only has three percent body fat.
Pool work and swimming
You don’t have to run, jump or tackle to get in a great workout. Swimming and pool work are low-impact and high resistance, meaning you’ll feel the burn without straining your joints. Many athletes cross train in the pool to minimize their risk of injury or even recover from an injury.