Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

One of the biggest gripes I had while playing baseball in college was that our in-season training program was trash. By the time May rolled around everybody was skinny, weak, and threw a good 4-5 mph slower than at the beginning of the season. I noticed this during high school ball too, but I didn’t understand why it was happening. I figured that if you trained all offseason, that strength would just stay with you during the season. But unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Once I got to college and started learning about the body and training, I realized that improper training methods during the season were what was causing this steady decline in performance over the course of the year. That, combined with a hefty dose of long-distance “conditioning” runs.

Here’s 3 big mistakes that people often make when training in season. I’ve omitted “Doing Nothing” because frankly, that should be common knowledge by now.

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If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s long distance running. Especially when it’s done on treadmills. There are myriad reasons for this, but the 3 biggest are:

1) It’s boring

2) It takes forever

3) It makes you weaker

At some point I’ll surely write an entire article about my disdain for treadmills, which are the #2 worst piece of exercise equipment (#1 is the Smith machine), but I’ll focus on just long distance running in general for the purposes of this article.

Stupid...

Stupid…

Most people who jog are doing it to lose weight and body fat and “get toned”. The rest are just lunatics who somehow do it for enjoyment. But jogging burns less calories and less body fat than higher intensity activities like sprinting, and jogging also has a catabolic effect on muscle tissue (it makes muscles shrink). So if it’s not effective for fat loss and it’s clearly no good for building lean muscle, why are we doing it? (more…)

Here’s another article of mine, published today on Stack.com. Baseball and softball players need to follow this advice.

Click here to check it out.

baseball pitcher

Check out my latest article on Stack.com, “3 Medicine Ball Drills to Develop Velocity”

Miguel-Cabrera-Med-Ball-Throw—STACK

If you’re a human and you’re alive in the 21st century, odds are good that you have pretty terrible posture. Years upon years of sitting, slumped over a desk, have  rounded your shoulders and turned your upper back into a kyphotic nightmare. If you’re a baseball, softball, tennis, or volleyball player, the effects are probably even more pronounced.

Look at the average human these days and this is what you’ll see:

shoulder slump

Head forward, shoulders forward, and hunched spine. None of these are good traits. How does this happen?

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As anyone who has been to a Pro Day or a professional tryout will tell you, the first thing on the agenda is always sprinting. In football, it’s the 40 yard dash. In baseball, it’s the 60. For a lot of guys, this first test will make or break their chances of making whatever team it is they’re trying out for. If you’re running your sprints at a college showcase or combine, this is your first chance to impress the college coaches in attendance, and also your first chance to make them ignore you the rest of the day.

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Nearly all of the programs I write incorporate med ball throws.  During the “preseason” phase of training, 100% of them do. One of the first things I teach the athletes I train is how to properly execute these throws. Some people can do them right off the bat with no problem, but most untrained athletes need at least some coaching. The problem I see most often in untrained athletes is the tendency to try to do everything “all at once”. What I mean by this is that they have a difficult time creating torque and utilizing the stretch-shortening cycle in their throws because there’s no separation between upper body and lower body movements. (more…)

“Posterior chain” training is getting a lot of hype these days, and for good reason. Building a strong, powerful posterior chain will improve athletic ability dramatically by allowing you to run faster, jump higher, throw harder and hit farther.

There are other ways to hit baseballs farther, but I don't condone some of them.

There are other ways to hit baseballs farther, but I don’t condone some of them.

What is the posterior chain?

Simply put, it’s the muscles located on the back (posterior) of your body. When talking about sports performance, it typically refers to the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. (more…)

Training programs and goals must change throughout the offseason. At the beginning of the offseason, training is dedicated to improving strength and fixing imbalances incurred during the season. As the season approaches, training programs for baseball players should transition from strength-based to power-based, and more emphasis should be placed on sport-specific movements and drill work. Many younger ballplayers who have not yet reached high school are in the middle of their “pre-season” training phase right now, as outdoor practices have begun and regular season games are right around the corner. This means that they are doing a LOT of explosive drills like medicine ball throws to improve their ability to use the strength they’ve gained over the winter.

One of the most important things my athletes have been working on this offseason is powerful, effective hip rotation. Without good hip rotation, both pitching velocity and hitting power will suffer.  Here’s two medicine ball drills that will help develop pitching and hitting power, while grooving good lower body movement patterns: (more…)

Everybody benches. Football linemen do it to improve their initial punch at the line of scrimmage, body builders do it to sculpt their chest and arms, and average gym-goers do it because they don’t know what else to do on “chest day” (which is ALWAYS Monday, seemingly no matter who you talk to). The bench press has, in a way, become the ultimate measure of strength in casual conversation. Case in point: how many times have you ever said or heard the phrase “How much do you bench?” Compare that with how many times you’ve said or heard the phrase “How much do you squat?” I’d argue that the squat is a much better indication of overall strength and athleticism, but nobody cares about that. To the average casual lifter, the bench press is the end-all be-all of strength training.  Regardless of your reason for benching, here’s a few ways to increase your weight in the only lift most people at the gym care about. (more…)