The Braves off-season resistance training program is a dynamic, total body workout based on five basic movement patterns that were modified by Dan John and others. The program uses a variety of equipment and is designed to improve muscular endurance, strength, power, stability, balance, coordination and muscle control. The basic exercises incorporate multi-joint movements important to the sport of baseball and essential for building a strong foundation for effective injury-free performance. The five basic movements are
- Loaded carry
A description of these movements and their variations are presented below. Resistance training is performed three times per week using alternate days of heavy, light and moderate intensity.
Squat. A variety of squat-type movements are used to work the muscles of the lower body. Back and front squats are used on heavy days. Moderate days employ DB squats and goblet squats and lighter days use single-leg squats.
Hinge. Hinge movements work the muscles of the posterior chain, primarily the glutes and hamstrings. Straight-leg dead lifts and trap-bar dead lifts are used on heavy days, two-arm RDLs on moderate days and single-arm RDLs on lighter days.
Loaded Carry. Loaded carry exercise are used to increase core stability and improve joint alignment. Farmer’s carries are used on heavy and moderate days. Bottoms-up KB carries are used on lighter days to challenge static motor control, joint stability and muscular strength from an upright, moving posture. This exercise also helps activate the muscles of the rotator cuff, improve scapular control, enhance core stability and increase strength and stability in the muscles
of the hip, core, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand.
Push. The push is an upper body movement that utilizes a variety of exercises. Intensity is varied from workout to workout. Barbell bench, DB bench and incline bench presses are used on heavy and moderate days and push-ups are performed on lighter days.
Pull. Vertical and horizontal pull movements are used each workout to strengthen the upper back. Pull-ups and incline rows are used for vertical movements. Horizontal movements include DB rows and seated rows.
The basic five exercises are supplemented with single-joint exercises for the arms and Jobe-type exercises for the rotator cuff and scapula. Planks and anti-rotation exercises are used to enhance core stability and MD throws are performed to increase core strength and power. Players warm-up before resistance training and cool down after.
Rick Slate, MS, CSCS-E is the Director of Strength and Conditioning for the Atlanta Braves.