Introduction. A previous post by Coleman that indicated lifting weights after a MLB game tended to improve offensive performance as measured by batting average in the next game1. Given the fact that the Texas Rangers play outdoors in a hot to very hot and sometimes very humid environment, it’s not prudent to ask players to workout after games in which they just spent 3-4 hours in a very stressful environment.
Purpose. The purpose of this project was to determine if there was a difference in offensive performance (batting average) in games in which Texas Rangers players participated in a resistance training program before the game and games in which they did not participate in a resistance training program before the game.
Procedures. A resistance training program was defined as a series of workouts in which the volume and intensity of each exercise could be quantified and qualified in terms of volume (sets x reps), intensity (load) and volume load (sets x reps x load). Workouts in which the volume and volume load could not be determined were not included in the analysis. Thus pre-game circuit weight training, body weight and rehabilitation workouts were classified as resistance training workouts in this analysis. The data recorded for analysis included: 1) date of each workout; 2) intensity of each workout; 3) volume of each workout; 4) volume load of each workout; 5) date of each game; 6) number of ABs each date; and 7) number of hits each AB during the first 81 games of the 2016 season.
Analysis. The batting average for each player was determined for games in which he worked out before the game and for games in which he did not workout before the game. Mean batting averages were determined for each group (pre-game workout and no pre-game workout) and for the team as a whole. Data were included for only players who had at least 81 ABs over the first 81 games. An exception was made for catchers due to the fact that injuries required the use of 4 catchers during the first 81 games.
Results. The results of the analysis are presented in the figure below. The data indicate that the mean batting average for the 13 players studied was 18 points higher when they worked out before the game (.273) than when they did not workout before the game (.255). The mean batting average when players did not workout before the game (.255) was also lower than the team average for the first 81 games (.260).
Conclusions. Because the data indicate that players had either an increase or no meaningful decrease in batting average when they lifted before the game, one can conclude that lifting before the game helped improve or had no detrimental effect on offensive performance for the players in this study.
Practical Applications. The findings in this project are consistent with those of an earlier study of Houston Astros players over a 162-game season in which the offensive performance (batting average) for those who participated in a resistance training program after games was markedly higher the next day (.269) than that for those who did not workout the night before (.230)1. The take-away from these two studies is that regardless of whether you work out the night before the game or the day of the game, participating in a structured resistance training program should help enhance performance and have no significant negative effect on performance for most players.
Jose Vazquez, PT, RSCC is Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Texas Rangers.
- Coleman, G. Batting average and resistance training workouts. http://baseballstrength.org/batting-average-resistance-training-workouts/