Respect the arm. It’s the code of the basepaths for runners thinking of challenging outfielders who have rocket arms. Only a handful of outfielders command that kind of fearful respect, but lucky for you, STACK has a key to joining them: high-powered workouts used by big leaguers who turn aggressive base runners into cautious pedestrians.
In our first post, we showed you the lower-body and core-strengthening series used by Hunter Pence, the Houston Astros right fielder who makes sport of gunning down base runners. Here, we bring you Jeff Francoeur’s upper-body workout routine.
The strong-armed Francoeur has played for four different teams since the start of the 2009 season, but one thing has remained constant: since his big league debut in 2005, he has ranked among the top three in outfield assists.
Says Francoeur, “I know I have a strong arm, but I do a good job of getting rid of the ball quick. I think it just comes from working on it. Our outfield coach will hit us 10 to 15 ground balls before the game, just working on staying down and coming up at full speed. We do it so much that we don’t think about it during games. You just see the ball and react.”
His arm fires like an automatic weapon, but it is Francoeur’s off-season training that provides the ammo. The Kansas City Royals right fielder performs exercises that strengthen his shoulders and their stabilizer muscles, increasing shoulder stability for added arm strength and injury prevention.
Try performing Francoeur's mini-routine during your next workout:
- Grip bar with overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart
- Without using momentum, pull yourself up until your chin is just above bar
- Lower with control until arms are straight; repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 2x max reps
- Grasp handles of dip stand or machine, extending arms straight to support body
- Lower with control until chest is at hand level
- Drive up until arms are straight; repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 2x max reps
Shoulder Raise Circuit
Holding light dumbbells in each hand, perform 10 reps of the following exercises:
- Front Raise [pictured, top of post]
- Side Raise
- Empty Can [thumbs pointed toward ground]
Sets/Reps: 2x circuit
Return next week for the third installment of STACK's Golden Arms Club series, highlighting the workout routine of another strong-armed corner outfielder.
Photos: Bob Chapman