Justin Upton has always possessed MVP potential, but this year the Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder is living up to the hype and registering an MVP-caliber season. A former number-one draft pick, Upton currently leads Diamondbacks hitters in every major statistical category, including home runs, runs batted in, runs scored and on-base plus slugging [OPS].
The big numbers come as no surprise. Upton—who made his Major League debut at the age of 19—has been solid throughout his four full seasons in the Bigs. Unfortunately, those seasons haven't all been complete for the oft-injured Upton, who's missed 107 games over the past three seasons due to recurring oblique and shoulder problems.
This year is different, and a healthy Upton—he's missed only one game in 2011—is a major reason why the Diamondbacks are contending for first place in the NL West.
"I'm getting more consistent with my workouts, making sure that I keep my shoulder strength up and doing my core exercises," Upton recently told azcentral.com. "It's more or less maintenance and trying to stay fresh."
Core strengthening exercises are at the heart of the order for Upton. He says, "Going after a ground ball or fly ball, even taking off out of the [batter's] box, you have to have explosive movements, and that all starts with the core. You have to be stable in your movements, and your core holds everything together to have the strength to maneuver around the field as quickly as possible."
In the off-season, Upton trains for strength endurance, working his core and other muscle groups responsible for generating explosive movements on the field. Watch the videos below to see Upton's training in action, and return for Part 2 to learn how the D-Backs slugger trains for upper-body strength.
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