2009 AL MVP Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins has been on the 15-day disabled list due to leg weakness. Mauer had a light workload during spring training so he could recover from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, but it unfortunately failed to prepare his lower body for the rigors of catching in the Big Leagues.
Catching taxes the body more than any other position on the
diamond, and the stress of catching several days a week caused muscle soreness in Mauer’s entire body. “He is definitely very, very sore over the last few days…and we think [that] his legs just are not strong enough underneath him,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “His knee is actually feeling OK, but he’s compensating for the weakness in his upper leg…[and] that’s causing a lot of other problems.”
Compensating for a weakness forces you to perform athletic movements differently. The change can be a shock to the body, so it’s no surprise that Mauer’s feeling sore. He certainly isn’t alone. Any athlete forced to make a drastic change in his workout routine can empathize with Mauer.
Catchers frequently deal with soreness in their legs, especially if they didn’t prepare properly for the stress of the regular season. Unless, like Mauer, you were coming back off a surgery, there’s no excuse for being unprepared.
Lower body strength exercises for the quads, hamstrings, hips and glutes, along with plyometrics, can prepare catchers [and other position players] for the demands of the regular season. Try the exercises below to help build the leg strength you need to play the 2 position.
Jimmy Rollins Speed Lunge
- Maintain base of support
- Keep knee behind toes
- Don’t raise your center of gravity
- Keep abs tight and body under control
Sets/Reps: 2×20 yards with jog out
Tim Beckham BOSU Med Ball Side Lunge
- Step onto BOSU and lower into Side Lunge while extending med ball in front of you
- Plant entire sole of foot on BOSU
- Keep ankle of foot on BOSU as stable as possible
- Keep lunging knee behind toes
Sets/Reps: 3×6 each leg
Thomas Vanek Russian Plyo
- Go as low as possible
- Push as high and as far as possible
- Absorb the force as you land
Sets/Reps: 2×6 reps per leg with 60-90 seconds rest