STACK's 2009 Summer Training Guide gives you David Wright's on-field spring training routine, which he performs during his Grapefruit League sojourn in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Following Wright's no-nonsense pre-game approach will undoubtedly help you prep for any opponent. To discover how this big hitting, sure-handed third baseman evolved his skills, and to see how he trains when no one is watching, we hit up Wright's off-season trainer, Jeff Cavaliere.
"One thing that David and I agreed on when we first started working together is building him into a complete player," Cavaliere says.
From his three consecutive All-Star selections, two Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger Awards, one would think that Wright was already a "complete player." But when you're one of the most dominant players in the league, "complete" is never good enough.
"He is one of the most competitive people I've ever worked with," says Cavaliere. "This kid wants to win at everything, and he attacks his workouts the same way. It could be something as simple as trying to do more reps than he did the last time. It's an honor and a pleasure to work with someone who puts in the effort to be the best he possibly can be."
One goal last off-season was to become more explosive. Cavaliere put together a program that entails sport- and position-specific exercises to help Wright gain the strength he needed to become an even more explosive athlete.
"We train his lower body in a way that is functional to the position he plays," Cavaliere says. "Every exercise we do is fairly explosive, because baseball is a game of short bursts of activity. I am also a big believer in the core, because he needs the ability to produce rotation, which baseball is heavily dependent on."
Below, Cavaliere lays out Wright-tested exercises for the lower body, core and upper body. If you want to become your club's mainstay at the hot corner, incorporate these exercises into your off-season training plan.
Partner Crossover Lunge
• Have partner kneel five feet in front holding light med ball
• Assume athletic position with feet shoulder-width apart
• Step with left foot forward and 45 degrees right across body
• Lower into crossover lunge and field med ball rolled from partner
• Explode out of lunge back to starting position while simultaneously throwing med ball back to partner
• Repeat continuously for specified reps, then perform with opposite leg
Sets/Reps/Rest: 3x12-15 each leg with 30-60 seconds rest
Adaptation: Perform the drill reactively. Have your partner roll the ball without your knowing the direction. Partner can vary the speed of the rolls.
Coaching Points: Stay on balls of feet and keep head and chest up // Bend front knee to 90 degrees at bottom position, keeping it behind toes // Avoid bending from the waist // Get back up into starting position as explosively as possible while maintaining balance
Cavaliere: "This is going to improve his lateral mobility and agility, and his hip, quad and glute strength. It's not just a strength exercise; it's a power exercise, because we are really going for that element of speed. For him it's very position-specific."
V-Up Russian Twist
• Lie with back on floor holding med ball with straight arms overhead
• Keeping legs straight, raise heels two to three inches from floor
• Keeping arms and legs straight, raise upper body and legs to V position by contracting abs
• Maintaining V position, rotate torso to right and throw med ball down into floor; catch rebound
• Rotate torso to left and throw med ball down into floor; catch rebound
• Return to starting position and repeat for specified reps
Set/Reps/Rest: 3x10-20 with 30 seconds rest
Adaptation: If you can't keep your back flat against the floor at starting position, raise your feet 60 degrees
Coaching Points: Keep back flat against floor at starting position // Lead with chest and chin for V-Up // Make a full rotation with upper body and torso before throwing med ball to the floor // Maintain balance throughout exercise
Cavaliere: "With so much rotation in baseball, it's important to work David's core during the off-season. Whether he's in the field or at the plate, having a strong and stable core will help him become a better baseball player."
Explosive Med Ball Push-Up With Rotation
• Assume Push-Up position on knees with hands on outsides of med ball
• Perform explosive Push-Up while continuing to hold med ball
• As upper body elevates, rotate to right and throw med ball to partner five feet away
• Receive pass back from partner while descending into starting position
• Repeat for specified reps
• Repeat on left side
Sets/Reps/Rest: 3-4x10 each side with 60-90 seconds rest
Adaptation: If you don't have a partner, you can perform the exercise by throwing the med ball against a wall. Perform a few practice throws so you know how far away from the wall you have to be.
Coaching Points: Avoid sitting butt down onto heels // Perform Push-Up as explosively as possible // Maintain straight line with body from knees to head // Rotate torso and upper body before throwing ball to partner // Use med ball to absorb fall to the ground
Cavaliere: "One of the key areas for an infielder is upper body explosion and power. David needs to be able to make a diving stop on a hot liner down the third base line, pop up and get into a throwing position to get the guy out. He has to be able to do this in a matter of seconds."
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