Derek Jeter is in his 20th season as a professional baseball player. In 18 of those seasons, the man Yankee fans call “The Captain” appeared in at least 119 games. Jeter has been one of the most durable and productive athletes in MLB history. Now in his final season (Jeter plans to retire at the end of the year), the 13-time All-Star is at the center of the RE2PECT social media campaign honoring his contribution to the game—and he has the Bronx Bombers near the top of the American League East once again.
How has Jeter remained so quick and nimble at the shortstop position for so many years? Through speed and agility drills focused on keeping his legs strong and explosive. Jason Riley, director of performance at the Performance Compound in Tampa, worked with Jeter on movement patterns that allow him to attack ground balls coming from any angle.
“Our job is to re-create movement patterns that optimize his performance,” said Riley. “[We focused on] synchronization of the motor units as well as the firing of the motor units—getting all that to work together to make his movements more powerful and more explosive, and overall allow him to do that through an entire season and not wear out.”
Jeter said the workouts were difficult but extremely beneficial to him on the field. “We really worked on strengthening my legs and side-to-side lateral movement and first-step quickness,” he said.
To improve your leg strength, lateral movement and explosiveness, perform Jeter’s workout, below.
Derek Jeter’s Workout
Lateral Single-Leg Hurdle Hops
Stand with a row of mini-hurdles spread about a yard apart to your left. Jump over each hurdle with your left foot, making sure you land softly. Aim for quick hops—don’t try to reach maximum height. After clearing the last hurdle, burst into a five-yard sprint. Repeat on your opposite leg.
Sets/Reps: 3×5 each leg
Start in an athletic stance with a partner providing band resistance from the right. Keeping your hips low, shuffle to your left slowly with your partner providing steady and continuous resistance with the band. Take the prescribed number of steps, then switch and repeat in the opposite direction.
Sets/Reps: 3×4-5 steps each direction
Med Ball Pick-Up
Balance on your left leg with your right leg held slightly off the ground. Bend your left knee to squat down and pick up the ball. Lift the ball off the ground and stand up tall. Reverse the motion, slowly lowering the med ball down and placing it back on the ground. Stand up straight in the starting position. That’s one rep.
Sets/Reps: 2×10 each leg