Before he became one of the most feared sluggers in Major League Baseball, José Bautista was a fringe utility player who never hit more than 16 home runs in a single season.
In 2010, his fifth big league season, Bautista bashed 16 home runs in the first two months of play. The Toronto Blue Jays RF finished the year as MLB’s home run leader with 54 long balls.
From 2010 through 2014, Bautista averaged 37 homers a season—more than double the average (15) of his previous four seasons—and won consecutive home run titles (2010 and 2011).
How did Bautista develop the home-run hitting power that transformed him from replacement-level player status to “Joey Batts,” the perennial All-Star?
He created a new training regimen and educated himself on the functionality of his body.
Bautista scratched his previous training program, which consisted of high-intensity power lifts, and focused on developing core strength to maximize his ability to generate bat speed and power through the hitting zone. He says, “I’m aware of what my body is doing and [I’m staying] engaged with the core. That way I can be more explosive.”
The new workouts also included a healthy dose of corrective exercises, designed to address muscular imbalances and reduce the risk of injury. Bautista says of the corrective work, “I wish I would’ve found all this out when I was 20 [years old]. I think I would’ve prevented a couple of injuries that have happened throughout the years.”
Despite his age (34), Bautista’s repurposed training program has him playing like he’s in his prime.
See the work Bautista puts in at the gym in the New Balance online video series, “Unlaced,” at the top of this post. Catch other episodes featuring New Balance’s roster of MLB athletes at newbalance.com/unlaced.