Thursday, February 21, 2008

Michael Barrett: A Catcher's Workout

WBC: USA v South Africa

For many baseball fans, Mike Barrett is known for three things: being a pretty decent catcher, punching the crap out of league tool A.J. Pierzynski, and for getting the crapped beat out of him by fellow team mate and pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Since his days with the Cubs, Barrett has moved on and performed pretty well for the San Diego Padres. Being a catcher is one of the most difficult positions in all of sports because of the constant crouching required and the explosion necessary to throw out a stealing base runner. To get him prepared, Barrett's routine consists of resistance band training that adds to his explosiveness:
Three sets of 15 swings while attached over his shoulders and around his waist to a harness (held by Smith) with 30 pounds of resistance. One set of 15 swings without resistance. "This generates bat speed," says Smith. "His hips work against the resistance to fire as hard as they can, and his hands come around as an extension of his hips turning. When we take the resistance off, the muscle memory will be there; the explosiveness that his muscles generated with resistance will be there."

With 100 pounds of resistance attached to his waist, he does a set of 10 quarter jumps (only go into a partial squat), a set of 10 full jumps (squat deeply before jumping as high as possible) and a set of 10 fast jumps (jump as rapidly as possible, without getting set between jumps). Then he removes the resistance and does five quarter jumps. "When he needs to come up for a throw to second base," says Smith, "his muscles will fire that much harder to get him up quicker. It also helps prevent muscle fatigue."

[ More Barrett exercises at ]

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