It never fails, every college or pro player I speak to says they regret not getting into the weight room earlier in their career. I started training at age 11 at True Grind Systems in Austin, TX. At these young ages it isn’t about lifting heavy weights, it is about learning the habits, movement patterns and intent of moving athletically. I am finally seeing more kids aged 9-12 training all over the country on social media, and I am excited about their future. There are plenty of good sports performance facilities that work with kids around the country now.
Managing Your Training Workload
Over the last few months, I have moved to a 4x a week program in the gym. I do skills camp at 180 Performance Center 2x a week, where I work on a structured hitting, fielding and pitching program. On top of that, I long toss, throw Clean Fuego and a football a few times a week. I’ll throw at least one bullpen a week, where I am focused on my mechanics or on a specific thing I want to work on that week. I’ll get in the batting cage and play wiffle ball a couple of times a week, too. I’ll also ride the bike (indoors or outdoors) once or twice a week. I am not blessed to be the best athlete with great natural movements, with speed or with explosiveness. Like many people out there, I wasn’t born a thoroughbred. I am more like a junkyard dog. I’m not that kid who woke up one morning and could throw 90 at 13 or run a 6.7 60 yard dash. I’ve got to work hard for every gain. You can work hard, too and I hope you have already started. But one key lesson I want to share with you is if you are going to work hard, then you better work hard to recover, too.
The key here for me is the Whoop strap. Whoop allows me to monitor all my activity, strain and sleep. I will use it to track all my training and it will provide me a daily strain score. At the end of the day, it will tell me when I need to go to sleep in order to perform my best, or well enough, the next day. This is really invaluable during the school year and of course before games. When I wake up it, will show me my recovery score and how much my body and central nervous system are prepared for my daily workload.
As I mentioned, getting good quality sleep is really important to your recovery. There are a number of routines I go through before bed that help me with my sleep score.
The Importance of Hydration
My go-to-bed routine starts with my rehydrating and getting in some electrolytes. I drink a glass of Jigsaw Health’s Pickleball Cocktail. Making sure you are well hydrated throughout the day will also aid in your recovery. Dry muscles and fascia are more likely to get injured.
A couple of hours before I go to sleep, I will use blue light blocking glasses if I am looking at any screens. Many studies suggest that blue light in the evening disrupts your brain’s natural sleep-wake cycles.
Active Recovery With Marc Pro
Now I can deal with any tired and sore muscles. I’ll get on the Marc Pro for active recovery. I tend to use it on my pitching arm after throwing days, after an upper body workout day and when I need to throw the next day. This week I’ve used it on my legs as well, since my new workout program emphasizes more squats while my last program was more focused on deadlifting. How much time I spend on it will be based on how much damage/stress my body has gone through. To learn more about the Marc Pro, make sure to listen to this week’s podcast cast with Gary Reinl, Director of Sports Performance for Marc Pro. While I have the Marc Pro on (usually 30 minutes) I’ll get in a comfortable position and watch some YouTube or TV.
Maximize with Mobility
Before laying down in my bed, I’ll spend some time focusing on my hip mobility with several hip flows. I will get on the Rotex floor model in order to work on my ankle (I plan on writing more about this in the future) and hip mobility as well. If I notice any muscles that are really tight, I will use a percussion massage gun or a Yoga Tune Up ball to roll out tight muscles and feet.
I’ll spend about 10 minutes doing my J-Band routine to stretch and strengthen my shoulders and arms. As I get into bed, I’ll spend some time with focused breathing to relax myself and bring my heart rate down.
This is my typical routine 6 days a week. On Sundays, during the off-season, I’ll just use it to recover, play some other sports, like basketball, and rest up. When I look at all this written down, most days, between the gym and skill work, I am putting in 2:30-4 hours of work and about an hour of active recovery, in total. Add all of that to making sure I eat well all day, hydrate consistently and get my 8-10 hours of sleep, and you can see why I say it is important to work hard, but work at recovery harder, as well.
This week I asked on Twitter how long people spend on active recovery and the results of the poll are quite interesting:
Baseball players, how much time do you spend on your active recovery daily?
(@TheMarcPro, mobility, other movement, massage)
Trying to put together an article this week.
— Play Ball Kid (@PlayBallKidInc) January 5, 2021
How long do you spend on recovery?
PS: If you are looking for a Marc Pro code you can you can “Play Ball”.