If you are a baseball fan then no doubt you have heard of the Washington Nationals phenom, Bryce Harper. If you haven’t let me clue you in. Bryce Harper was picked number one overall in the 2010 baseball draft at age 17. He was called up to the majors on April 28 of this year. Since that call up, he was chosen to be in the All-Star game and was the youngest position player ever to be in an all-star game at age 19.
Needless to say, this guy has the makings of being a stud.
So, I set out to see if there was any reported workout routine for Harper on the internet. The guy is 6′ 3″ and between 215 and 225. He has all five tools: speed, hit for power, hit for average, a good defensive player, and a heck of an arm. What type of workout does this kid need to do to maintain or even possibly build on that?
There was one youtube video I saw out there with Bryce Harper being interviewed by Harold Reynolds. You can watch it by clicking here. In that video, they show clips of him working out. He does some squats with I think 225. He also does power cleans with 225. The form wasn’t the greatest, but good enough to get the job done. They showed a box setup as well, maybe 3.5 feet tall, so I assume he was doing some box jumps.
We know he does work out. Which is good. At 19, he needs to start this work ethic now to continue to develop his strength, but also help him prevent injuries. I guess he has a very “all-out” style of playing. He goes for broke at 100 mph. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because he is always hustling, but with that all-out abandon he could crash into a wall at full speed or land hard on the ground diving for a ball. This might cause the injuries that could stall the development of his career. The way these athletes get babied by management, plus the money invested in them, you want to keep this could as conditioned as possible to prevent those things.
To be on the safe side, I would start him with a body assessment such as a Functional Movement Screen. It can give us just a simple analysis to see if he has any muscle imbalances and if all his muscles are firing appropriately. It takes all of 15 minutes and for baseball players can be very useful to see if their dominant side is TOO dominant. Since baseball players throw with one arm and hit with one arm (most), it is easy to develop imbalances. This would help to identify any of them and then the proper exercises could be implemented to balance them out.
The more balanced an athlete is the lower the chance of some type of injury happening down the road.
Just watching Bryce Harper, you can tell he is a natural athlete. His swing is pretty smooth and his running form doesn’t have many (if any) mechanical flaws. With the speed he has, we would then just want to create a speed workout that will try to optimize his speed or at the very least maintain what he has.
Doing resistance speed drills such as uphill or downhill running, will maximize his speed development. Doing some single leg plyometrics will also help with his initial few steps. In baseball, this is really important to catching a fly ball, stealing a base, or getting out of the batter’s box quickly. You usually don’t have to run farther than 90 feet in a straight line at full speed, so the first several steps are vitally important.
Rotator cuff exercises with bands or dumbbells are almost automatic for any baseball player. The shoulder needs protected. We also want to develop his forearm strength because that will be key to develop hitting power. But, I like the couple exercises I’ve already seen from him: squats and cleans. Leg strength is very important to develop in baseball. It is the key to both hitting and pitching. Strong legs will help the hitting power and mph’s on a fastball.
Squats will develop that leg strength and cleans help with the total power development in your body. Cleans get all your muscles working as one for one concentrated effort of lifting the weight. This helps with that concentrated effort of hitting the baseball. If all the muscles are in sync working together with all its power, you can get a powerful hit. They also help with your running speed.
The one piece of the puzzle I would definitely throw in would be core work. Planks and side planks will really strengthen the core. If you can get some medicine ball tosses in as well, you will be that much better off strengthening and being able to generate the power from your core. Finally, just add some upper body work (a push and a pull exercise) to keep the body balanced.
If I was developing Bryce Harper’s workout routine, that is how I would go about doing it. The kid has a bright future ahead of him and it is really early in his career. If he doesn’t screw it up along the way, you might be watching a future baseball great.