The Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, set for Monday night at 8PM on ESPN, will feature eight of the game’s premier sluggers. This year’s AL contestants – Nick Swisher, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz, and Vernon Wells will take on their NL counterparts – Matt Holliday, Corey Hart, Hanley Ramirez, and Chris Young at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
All of the hitters have been dedicated to their off-season workout programs to get themselves in the best shape possible for the grind of the 162 game MLB season. Each of the stars has his own unique way of incorporating strength and conditioning into his workout routine. First we will take a look at the training tips that helped the American League sluggers earn a spot in this year’s Home Run Derby.
Nick Swisher, who won the fan’s voting to be selected to his first All-Star Game and first Home Run Derby, currently has 15 home runs. He was named one of the Top 5 “Biggest Losers” of the offseason on MLB Hot Stove Live after he started boxing as part of his off-season workout and conditioning and lost 12 pounds. It was Swisher’s girlfriend, actress Joanna Garcia, that suggested boxing to the Yankee’s outfielder.
“It’s amazing to see the correlation with the hips and the core and everything from baseball to boxing,” Swisher told USA Today. “I enjoyed it a lot.”
Actually enjoying your workout will help you stay motivated and see results quicker. Swisher hasn’t like every workout he has attempted. “I’ve tried yoga,” Swisher said in New York Times interview. “Not for me.”
Swisher has also participated in some more unconventional off-season strength and conditioning programs. A few years ago he skipped out on the fancy gyms and spent the winter training in an Ohio barn. “This is not Bally’s or Chelsea Piers,” said Bill Fry, the owner of the center. “We do some different stuff out here, some crude stuff. This is more like Rocky in Russia, running through Siberia and hitting sides of beef.” “Nick Swisher chopped trees. He leveled walls. He busted concrete. When there were no trees or walls or concrete left, he found a monster-truck tire, and he whaled away on that. And after he was finished, he had gained 20 pounds.”
“I put in so much work,” Swisher said. “I transformed my swing, I transformed my body, and I transformed my mind.”