Home Run Derby Workout – Nick Swisher, Vernon Wells, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz

by Nate

in Athlete Workouts

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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

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.”

Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera, who is arguably having the best season in the Majors this year, enters the derby with 22 home runs.  He has been known to work with a personal trainer and nutritionist to clean up his diet and add strength to his body.

“He worked out four hours a day, five days a week, and lost 10 pounds by the time the Tigers acquired him at the winter meetings in early December [2007],” according to a USA Today report.  “Cabrera needed to learn about his body and keep in balance with training and eating”, says his trainer, Sean O’Brien, owner of Perfect Competition, near Fort Lauderdale.

O’Brien wouldn’t divulge any of the details of the outfielder’s workout routine but says he did a combination of speed work, agility, conditioning and weight training.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said,  ”Whoever gets this guy is going to have a heck of a ballplayer with a different mentality. He’s a big man and he has to take care of himself. … He has the power and talent to be one of the best players ever.”

Miguel Cabrera will be competing in his 2nd Home Run Derby on Monday and making his 5th All-Star game appearance on Tuesday.

Vernon Wells

Wells suffered through a rough 2009 campaign but is back to All-Star form this year and is in the Home Run Deby for the first time in his career.  He has hit 19 homers through Sunday’s games.

In the off-season Veron Wells hired personal trainer Noah Scott to travel with him throughout the year.   Scott spent the winter working with Wells in Texas and has traveled to Florida for spring training and Toronto during the season to put Wells through his daily workout routine.

“I’ve never done so much work in an offseason as I did this offseason,” Wells said. “I normally haven’t been a big guy to workout during the season, but that’s going to change this year. Hopefully, once we get into August and things like that, I’ll still be as strong as I was Opening Day.

“Going through what I went through this offseason, my body is in a better place than it ever has been. It’ll allow everything else to fall into place,” Vernon Wells sad in an interview with MLB.com.

The workouts have been hard but they’ve paid off according to the Blue Jays center fielder.  ”It’s exercises you don’t think about doing. Stretches you’ve never heard of,” Wells said. “They must just sit at home and try to do exercises that, ‘Let’s see if this hurts.’ … It’s been a complete change as far as workouts that I’m used to.”

Traveling with a trainer obviously isn’t the most cost-effective way to stay in shape, but it has bee worth it for Wells.  ”It’s a pretty penny — it is,” he said with a laugh. “But it’s a matter of investing in your body. We invest in so many different things. One of the most important things you can invest in is your body, especially in the position that I’m in. It was a pretty easy decision on my part.”

David Ortiz

David Ortiz is the Home Run Derby veteran of the group, competing in it for the fourth time in his career.  The Red Sox slugger hit his 18th home run of the year on Sunday night.

Big Papi has suffered with some injury and aging issues but in recent years has focused on his conditioning to improve his overall health.  ”I think he wanted to get a little bit lighter, but not weaker,” Terry Francona said. “He needs to be strong; he needs to have a good lower half, but getting lighter,” the Boston manager continued.  ”I’m really proud of him,” Francona said.

David Ortiz, Vernon Wells, Miguel Cabrera, and Nick Swisher aren’t the only sluggers with workout routines.  Check back later for the workout programs of the National League’s contestants.  Also be sure to read our previous posts on the workouts of baseball players Nick Markakis and Adam Jones, Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman, Derek Jeter, Chase Utley, Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia, and the Seattle Mariners.

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