As the off-season arrives, the daily and weekly regime for Major League Baseball players changes. There is a greater opportunity for rest and recuperation and time can be spent with family and friends.
While there is this opportunity, each player needs to maintain their fitness levels to ensure they can seamlessly slip into the new season and perform to their highest level.
How players return to after the off-season often influences MLB odds for their sides, especially in the early season games. Some players, as their careers progress, can gain a reputation as being slow starters, or even big hitters from the off.
But how do players ensure they are ready for the new season without the strict routines they follow during the season?
While they may be home and away from the observing coaches as dietitians, elite level players ensure they keep themselves fuelled correctly.
For many, it can be a time of building muscle mass or for eradicating excess body fat to ensure they come back more powerful or quicker than the previous year.
Identifying the right levels of proteins to be able to train hard and recover quickly is important.
There is a high focus on carbohydrates to ensure the player has enough energy to be able to train longer and harder. This does not mean eating high quantities of pasta, but high-quality carbs and nutritious foods such as Quinoa, Oats, Sweet Potatoes and Beets.
Staying fit and active is vital. If a player takes too long of a rest, they will take much longer to return to the level they need to reach.
Cardiovascular exercise like running, outdoors or on the treadmill, will often include a lot of short bust and high intensity interval training to build endurance and speed for the games.
With a need for strength in the shoulder areas specifically with batting and throwing, weightlifting is a big part of the baseball players’ regime.
Professional MLB players will need to stay fit and strong to return to the league knowing concentration is as necessary as anything. By remaining fully hydrated and training at high levels, the body builds its strength and speed while also ensuring you can stay active for longer periods.
The importance of recovery cannot be over-emphasised as it ensures an athlete is ready to train to their highest levels time after time.
Ice baths are considered a key muscle recovery tool. Athletes will submerge in the ice baths straight after a hard workout of a game to speed up the recovery of their muscles.
In order to remain at the peak of your fitness levels, your muscles and body need to recover fully, or you will be training or competing below your highest level. This is something which has become far more prioritised than in the earlier years and has helped extend MLB players’ careers, as well as keep them playing at the highest level for longer.
Some of MLBs biggest stars ensure they follow strict off-season plans in order to return to the game at the top. Some examples of how they try and get an edge on their competition are below:
In Ohtani, MLB has a superstar who carries out a role for the Los Angeles Angels that no other player has been able to manage in the league since Babe Ruth. He is an elite pitcher as well as a designated hitter/position player and took the league by storm when he arrived in 2018.
To ensure he stays in the best condition possible, Ohtani takes no time off from his fitness routine and diet.
It was reported in The Athletic that he regularly had blood drawn before the 2022 season in order to find out which foods produced the best results and optimal recovery to ensure he came into the season fit and strong enough to dominate it.
He then used data to help develop his game when he visited Driveline Baseball in Seattle. This centre is considered one of the best for player development using performance and statistical data to develop a player’s game.
Data plays a huge part in MLB, and by players using it to further develop their game and this route can streamline a player’s training load.
One of MLBs biggest hitters is the youngest player to reach 100 home runs and 100 bases in MLB history.
Mike Strout already won two MVP awards before he was 26 and is as committed as anyone to staying in shape.
He focuses a lot on full-body workouts. Squats, deadlifts, and bench pressing is all mixed with a lot of huge lifting. Ensuring his workouts include a lot of explosive movements to prepare himself for the games, he remains bigger, stronger and faster than most of his rivals.
There are many different ways the elite will train, and each will be looking for new routines and diets they can implement into their lifestyle which could help them push on even further to dominate their sport.