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The Mariners say bye-bye to barbells

Feb 26, 2010, 5:43 PM EDT

Mariners logo.gifNo pumping iron for the M’s:

Just got out of the Mariners weight room down here, which, I have to
say, is almost completely devoid of weights. The Mariners, as we
mentioned yesterday on the blog, have signed a three-year contract with Dr. Marcus Elliott of Santa Barbara, Calif., founder
of the Peak Performance Project (P3). Elliott has been working with
Mariners trainers the past couple of months to overhaul the team’s
entire approach to fitness. In a nutshell, the idea is to focus on
reducing injuries and making Seattle players more athletic through a
series of workouts that have little to do with traditional

Instead, the team will focus on strengthening the movements used in
baseball — things like the ability to generate force through a
player’s hip rotation.

Used to be that people said baseball players shouldn’t lift weights because they were supposed to stay limber and loose. Then everyone lifted weights and credited that for all the home runs. Then everyone said that the weight lifting didn’t do anything, it was really the steroids. Now we’re trying something new.

I have no idea what sort of conditioning really works the best. Usually the best results are realized by whatever conditioning program the really good baseball players are doing.  If the Mariners win 95 games this year more teams will sell the weights next year.  If they win 79 people will forget this little experiment ever happened.

  1. Christopher - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    I think that the commentators (Craig, Neyer, etc.) are missing the most interesting angle of this story, and that is the fact that they are demanding that minor leaguers train in this fashion. If the experiment is tried for, say, three years and is a failure, then the damage done to the M’s is relatively minor. But a player who spends his age 20/21/22 years (for example) training in the wrong way could have his career wrecked.

  2. JE - Feb 26, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    “The team isn’t forcing big league players to completely abandon their prior fitness regimens if they really don’t want to. They instead are working the new system in slowly at a base level to introduce players to it.”
    This new regimen does not sound particularly radical.

  3. Joey B - Feb 26, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    “This new regimen does not sound particularly radical.”
    Physical fitness theory changes all the time. Aerobics got a lot of buzz for a while, then people realized they needed resistance training to maintain muscle mass and bone density, and now some are recognizing that you need flexibility as well.
    There is nothing wrong with weightlifting per se, but for general fitness, pushups and pullups, and chinups can do about the same as a weight bench.
    I use to have a teammate that did nothing else but swing a sledge hammer in his basement. I’ve never seen anyone punish the ball like he did.

  4. Christopher - Feb 26, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Perhaps you should read the whole story before you comment, JE. You are less likely to come off looking, well, stupid.
    “Minor leaguers don’t have a choice. The team is making this system mandatory at every minor league level of the organization. Trainers are being taught the system and weight rooms adapted at the various minor league sites.”
    And I am not suggesting that I believe the change is radical–I don’t know if it is or isn’t. However, in a game where small differences are very significant, this could certainly harm a player’s career. If he had a choice in terms of taking that risk, that would be fine, but he does not.

  5. JE - Feb 26, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    May I suggest laying off the caffeine, Christopher? Just because I did not agree with your alarmist viewpoint does not mean that I was making fun of your mother.

  6. JE - Feb 26, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    “However, in a game where small differences are very significant, this could certainly harm a player’s career.”
    Or help it.

  7. Lincoln Brigham - Feb 26, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    Looking at P3’s website it doesn’t seem that they’re saying goodbye to barbells at all. It looks like they’re saying goodbye to bodybuilding-style machines. There were plenty of barbells in use on P3’s site. In my view “traditional weightlifting” is barbells and the Olympic-style lifts. Machine-based strength training is relatively new compared to barbells and a failed experiment (IMHO) in strength training. The current trend in training is to get back to focusing on natural multi-joint movement and away from artificial single-joint movement (i.e. Arthur Jones’s Nautilus-style isolation machines).

  8. Christopher - Feb 26, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Well, JE, our remarks went something like this:
    1. I said something was in the article
    2. You quoted the article, implying that I was wrong
    3. I quoted the article, showing that I was right
    Where I come from, that’s pretty much the textbook definition of stupid. You got in such a rush to show the world how much you know, and in the end, you showed how poor your reading skills are.
    And as to your other point, I guess I shouldn’t have expected you to understand, given the aforementioned poor reading skills. So, I’ll say it again, as simply as I can: Nobody knows what the effect of this program will be, good or bad. That being the case, minor leaguers should be given a choice, just as major leaguers are. They should not have it imposed upon them.
    My apologies for using words with more than one syllable here. I hope you will be able to find someone to explain them to you.

  9. BigBaldPapaHawk - Feb 26, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    Both of you blowhards need to stfu.

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