Major League Baseball teams face a grueling schedule of 162 regular season games that take place over the duration of a season that lasts between 178 and 183 days. The frequency of competition coupled with an exhausting travel schedule make it incredibly challenging to keep players' bodies game-fit, durable and in the peak condition they must possess to make the most of their talents. That's why Javair Gillett, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Detroit Tigers, chooses the TRX to help keep his Tigers roaring through the season. “When I discovered the TRX, one of the first things I thought about was, ‘Man, this would be great on the road,’” says Gillett. “You can just throw the TRX in a bag and bring it with you and utilize it anywhere.”
In the past, during the long, exhausting MLB season that takes the Tigers to so many different cities, Gillett didn't always have the luxury of training his players on the same equipment that they had at their home facility. The TRX allows Gillett to train his charges with the TRX no matter what facilities they find on the road using the same equipment and movements that they use on the TRX in the Tigers' training facility. “On the road, you don't have facilities to train at all the time. If you don't have any weights where you find yourself on the road, you can still train using the TRX. At the same time, I can bring it to the gym at home and get beneficial training out of it. That's why I'm utilizing it with all of my athletes.”
Functional training has become the predominant methodology guiding training in professional baseball as it has in all professional sports. One of the fundamental precepts underlying functional training is to train the whole body as an interconnected series of kinetic chains in order to mimic as closely as possible the same motor patterns the body uses during the sport or athletic activity it is being prepared to perform. “The training we do is very specific to the game being played,” says Gillett.
Since every movement on the TRX is a functional training movement that engages the entire body as a series of interconnected kinetic chains and activates and tasks the core, it's a perfect fit for baseball training. “Suspension Training allows you to get balance, agility, strength, explosiveness and speed. In that order, we can maximize your performance potential on the field. It allows you to train for core stability in more effective ways.” The TRX training Gillett has developed for the Tigers incorporates many of the staple functional TRX movements found in TRX training programs such as the TRX Sprinter Start, TRX Row and TRX Lunge.
But Gillett has also developed a variety of highly functional, baseball-tasked TRX movements that directly mimic the motor patterns used in professional baseball such as hitting, throwing, running and catching. “There are a lot of purposeful exercises you can get out of the TRX,” says Gillett. Some of the movements he's created specifically for the Tigers include an alternating TRX Sprinter Start, explosive high knee running from a TRX Sprinter Start position, a half scorpion that begins from a single leg plank position and includes a crossing under body knee tuck and a standing two-handed rotation with the TRX in single handle mode that's performed perpendicular to the anchor point. [Note: We'll be posting videos of these exercises and more throughout Spring Training and the upcoming season.]
The unlimited nature of Suspension Training makes the creation of these movements possible. Gillett's innovative mind made them happen. He hopes TRX Suspension Training will help give the Tigers an edge as they pursue their goal of a World Series Championship in the 2010 season. But he also sees qualities in the TRX and Suspension Training that he feels make it a good fit for the civilian population outside of professional sports. “If you improve your athleticism, you'll improve the quality of your life. The TRX lets you do that, anywhere.”
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