Five Tool Baseball Performance Training (FTBPT) is dedicated to sharing its knowledge, ideas and opinions on baseball performance training based upon field tested experiences as player, coach and baseball strength & conditioning coach. Proper exercise technique ( to ensure effective & efficient training programs) and baseball related movement patterns are implemented to maximize on-field performance. Emphasis is placed on movement based training which integrates multiple muscle groups. This approach has a greater transfer to on-field performance and can minimize the incidence and risk of injury. 
 If a game is being played you can be sure Im watching it from home or from the stands. Many of my own workouts involve designing/creating out-of-the-box exercises & programs to enhance performance and movement unique to baseball

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rotational Superset Training Part 2

In my previous blog dated December 2, 2011, I referenced a PUSH/Pull rotational superset combination that supports the rotational movement patterns typical of baseball. The following represents a PULL/Push rotational superset that is also driven thru the transverse plane having a great impact on rotation and developing core stiffness.


This is a great unilateral exercise for back muscles; requiring a strong core

This is another great unilateral exercise that is driven thru the transverse plane requiring a strong core. In addition to developing core stability it targets chest, shoulders and triceps. As with the 1A S/S CABLE ROW (December 2, 2011 blog) this exercise also has a positive benefit on the rear leg hip flexor.

Be sure to train both sides.

Train hard, train smart. And as always...

Before you play the game, OUT TRAIN THE GAME!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Power Endurance & Conditioning Drill

Im from the school of thought that long distance running/jogging doesn't make a whole lot sense for baseball performance training. That being said, the following is one of my favorite power endurance conditioning drills that includes four 100 yard shuttles with each one separated by four different leg exercises. It looks like this:

Sprint 100 yards (4 x 25 yards*)
20 Bodyweight Squats (perform for speed)
Sprint 100 yards (4 x 25 yards*)
20 Bodyweight Lunges (perform in place for speed)
Sprint 100 yards (4 x 25 yards*)
20 Bodyweight Split Jumps (perform for speed)
Sprint 100 yards (4 x 25 yards*)
10 Bodyweight Squat Jumps (perform for speed)

* the 100 yards is purposely broken down into four 25 yard segments to work on deceleration, changes of direction, and acceleration

NOTE: proper progression is an absolute must when executing this drill. Before you go out right away and attempt this drill, first start with a total sprint of 25 yards (1 x 25 yards).  Every 2-3 weeks (approximately) progress by adding 25 yards until you are capable of performing 4 x 25 yards: 
1 x 25 = 25 yards
2 x 25 = 50 yards
3 x 25 = 75 yards 
and finally 
4 x 25 = 100 yards

Throwing a stopwatch on this drill is an excellent way to motivate and show progress.

You'll get more than what you need to last the game!

Before you play the game...OUT TRAIN THE GAME!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hernandez to Rockies

Five Tool Baseball client, and friend, Ramon Hernandez passes physical which finalizes his 2 year deal with the Colorado Rockies to take on the catching duties.

Congrats Ramon.

Now let's get back to work.

Out train the game!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


One of my favorite exercises that strengthens the posterior chain musculature, responsible to decelerate the arm during a throw, is the RECLINE ROW.

This exercise creates back strength, shoulder stability, core stiffness, and even grip strength (when modalities such as ropes are incorporated) all of which are important to the baseball player. In addition, maintaining proper body alignment requires the ability to isometrically sustain hip extension along with glute activation which encourages lengthening of the hip flexors which is important for creating healthy hamstrings.

Stay Strong!

Out Train the Game

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rotational Superset Training

There's no doubt that the core/trunk of a baseball player takes on a fair amount of rotational stress when it comes to on-field movements such as throwing, hitting, running.

To train for the rotational demands placed on the core we’ll structure Superset combinations, in which core integration is a major part of each exercise. The following PUSH/PULL combination is one such superset combination capable of developing the necessary core stiffness & strength a ball player will need to perform those on-field rotational movements.


In addition to the strength development for the chest and triceps, proper execution and control of this unilateral movement will have a great influence on shoulder stability and core stiffness.

In addition to strength development for the back, posterior shoulder & biceps, this exercise is driven thru the extremely important transverse plane. In addition, the hip flexor of the rear leg is lengthened when the same side glutes are activated. This lengthening of the hip flexor becomes of great importance to hamstrings.

In addition, a similar 1A superset combination can be performed by implementing a 1A Incline DB press followed by a 1A "high to low" cable row

Stay tuned for a future blog that outlines a PULL/PUSH rotational superset combination.

Out train the game!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chew on this

From an October 18, 2011 article appearing on the 1st sentence, regarding the ban of tobacco in MLB, read like this-

"U.S. senators and health officials are taking on a baseball tradition older than the World Series itself: chewing tobacco on the diamond."

Even though this can be a heavily debated topic, I think it's imperative to share not only some of the eye-opening, harmful side effects from chewing (smokeless) tobacco but also the health benefits of a much healthier & smarter alternative: sunflower seeds.


1. Tooth decay & gum disease

2. Oral cancer of the mouth, cheeks, lips, tongue & throat

3. Reduced sense of taste; leading to an excessive intake of salts & sugars

4. Lung cancer

5. Increased heart rate & blood pressure

6. Negatively affects performance


1. Sunflower seeds are high in the "good" unsaturated fat, making them a great heart healthy snack.

2. healthy source of dietary fiber.

3. sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, thiamin (B1), magnesium, ; plus a host of other nutrients

3. Contains sodium. Yes salt. Baseball players often find themselves playing in extreme hot, humid conditions and the lack of sodium under such conditions can place the ball player at risk for developing a sodium imbalance leading to muscle cramps and poor performance.

Choose smart, eat healthy...and reach for the seeds.

Go hard in the yard

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sport Science: Aroldis Chapman

Great infotmation as to why Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman is able to throw over 100mph... on a regular basis.

Aroldis getting after a whole new training experience this off-season.

Friday, September 30, 2011

202 = 6th

As posted earlier, Anibal Sanchez recorded 202 strikeouts in 2011...good enough for 6th best amongst NL starters.

Congrats to Anibal.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ramon finishes 2011

Ramon opened up the 2011 season with an opening day 3 run walk-off HR. How awesome is that. His 2011 numbers were fairly consistent to that of 2010. However, he did show some extra pop this year finishing with 5 more HRs than 2010.

He called me from NYC tonight; ready to begin his 2012 off-season training program.

here we go....

Stay tuned

Go hard in the yard

2011 in the books

The 2011 MLB season is in the books. It also marks the second consecutive season that FTB client and Florida Marlins Starting Pitcher Anibal Sanchez has done it again..made all 32 of his starts and finished healthy. Big deal you say. Well, it actually is as Anibal has shown that, since training with FTB, he is healthy and durable following 3 previous injury riddled seasons (2007-2009).

Altho his 2011 ERA is up slightly (due to more HRs allowed) he held opponents to lower BA (.250) and allowed fewer hits (187) & BB (64) than 2010. More importantly, as these numbers demonstrate durable and power, he threw more innings (196.1), more strikeouts (202) than 2010.

He and I have already talked and he is eager to get a jumpstart on our 2011 off-season training program in preparation for the 2012 season

Get ready Miami!

Go hard in the yard.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Highs in September '11

When the 162 game season begins taking it's toll on players, Anibal Sanchez is still in mid-season form. While tossing a 1-hitter vs. the pirates last night, Sanchez recorded his 3rd complete game and 2nd shutout of the 2011 season-both are season career highs.

I couldn't be more convinced about the structure of our off season training and conditioning programs. As I've said time and time again, "in season performance happens in the off-season".

Go hard in yard.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Throwing K's

Five Tool Baseball client, Anibal Sanchez, just threw his 158th strikeout of the season surpassing the 157 Ks he threw all of 2010 season.

During the off season we..well he... is dedicated to our training program providing durability to his season. Starting healthy, staying healthy, finishing healthy is a big part of the game.

Go hard in the yard.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Up Tick

(On July 7, 2011) Cincinnati Reds catcher, Ramon Hernandez, hits his 9th homer of the season. Altho a modest increase, it's the most HR's he has hit since the 15 hit in 2008. Looking forward to #16.

Out train the game!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Hybrid Training

Traditional strength training exercises such as the lat pulldown, seated row, bench press (machine based or free weights) are ideal for body building as they are typically performed in a stable, single plane of motion, isolating a particular body part. Such traditional exercises are great at creating "gym' strength.

Although such exercises can get you strong, they shouldn't be the only approach when training for baseball. Baseball related movements (and sports in general) should be trained via exercises which are multi-planar integrating multiple muscle groups thru multiple ranges of motion - the essence of functional training. Exercises such as standing band/cable press, split squats, or even 1-arm standing row, can generate "field" strength; capable of reducing the incidence of injury and enhancing on-field performance.

Combining traditional strength training exercises with functional strength training exercises provides for a training system (HYBRID TRAINING SYSTEM) capable of bridging "gym" strength and "field" strength. It maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of your training program.

Here's a few examples:

Squats - Traditional
1-Leg RDL - Functional

Lat Pull Down - Traditional
Standing Alternating Band Press - Functional

Seated Row - Traditional
Stability Ball Push Up - Functional

Flat Bench DB Press - Traditional
1-Arm Standing Cable Row - Functional

Incline DB Bench Press - Traditional
Recline Row - Functional

Out train the game.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sanchez outduels Halladay

Earlier this week, Anibal specifically asked for the Roy Halladay matchup; and he got it...In Philly. Anibal goes on to scatter 4 hits, 2 runs over 7 innings. After going 7 innings strong, and bettering Halladay, he turned over a 4-2 lead to the bullpen only to see the Phillies come back tie the game and win it in the 10th. No win for him (or Marlins) but sure was a nice moral victory. Durability didn't seem to be a factor either for Anibal as he threw a season high 125 pitches.

In season performance happens in the off-season.

Go hard in the yard.


Monday, June 6, 2011

MVP Shuttle


As it pertains to squats, the question shouldn’t be how low should you go, but rather how low are you capable of going?

From my own observations at the Institute of Human Performance, most individuals barring injury have the ability (thus mobility) to perform a bodyweight (BW) squat (i.e. on a box) to a depth that is parallel or deeper. However, add a vertical load - such as a barbell - dominated by gravity and the previously demonstrated mobility is overshadowed by an individual’s lack of stability. Basically, the vertical load inhibits (shuts down) the body’s range of motion(mobility) because it feels threatened by the body’s lack of stability.

So, if vertical loaded barbell squats can limit mobility due to poor stability, how can we still squat and train to improve range of motion and stability. For me, the answer is the Shuttle MVP (MVP) – an absolute workhorse at the Institute of Human Performance. I take a dual squatting approach. One, continue to squat with vertical loads to improve stability. Two, implement squats on the MVP to maintain depth/mobility of the squat. Because of its horizontal carriage, coupled with the adjustable headrest, the MVP basically minimizes gravity while allowing for a wide range of squat depths to be performed safely. In addition, the MVP is equipped with up to 16 selectorized bands allowing for those varying squat depths to be trained with loads less than, and (in some cases) equal to or even greater than bodyweight. This dual squatting approach has been a balanced combination for mobility, stability and strength.

Train hard. Train Smart.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baseball Speed...What is it?

Baseball Speed...What is it?

First, in my opinion, let me tell you what it shouldn't be. It shouldnt be testing for the 60 yard dash -because a ball player will rarely sprint 60 yards (54.9m) in a straight line during game situations. However, I dont see things changing anytime soon so "The 60" will continue to be baseball's scouting standard to evaluate speed. But what about testing for speed that could actually mean something. Speed that translates to the field - speed that I refer to as functional speed. I break it down into two categories:

1) Functional 60 yard speed:

The traditional, linear 60 yard sprint will only predict what you might be able to do in game situations. Whereas "The Functional 60" test such as home-to-second, first-to-third, or even second-to-home can provide speed times for real baseball situations. AND lets not forget the non-tangables such as getting good jumps/reads on base hits, and recognition of defense all can influence the ability to take that extra base.

2) Functional 30 yard speed:

Top baseball speed is achieved around 30m-40m; and since the distance between bases is 27.4m (30 yards) it would be difficult for a player to reach top speed between bases (unless rounding one base to advance to the next). That being said, I still believe that a 30 yard sprint test, such as home-to-first represents game speed better than the 60 yard sprint. However, the 30 yard sprint test such as first-to-second or second-to-third may not make as much sense because of lead-offs & sliding zones reducing the 30 yard distance between bases.

There's no doubt that speed - offensively & defensively - is an asset. But it's much more than just running fast. Reaction, 1st step quickness, acceleration, deceleration under control and agility (ability to start, stop & change of direction) are pivotal to game speed. And when combined with the athlete's knowledge of different game situations and the ability to "READ" those situations you can overcome any lack of raw speed. So you may not be the fastest guy on the team, but you can train to be the smartest and quickest. And above all, run hard all the time. You may get into a hitting slump, or even a throwing slump but there's never an excuse to be in a running slump.

So when it comes to baseball speed, becoming a student of the game and practicing for various game situations cannot be overlooked. All the while your strength & conditioining program should include, but limited to, 1 leg exercises, resisted & assisted sprints, truck/sled pushes,  jumping rope, variety of jumps/hops.

Out train the game...and run hard.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chewing up innings

Anibal Sanchez threw his 2nd complete game of the season; a 5 hit shutout enabling the Marlins to finish off a 3 game sweep over the SF Giants. It's great to see his intensity get unleashed.

Out Train the Game!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cincy Trip

I just returned from Cincinnati, Ohio visiting client & friend, Cincinnati Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez. Saw the Reds sweep the Cardinals and overtake 1st place in a 3 game series. Ramon had an incredible series-going 6 for 8 that included three HRs (all were 400+ feet), double, and 2 singles; raising his average to .349

The strength and power program we implemented during the off-season combined with his on going in-season training is having tremendous benefits.

Out train the game.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sanchez throwing K's

Anibal sets a career high in strikeouts with 11 Ks (over 7 shutout innings). His off speed stuff was nasty and he hit 95 with his fastball.

Out train the game.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Follow up on Anibal Sanchez

Here's a follow up story, as it appeared on, regarding Anibal's near no hitter.

Faster fastball key to Anibal's dominance
Pitch in 93-95-mph range helps Sanchez one-hit Rockies

MIAMI -- Dexter Fowler ended up foiling Anibal Sanchez's no-hit bid on Friday night with a broken-bat single to lead off the ninth inning.

Initially, Sanchez felt his quest for a second career no-hitter was about to end in the eighth inning.

With two outs in the eighth inning, Jose Lopez slapped a soft liner up the middle, but it was flagged down by Omar Infante just on the grass in center field.

"I thought that was it," Sanchez said on Saturday.

Sanchez ended up with a one-hitter as the Marlins beat the Rockies, 4-1, at Sun Life Stadium.

The lone hit came on Sanchez's 116th pitch, when Fowler singled to right. The broken-bat hit came on a 94-mph fastball.

A major reason why Sanchez flirted with making history is because his fastball was regularly in the 93-95-mph range, the hardest he's thrown in years.

"Yesterday, the ball was coming in heavy," catcher John Buck said of Sanchez's fastball. "It had that extra [zip]. When you're throwing a good slider, throwing a good slider, then all of a sudden you get that good fastball, and it's 95."

Sanchez struck out nine and finished with 123 pitches.

With his fastball working, it made his off-speed pitches more effective.

"I threw hard, and that's why I threw so many fastballs," said Sanchez, who no-hit Arizona in 2006. "I was ahead in the count a lot and I used my fastball. I was throwing my breaking pitches in the right spots and the right situations."

The Marlins have flirted a couple of times with a no-hitter this year. Josh Johnson went 7 1/3 innings without allowing a hit in Atlanta before Freddie Freeman doubled in the eighth.

Buck caught both games, and says he wasn't caught up in the moment.

"Even with JJ, I didn't really become conscious of it -- that there is a no-hitter -- until the sixth or seventh inning, because I'm so engulfed in every at-bat," Buck said. "I'm aware of how well he is throwing, rather than if we have no hits or a shutout going. I'm probably more aware of runs, because that's how you call a game, by how many runs are on the board."


Out Train The Game!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Marlins' Sanchez tosses Gem!

Tonight (April 22, 2011) I was fortunate to be at the game as Anibal turned in an outstanding performance!! Just look at that intensity.

He took a no hitter into the 9th inning before giving up a broken bat, "seeing-eye" single to lead-off hitter Dexter Fowler.

Not only did Anibal toss a 1-hitter, he dropped down a suicide squeeze, made an incredible defensive play, lowered his ERA from 5.51 to 3.55, and set a new career high of 9Ks.

Every inning that went by I reflected about everything that went into our off-season training program; designed for night's like tonight. Designed to take his body well beyond 9 innings worth of work. Every 8000# truck pushes, versa-climber, tire sprints, ropes, functional field work went into his 123 pitch, 9 inning complete game shutout.

Strength, Power and Endurance. Tonight he had it all.

The strength & conditioning that the fans don't see in the offseason they saw tonight! Congrats Anibal!

Out Train The Game!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

431 foot SLAM

In addition to his single and double, Ramon Hernandez blasted a 431 ft upper deck, 5th inning Grand Slam-finishing 3 for 4, BB, and 4 RBI's. The hardest hit to come by, triple, kept him from hitting for the cycle. But what a Great day for him.

Out train the game! Go hard in the yard.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Comes out swinging

Off-season training client and friend, Ramon Hernandez - C Cincinnati Reds, turns in an opening day to remember.

March 31, 2011 Ramon goes 4 for 5: 3 singles and the 3-run opposite field walk-off blast in the bottom of the 9th for the 7 to 6 WIN! over the Brewers.

Click on the link below to view full video of his blast.
Real Clear Sports - Video - Ramon Hernandez's Walk-Off Homer

Go hard in the yard!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Youth Camp

This past Sunday, 2/6/11, Cincinnati Reds C, Ramon Hernandez organized a free clinic to some young ball players. He recruited help from San Francisco GIants SS, Miguel Tejada, and Florida Marlins SP, Anibal Sanchez. In addition Ramon asked me if I would come out to implement the pre-camp warm up and some SAQ drills. I was honored. What alot of fun. Here's a couple of pics.

This past week, I have had the opportunity to work with some ballplayers on various ball fields...and after all these years, I still feel the most alive when Im in between the white lines.

go hard in the yard.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Twelve Iowa football players in hospital

The following article appeared on January 25, 2011. The take away message is MORE IS NOT BETTER. Train Hard! Train Smart!


Twelve Iowa football players are recovering after being taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Monday evening with a kidney condition, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported on its website Tuesday.

The Gazette said the Iowa players have Rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle fibers that releases myoglobin into the bloodstream. This can affect the kidneys and be can be caused by excessive exercise.

This corresponds with a posting on the Facebook page of Iowa linebacker Jim Poggi, who wrote he was hospitalized after his urine turned brown.

The school released a clarification Tuesday night saying the players admitted were all participating in NCAA allowable winter workouts and that the symptoms for which the players were being treated were likely related to those workouts.

The school released a statement earlier Tuesday saying the players had been hospitalized, but were recovering.

"The student-athletes were admitted throughout the course of Monday evening," a University of Iowa staff physician said in a statement. "All of the individuals are responding well to treatment as of Tuesday morning. All are in safe and stable condition."

The school would not confirm the identities of the players or their individual medical conditions, but the staff physician and a football team physician confirmed Tuesday the players were responding well to treatment.

"Coach Kirk Ferentz is out of town recruiting, but he is aware of the situation and is being kept abreast of the progress being made," Gary Barta, Iowa's director of athletics, said in the school-released statement. "Our No. 1 concern is the safety of our student-athletes, so we are pleased with the positive feedback. Our next step is to find out what happened so we can avoid this happening in the future."

The school says it's not clear when the players will be discharged. A school spokesman, Steve Roe, says privacy laws prevent further comment.

Iowa offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde, who recently graduated from the program and was a member of the team's leadership group, defended Iowa's workout practices in an interview with The Associated Press.

"They are nothing if not concerned for the health of the players," Vandervelde said. "That's always the first priority, health and development. I mean workouts are never used to punish. It's always about improvement, and workouts are always well within the capabilities of the athletes asked to perform them."

Tuesday's announcement that a dozen players had been hospitalized was just the latest bad news to hit the program that just wrapped a disappointing 8-5 season.

Senior wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was suspended for the Hawkeyes' Insight Bowl win over Missouri after an arrest on drug charges. Johnson-Koulianos pleaded guilty to marijuana possession while other drug charges against him were dismissed.

Running back Adam Robinson was dismissed from the team after being arrested for possession of marijuana in his hometown of Des Moines while on suspension for violating team rules.

Information from's Adam Rittenberg and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sanchez signs!

For 4 years (2006-2009) Anibal Sanchez spent much of his time on the DL from variety of right shoulder/elbow issues.
The off-season leading into the 2010 season Anibal and I were introduced to each other and thus our 1st off-season strength training program began. It was during this time that Anibal was arbitration eligible and awarded $1.25 million.

Fast forward - 2010 recap: Anibal leads the team in innings pitched (195) and games started (32) while finishing 13-12 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Most importantly, he spent ZERO time on the DL for the first time in his MLB career.

Pretty damn good comeback from 4 previous DL plagued seasons. So good that the Marlins avoided arbitration for 2011 by signing Anibal to a one-year $3.7 million contract. This kind of money was clearly performance based from 2010.

And now, we are 4 weeks out from his 2011 spring training report date of Feb 18th. He is well ahead of schedule and ready to bring it in '11.

Best of luck!

Go hard in the yard.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dynamic Hip Mobility

The following video demonstrates a different approach to hip flexor mobility. As mentioned in previous blogs, if the hip flexors are tight, the glutes become inhibited ( shut off ) causing the hamstring to take on greater and perhaps excessive functional responsibility. When that happens repetitively we can possible be faced with hamstrings pulls.

Go hard n the yard