Tips to peak performance from a Major League strength coach.

By Jené Luciani
March 01, 2012

Just because you can't hit one out of the park like Derek Jeter or throw a fastball like Joba Chamberlain doesn't mean you can't take a lesson from the boys of baseball and train like a pro athlete. We spoke exclusively with professional baseball strength and conditioning coach Dana Cavalea, who recently opened a New York training facility called ML Strength, to find out how "regular" people can apply the same techniques used by today's top athletes to their own workouts.

"The methodology [I use with players] is based on seven elements: evaluate, educate, prevent, train, compete, fuel, and recover," Cavalea says. "We've taken these seven elements and applied them to the general population to give athletes the feeling of competitive achievement with regard to performance enhancement, body awareness, and injury prevention."

Here is the coach's conditioning "cheat sheet" so you can get the most out of your workouts, both on the field and off:

Get Your Heart Pumping


Maximizing cardio is a science. "Train while using a heart rate monitor and working at no less than 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Cavalea says.

To calculate your maximum heart rate, use this online calculator. Cavalea also recommends cycling in intervals that take you up to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Move Your Body


It's not how often you move, it's how you move. "Incorporate skips, hops, jumps, and other lateral movement into your training routine," Cavalea says.

Switch It Up


When it comes to training the largest muscle groups, variety is key. "This should include [doing] variations of squats, deadlifts, and lunges for optimum strengthening," Cavalea says.

Press Pause


Instead of just doing reps at a steady pace, the coach suggests incorporating ‘static holds' into your routine. "For example, hold a pushup or a squat in the bottom position for three to five seconds," he says.

Play Ball!


Balls aren't just for contact sports. "Use implements such as soccer balls, basketballs, and reaction balls with your training so you can maintain and enhance your overall movement, coordination, reaction, and balance," Cavalea says.

Fuel Like an Athlete


Eat like an athlete. "Eat lots of greens to improve your body's alkalinity and vitality of cells and drink a minimum of half your body weight in water per day," Cavalea says. A woman who weighs 140 pounds should aim to drink at least 70oz of H2O per day.

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