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Rebuilding A-Rod

Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Superfeature Articles, Training Articles, Featured Content | Apr 10, 2009

A Rod As Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery, ProSource offers an expert training routine he could use to get himself back on the field and playing better than ever.

Love him or hate him, you have to admit: New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has had an extremely challenging (and from the outside looking in, fascinating) year.

Rumors of an affair with Madonna, a very public divorce, a Bronx swoon that left the Yanks out of the playoffs last fall for the first time in 14 years—not to mention a steroid scandal that led to an embarrassing admittance the three-time league MVP and 12-time All-Star had used performance-enhancing drugs—kept A-Rod in the tabloid headlines and the target of relentless sports media outlets all spring. (He's gotten so much press, a jealous Octomom's probably contemplating juicing to get in on the action.)

And just when the .306 lifetime hitter was about to get back into the swing of every-day baseball at the start of this season, word came in early March that Rodriguez would instead be sidelined, undergoing surgery to repair a damaged hip.

In technical terms, Rodriguez suffered from femoracetabular impingement, or FAI — a structural abnormality that impedes the natural rotation of the hip joint. This chronic condition degenerated to a point where surgical intervention was needed. Now, about a month after his procedure, A-Rod is hard at work on the comeback trail, with reports swirling that he could be back in the lineup in mid-May.

While we realize the 6'3", 228-pound über athlete has his own rehabilitation team—or more likely, a rehab army—we wanted to offer our recommendations for a weight-training regimen. The good news is, while this is partially geared toward Rodriguez's needs as a high-performing ballplayer, this regimen could potentially help anyone attempting to recover from hip issues (provided a doctor has signed off on weight training).

Our expert? None other than Hollywood-based celebrity trainer Jimmy Peña, MS, CSCS, who also serves as the fitness correspondent on the syndicated show Extra. Peña has devised a four-week program built on four pillars. "A key to returning successfully from this type of injury is to take it step by step," he says. "You should actually approach it like you are starting training from scratch, relying on the basics. You want to concentrate on improving your core strength, make sure you're maintaining balance as far as working each side of your body in equal measure, choose exercises that enhance your power generation, and include a major flexibility component."

Peña encourages the 33-year-old to "resist the urge to get back too quickly and risk a setback," although clearly the pressure will be on from New York faithful (and team officials) to reinsert him into the lineup as fast as humanly possible. After all, when you're the $275-million-dollar man, the pressure never relents.


Peña's plan is progressive in nature, in that it starts off slowly and builds in intensity over the four weeks, introducing ever-more specific and explosive movements. It's designed to help both throwing power and bat speed, two key attributes that a hip injury can impinge upon.

During all workouts, rest periods should be kept to a minimum between sets, according to Peña. "You want to keep moving," he says. "Rest only as long as it takes to move to the next exercise or get situated for the next set — 30 seconds at most."

In addition to these lower-body and flexibility-focused workouts as well his baseball-specific drills, Rodriguez should also be performing an upper-body maintenance-focused training regimen, hitting his upper body 1-2 times per week in the first two weeks, 2-4 times per week in the final two.


This light core-focused workout should be performed on six days, with one day of rest. (Note: Descriptions for all exercises appear at the end of this article.)
Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Swimmers 3 20-30 seconds
Bird Dogs 3 20 each side
Cable Woodchop 3 15-20 (top to bottom from both directions)
Standing Cable Twist 3 15-20 (horizontal pull from both directions)
Plank 3 Hold to failure
Side Plank 3 Hold to failure (each side)


This workout, which again hits the core and introduces a 20-minute flexibility sequence, should be performed five times, with two days of rest.
Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Swimmers 4 20-30 seconds
Bird Dogs 4 20 each side
Cable Woodchop 4 15-20
Standing Cable Twist 3 15-20
Plank 4 Hold to failure
Side Plank 4 Hold to failure (each side)
Flexibility Sequence: Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds, proceeding through them in a circuit fashion. Continue until 20 minutes has passed.

Quad Stretch: Standing or seated, grab one foot and pull it back behind you until you feel a good stretch in your quad. Gently hold that position for a few seconds, then switch legs.

Hip Flexor Stretch: Take long step forward as if performing a lunge and lower the rear knee to the floor. From there, straighten your back hip by leaning forward onto your front leg while keeping your back knee in contact with the floor.

Groin Stretch: Sit on the floor and bend your knees, bringing the soles of your shoes together in front of you. Holding your ankles with your hands, use your forearms and elbows to gently press your knees toward the floor.

Hamstring Stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs spread and straight. Lean over one leg, reaching for your foot with both hands. (You can also keep one leg bent, with the sole of your shoe flush against the inner quad of your straight leg.)

Low-Back Stretch: Lie face-up on the floor and bend your knees. Wrap your arms around your legs and pull your knees into your chest, allowing your hips to slightly rise off the floor. Release, allowing your hips to lower to the floor, and repeat.


This workout covers the core, flexibility and adds an element of unilateral strength building. It should be completed four times over the course of a week, such as Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Single-Leg Squat 4 10-15 each leg
Single Leg Extension 4 15-20 each leg
Single Leg Curl 4 15-20 each leg
Speed Skaters 4 15-20 each side
Swimmers 4 20-30 seconds
Bird Dogs 4 20 each side
Cable Woodchop 4 15-20
Standing Cable Twist 3 15-20
Plank 4 Hold to failure
Side Plank 4 Hold to failure (each side)
To complete the training session, repeat the 20-minute Flexibility Sequence from week 2.


This week's workouts include the elements of the previous week (core, flexibility and unilateral strength) and tacks on a power component. You'll dial back to three days per week, since the intensity is higher—be sure to take at least one day of rest in between each session.
Exercise Sets Reps/Time
Supported Jump Squat 4 To failure
Supported Split Jump Squat 4 To failure
Cable Speed Skater Side-to-Sides 4 15 to each side
Single-Leg Squat 4 10-15 each leg
Single Leg Extension 4 15-20 each leg
Single Leg Curl 4 15-20 each leg
Speed Skaters 4 15-20 each side
Swimmers 4 20-30 seconds
Bird Dogs 4 20 each side
Cable Woodchop 4 15-20
Standing Cable Twist 3 15-20
Plank 4 Hold to failure
Side Plank 4 Hold to failure (each side)
To complete the training session, repeat the 20-minute Flexibility Sequence listed in week 2.


The following movements are listed in order that they appear in the workouts.

Swimmers: Lie prone on the floor, and perform a modified Australian crawl-type motion, lifting your left arm and right leg simultaneously, then your right arm and left leg. Switch back and forth for the prescribed time.

Bird Dogs: Kneel on your hands and knees, with your back straight and abs tight. Simultaneously lift one arm up and the opposite side leg up and straight off the floor, as if you're pointing ahead of you and behind you at the same time with each limb. Hold briefly, then repeat with the other arm and leg.

Cable Woodchop: Grasp a D-handle attached to an upper cable pulley station with both hands, and pull it across your body, slowly twisting your torso as you do so, until your hands are at about hip level.

Standing Cable Twist: Adjust the cable so that the line of pull is about chest height. Grasp the handle with both hands, spread your legs and bend your knees slightly. Pull the handle across your body using your core muscles, then return to the start and repeat. After completing all reps for one side, switch sides and repeat in the other direction.

Plank: Get into a modified push-up position, balancing yourself on your forearms. Keep your body straight, hips up off the floor (like a plank) until you can't hold the position any longer. That's one set.

Side Plank: These are like the standard plank, except you balance on one arm at a time, your entire body facing to the side instead of down to the floor.

Single-Leg Squat: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and place one foot behind you on a flat bench. With your eyes focused forward and core tight, perform a squat movement for reps, driving solely through your planted leg.

Single Leg Extension: Perform exactly as you would a standard extension, except using only one leg at a time.

Single Leg Curl: You can choose the seated or lying version. Do it just like you would a standard curl, except one leg at a time.

Speed Skaters: Get down into a crouched position, feet placed wide. From there, drive through one foot to "jump" laterally. When your other foot touches down, shift your body across and over it, then recoil, returning to the starting position. Continue back and forth in a dynamic fashion.

Supported Jump Squat: Hold a stationary object (such as a power rack) with one hand. Drop your hips down into a full squat position, then explode up, leaping as high as you can. Land softly and immediately drop down into a squat for the next rep, continuing until failure.

Supported Split Jump Squat: These are just like the jump squat, except you'll want to get into a lunging position for your jumps (one foot forward, one foot back).

Cable Speed Skater Side-to-Sides: Hold a D-handle attached to a lower pulley with both hands, and perform the speed skater side-to-side motion. Complete all reps for one side, then switch so you're pulling the D-handle from the opposite side.


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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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