Evan Longoria, the three-time All-Star third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays, is getting ready for his eighth big-league season at the EXOS facility in Phoenix. Longoria, 29, recently committed to being a team captain for SKLZ, working with the company on a number of initiatives. As a captain, Longoria is involved in providing ideas and feedback for the baseball product line as well being a critical part of the SKLZ baseball-specific programs powered by EXOS.
Here’s what one of Longoria’s days at EXOS looked like as he prepared to report to the Rays’ spring training camp in Port Charlotte, Florida.
9:30 a.m. – Arrives at EXOS in Phoenix, which is a buzz of activity in February between the major leaguers and a number of NFL hopefuls who are preparing for the NFL scouting combine and their pro day workouts leading up to the NFL draft. Longoria places his daily food order, selections that are tailored to his body composition goals, prescribed by the EXOS nutrition team. Our culinary staff prepares his lunch that will follow the morning training session as well as dinner he can take home later.
9:45 a.m. – As Longoria walks into the training area he grabs his pre-workout supplements to optimize his upcoming session.
10:00 a.m. – John Stemmerman, a performance manager at EXOS, leads the MLB training group. Each session starts with movements to activate and stabilize the hips, torso, and shoulders. The shoulder work is especially important for baseball players given the demands of throwing a ball and swinging a bat countless times over the course of a season.
10:15 a.m. – Longoria moves with his training teammates out to the turf area to begin Movement Preparation to prime his body for the session. Evan admits:
“The warm-up is the hardest part of the EXOS training.”
Every routine emphasizes hip and glute activation. The hips and glutes are critical areas, not just for the rigors of today’s training but also for what Longoria hopes is a lengthy season. The Rays have reached the playoffs four times in Longoria’s seven-year career after never advancing before his arrival in 2008.
10:30 a.m. – This marks the start of plyometrics and Medicine Ball work. These two training components combine strength and speed. Though Longoria doesn’t steal many bases, he‘s regarded as a savvy base runner with cat-like reflexes at third base, where he’s won two Gold Glove awards. A baseball player who can combine speed and strength will show better range defensively, make more putouts, take extra bases, and produce a higher slugging percentage. Most of our baseball players use the SKLZ 6X Hurdles and SKLZ Medicine Ball during this session.
10:45 a.m. – By now the group will have shifted into training movement skills. This portion of the morning focuses on becoming more efficient with lateral movement and first-step quickness, two areas that manifest themselves on the field, whether it’s getting a jump on the ball defensively or moving quickly out of the batter’s box. Cutting and crossover mechanics translate into more stolen bases, efficient base running, and, especially in Longoria’s case, making a backhanded play down the third base line.
11:00 a.m. – The group moves into the weight room to build total-body strength. Depending on the day, the emphasis will be on lower body or upper body. Not only is the focus on pushing weight around but also maintaining flexibility and stability in their hips, torso, and shoulders.
Depending on the phase of training, the emphasis will be on shifting from being on two feet (as in a front squat) and then progressing to a split squat with the rear foot elevated. To maintain a healthy balance of strength in the upper body, we use a variety of pushing (pushups) and pulling movements (bent over row). We also include rotational movements such as a chop, where we can measure power output. This movement usually will inspire a little friendly competition among the baseball players to see who is producing the most power.
As the weight room work wraps up, the athletes move into the final component of the training session, which is conditioning or what EXOS calls Energy System Development. This portion is important for a player because of the need to produce the same amount of power in the ninth inning as they do in the first inning. The conditioning is accomplished in a variety of ways to keep the hard work fun. We might use bodyweight exercises, sled pushes, or a farmer’s carry with kettle bells.
When the work is complete, Longoria grabs his preferred chocolate post-workout shake and any other supplements the EXOS dietitians have prescribed to maximize his recovery. Depending on the day, he might eat his lunch in the lounge and then head out to the batting cages at our facility for some reps off the tee.
When asked about his motivation, Evan stated:
“Someone is always working to take your job and working to be better than you. I have that drive to get me to wake up at 6AM and get the protein shake in the blender and get to the field.”
Since its inception, EXOS has served as the winter training home for some of Major League Baseball’s top players, including World Series champions, MVPs, and Gold Glove Award winners. They report to one of our locations in Arizona, California, Florida, or Texas to work with an integrated EXOS team of performance specialists, dietitians, and physical therapists to prepare for the rigors of spring training and the 162-game regular season. Learn more about EXOS.
Cody Carter Cody has spent the last 10 years coaching athletes at the youth, high school, competitive, collegiate and professional levels. During that time he has learned from and developed close relationships with some of the best performance specialists in the world. Growing up, he played football, basketball and ran track. He didn't specialize in one sport until college, where he chose to run track as a sprinter and high hurdler for Iowa State University. He has spent his entire performance coaching career in Southern California where he is now a Manager for the EXOS Performance Innovation Team. Now based at SKLZ Headquarters, directly above the EXOS San Diego facility, Cody is able to jump in for the occasional hands-on athlete training session. View all posts by Cody Carter