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Justin Verlander compiled one hell of a résumé after more than a decade pitching for the Detroit Tigers. Two no-hitters. Six All-Star Game appearances. A Cy Young Award. Even an AL MVP honor. And the 6’5″, 225-pound ace didn’t waste any time adding “World Series Champion” to his CV, after being picked up by the Houston Astros in 2017. Not bad for a guy who turned 35 last February.
So how does Verlander keep getting better with age?
“When I was younger, I focused a lot on brute strength. Now I’m focused more on mobility, and a big part of my off-season workouts is balancing those two,” he says. “I don’t want to risk getting injured.”
In the off-season, Verlander trains five days a week, with a focus on functional strength.
“I do a lot of hex-bar deadlifts and mobility work, interval training, and explosive moves like med ball throws,” he says. He also trains his legs and core hard—a key for throwing heat.
“People have said, ‘You’re not that big in your upper body—how do you throw a baseball so hard?’” he says. “Legs and core are where you harness power. The arm is the end of the whip.”
With enough deadlifts and leg days, who knows—Verlander might power the Astros to another World Series.