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Cubs Star Anthony Rizzo Talks the One Exercise That Helped Build His All-Star Swing

Chicago Cubs star Anthony Rizzo on how to stay at the top of your game over a long MLB season.

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Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs
Rob Tringali / Stringer / Getty
Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs
Rob Tringali / Stringer / Getty

Anthony Rizzo isn’t even 30 yet, but the Chicago Cubs first baseman is already flexing the same level of accomplishments as a veteran entering the end of their career. The 29-year-old is a three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner, a Silver Slugger winner, and has one World Series championship to his name. The secret to Rizzo’s success? Training for durability—he has played in at least 153 games in each of the Cubs’ past four seasons.

Stretching and Listening to His Body

The rigors of a 162-game season break down many baseball players. Entering his ninth season, Anthony says his value on stretching has only appreciated over time. “I think it’s just knowing my body more and the importance of stretching now as opposed to a few years ago,” Rizzo says. “It’s all about prevention. You want to play, you want to be healthy and you don’t want to be injured. You want to be on the field playing, so you can produce.”

Part of his process during the season is knowing when to push himself to the limit in the gym and knowing when to listen to the signs of fatigue and take it easy. “On days when we hit the gym and we’re not feeling it, we’ll take a lighter workout,” says Rizzo, who’s also an athlete investor in BodyArmor sports drinks. “On some days, we’ll go and just do cardio. On some days, we’ll not go at all, just get more rest. It all depends on the schedule and what’s going on, but you have to be in tune with your body. There’s days where you can get good workouts in, there’s days you can’t. To play a long time in baseball, you’ve got to really make sure you’re taking care of yourself and doing it the right way.”

Cubs star Anthony Rizzo exercising with a medicine ball.
Bodyarmor

Credit: Bodyarmor

Cable Chops Help Simulate His Swing

There’s no better substitute for swinging a bat than getting in the cage or better yet, stepping up to the plate and taking live pitches with movement. But Rizzo has relied on one gym exercise to help simulate his swing on the field throughout his Major League Baseball career: the cable chop.

“That’s really the closest you could get to emulating the swing in that exact moment,” Anthony says about the exercise. “The core movement that you get out of it is similar to when you swing normally. It’s pretty accurate and spot on, because you’re using the same muscles as you would when you swing.” Cable chops have helped Anthony hit for contact and power—the slugger has recorded at least 156 hits, 25 home runs and 101 RBI in each of his past four seasons.

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Anthony Rizzo’s All-Star In-Season Workout

Rizzo varies his weights throughout the year.

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 3

Dumbbell Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
30 sec.
Exercise 2 of 3

Dumbbell Lunge

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
30 sec.
Exercise 3 of 3

Cable Woodchop

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
30 sec.
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