Tony Watson, 28, relief pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates
Lefty reliever Tony Watson posted his best-ever season in 2013 as the team made the playoffs for the first time since the early 1990s. He struck out 54 batters, a career high, while holding opponents to a .198 batting average over 71 innings. “I try to push [my workouts] as hard as I can,” says Watson. “With cardio, it’s interval-type things. We’ll do 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for four minutes. Relievers need to work in short bursts.”
At 7:30 a.m. in the midst of Spring Training, it’s hard for Watson to remember exact workouts from his big lifting days back in December, “but I did heavy legs Mondays and Thursdays, a heavy push on Mondays and a heavy pull on Thursdays, then the upper, same type of thing – push on Tuesdays, pull on Fridays, with Wednesday as a recovery day.”
He gets six or seven lifts done in an hour, and leg presses will include “six or seven plates on each side,” so it’s probably around 500 pounds when he goes big. Lunges come next, and Watson can’t remember holding dumbbells lighter than 45 pounds in each hand. He’ll follow through during the week with deadlifts, hamstring curls, reverse lunges, squats and TRX cables.
No workout is complete, however, without a hard cardio push. Watson uses a Wattbike so he and his trainer near Sarasota, Fla. can track his progress workout-by-workout. “Right around the holidays when my eating starts going south and I still get through my workouts, that’s when I know I’ve been doing something right. In January when you start throwing, and the volume increases, you can tell you’ve got your legs under you,” says Watson. “I try to push it as hard as I can because I know that there will be a time in June, July, or August when you won’t have the fresh legs.”Back to top