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Cavalea talks strength, conditioning and the Yankees

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 30, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Dana Cavalea was all alone behind the front desk. No receptionist. No assistant. Just the Yankees strength and conditioning coordinator waiting to shake hands with anyone who walked through the front door.

Cavalea opened ML Strength in downtown White Plains as a kind of offseason project, a chance to further utilize his big league expertise. The gym itself has a green turf floor dotted with high-end equipment. In the back are a massage table and training room. It’s a small taste of the things Cavalea prioritizes in training athletes, from A-Rod to high schoolers.

Before making a few pre-spring training visits to a handful of Yankees, Cavalea sat behind that front desk and talked about his gym, his athletes and his approach to training big league players.

How much does you work with the Yankees translate into everyday people who come to your gym? Are you doing the same sort of stuff with them?

For me, the training methods that we’re using are consistent. It’s human specific. I’m really focused on movement and helping people understand their bodies and why they have pain, and why they have discomfort, and get them past that without medication.

So I imagine a lot of this is teaching people to workout the right way?

It’s kind of like going back to saying, “Form, form, form.” You heard it back in the day – form first. Well, a lot of that kind of went out the window, and now we’re focusing more on that again. We’ve got to focus on form before we worry about getting strong. If you clean up the body, then we’re able to move in the right direction toward better health and fitness and lifestyle.

Do you have professional athletes come in doing a workout wrong, or at this point do they pretty much know what they’re doing?

You know what, there are a lot of professional guys you see, and their bodies just adapt to some negative movements that they have. And that’s why you see guys with chronic breakdowns and chronic pain. You find out what the root cause of that is, and then you start to work backwards. Sometimes it’s going back to do the same progressions you would do with a 9 year old kid on this pro athlete. It’s working backward to work forward, cleaning up what’s wrong with them neurally in order to move forward.

Part of their body will be moving the wrong way?

Yeah. Sometimes their bodies will adapt. Their shoulders get frozen and they don’t move as well. What we try to do is address all of that, get their shoulder functioning. Kids are great because their whole body works. That’s why they move (so easily), but now with all the video games and sitting down (some of that movement goes away). The same thing transfers over to pro athletes. The whole goal is to keep their bodies moving unrestricted and keep strength in areas that matter most.

What should your players be doing right now? They’re into some baseball specific stuff at this point, aren’t they?

The goal right now is for these guys to be focusing a lot on conditioning, get their conditioning levels up. Focus on anything that might be in the way of their range of motion. Anything we’ve dealt with over the past season, we’ll focus on those limiting factors.

Do you talk to players regularly through the winter about nagging issues?

Yeah. You’d like to hear from guys more in the offseason. Sometimes you play phone tag with them. I always just try to ask them when I try to swing around once a week (making phone calls), “How are you doing? Is everything OK? Are you all good?” (They’ll answer), “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” “OK, great.” That’s pretty much the extent of it, and if anything comes up, we try to take action on it the best we can. Our guys are pretty smart about knowing their bodies, because at the end of the day, their bodies are their career.

Alex Rodriguez had the knee last year. He’s had the hip in the past. Do you do specific things with him that are focused on those areas.

With him the goal is to reestablish range of motion in the right side and make sure the body parts are moving the way they’re supposed to be. If they’re not moving with an adequate range of motion, extra stress is created and puts extra stress and torque on that knee and that hip. Certain musculatures, as a result of surgery, shut down and we want to be click it back on.

Where is he with that?

He’s great, man. Our guys are doing very well.

With Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, as they get older, do you have to do different things with them?

The biggest thing you try to do is adjust how much they’re doing. Limit the amount that they do because you don’t want to wear them down, wear their body parts down. Their bodies are adapted. Strength is there. The power, for the most part (is there). It’s about keeping oil in their joints, making sure that they’re staying ready to go.

We’ve heard quite a bit about Phil Hughes’ offseason training. What is it exactly he’s been doing this winter?

Phil’s been great. He’s a big kid, but he’s working really hard. He’s trying to come back and let people know that he’s put the time and the effort in to make some changes for himself. (His training this winter) is very similar to what I do, kind of a whole body training program where we’re focused on measuring him out, finding out what his restrictions are, and then attacking those restrictions through programs. It’s strength. It’s conditioning. It’s nutrition. It’s injury pre-hab, what we call injury prevention. All of those things.

Do you start working with a guy like Joba Chamberlain coming back from Tommy John surgery, or is that more medical at this point?

(Head trainer) Steve Donohue will probably start working with him, but at the end of the day it’s a team-based approach.

With a guy like CC Sabathia… We’ve both seen a lot of big pitchers, guys who carry a lot of weight but can really throw. When CC puts weight on during the season, does that affect his strength at all?

I don’t really think so. He’s a big guy. His structure holds a lot of weight. Obviously, for his own health, you’d like to see him get a little bit leaner, but he’s one of our hardest working guys. He works hard. He takes pride in his work. It’s not that there’s a lack of conditioning. He wants to be in on every drill. He’s committed to making himself better. Sometimes you are what you are. He’s a big guy, and he’s always going to be a big guy.

Speaking of players who are what they are, Dave Robertson is the opposite of CC. He’s not a very big guy, but we see a big fastball out of him. Where do you see that sort of strength in him?

He’s very strong, and his body’s like a big rubber band. He creates a lot of torque and can really slingshot that ball.

Which Yankee is in the best shape right now?

Man, I haven’t seen them, so I can’t really say. Russell Martin is in pretty good shape. He works really hard, but we have a special group. They all work hard. There’s nobody really that doesn’t work.

Anybody’s who’s raw strength stands out to you?

Sergio Mitre was one of those guys.

Really?

He’s strong. Big time. Very big. He’s a horse, just strong.

I expected you to say Mark Teixeira or someone like that.

Tex is strong also, very strong. We’re talking about a very small part of the population, so their strength and their power and their bodies are different from everybody else. That’s why they are where they are.

I assume Brett Gardner is the fastest guy you have. Is there anybody who’s close to that?

(Eduardo) Nunez is up there too. He can fly also.

Other than Sergio, is there someone who would surprise people off the street when he’s in the weight room?

Jeter. Very strong. He’s a strong guy, that’s how he generates his power. It’s pretty cool to work with these guys and see what they bring every day. They’re a special group and they work every hard. I can only tip my cap, because asking them to be consistent for nine months is a feat within itself. They all do a really good job. I think Joe Girardi set the tone, and (Brian) Cashman demanding that out of them. I’m a soldier. I just follow orders.

Photos from ML Strength

 
 

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58 Responses to “Cavalea talks strength, conditioning and the Yankees”

  1. Chip January 30th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I swear it – if Sergio Mitre is somehow on this team Chad needs to find out what pictures of Girardi and/or Cashman he’s got laying around.

  2. Giuseppe Franco January 30th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Repost

    Tom in N.J. January 30th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Is is me or does it seem like the Jays have been ‘heading in the right direction’ for, like, the last 10 years or so?

    ———–

    Exactly.

    We’ve been hearing these so-called warnings about the up and coming Blue Jays for the last 5 years and they’ve yet to finish higher than 4th place during that span.

    And I don’t expect this upcoming season to be any different because there are clearly 3 teams in this division that are still better than the Jays.

  3. Patrick January 30th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    “Phil’s been great. He’s a big kid”

    Ouch.

    Nice interview though Chad, it’s a unique view from the type of person we rarely hear from in sports.

  4. Giuseppe Franco January 30th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    blake January 30th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Bucholtz plans to sit 2012 out.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com

    ————

    Not to make light of his situation but I’d be pretty depressed if I signed with the Mets, too.

    That said, here’s hoping he overcomes his issues.

  5. blake January 30th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Pat?M,

    What’s the word on the street?

  6. Rich in NJ January 30th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    As someone who has worked with strength coaches for a long time, it’s great to see one getting some much deserved recognition. If you are motivated, they can make a difference.

  7. Erin January 30th, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Mitre? :lol:

  8. exiledintampa January 30th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Martinez needs a second surgery. Is he done for part of 2013 as well? Detroit got Fielder at the right time. but how much more does he add to the line-up replacing Martinez? would have been considerable had Martinez been there as well.

  9. stuckey January 30th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    “Anybody’s who’s raw strength stands out to you?”

    “Sergio Mitre was one of those guys.”

    WAS.

  10. stuckey January 30th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Okay, so here’s a name for a camp invite.

    Dimtri Young. 38. Out of baseball for 3 years. But could always hit, including his last season in the majors.

    Apparently ate his way outta baseball. Has dropped 75 pounds and is in “BSOHL” (really) and attempting a comeback.

    I know anything over 33 scares the living daylights outta some of you, but could be a lefty DH option.

  11. Jerkface January 30th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Da Meat Hook,

    I’d throw him a spring invite/mL deal.

  12. stuckey January 30th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    This is DY today…

    http://a.espncdn.com/photo/201.....gd_200.jpg

    I was incorrect earlier. Apparently his retirement was due over a diabetes diagnosis and personal problems.

  13. juniper james January 30th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    It should be remembered that the Yankees have been quite healthy the last couple years with an aging team, when the Mets and Red Sox and countless other teams have had nightmare DL lists as of late, so kudos to Mr. Cavalea. We only tend to notice these people when things are going badly and we need a scapegoat.

  14. Yankee Trader January 30th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Stuckey-

    Dimitri Young switch-hitter, lifetime .826 OPS

    Check out this picture and espn video.

    Worth a shot?

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/hotstov.....g-comeback

  15. Yankee Trader January 30th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Looks like you already posted the picture and were at the site.

  16. blake January 30th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Almost anybody is worth a ST invite to take a look…..

  17. Pat M. January 30th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    blake…..A few days ago I mentioned that AJ Burnett and the Senators / Nationals was something that was being spoken about …The dollars that the Brother Steinbrenner’s would have to eat is a major hang-up…Washington are open to having him though….I first heard this at The Laker / Clippers game a few weeks ago, then heard about it at The Doc’s office Friday…….Hughes is going to camp with improved core strength and range of motion from his workouts in Carson…..He’s going to blow people away, and he’ll regain that pop on his heater……..

  18. Pat M. January 30th, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Young could find himself in SF with Nick

  19. Rich in NJ January 30th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    If there is genuine mutual interest between Damon the Yankees, there should be a way to make it happen.

  20. Nick in SF January 30th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I was filled with hope and anticipation before today’s trip to my post office box.

    WAS.

  21. blake January 30th, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Pat M,

    Interesting…..wonder how much they are wanting the Yanks to eat?

    Rich,

    I like Damon the best out of that group of FA DHs….I think he’s got the most left in the tank and would provide the most intangibles

  22. stuckey January 30th, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Nick, I gotta ask, why do you go to your post office so much?

    Does SF not have home mail delivery?

  23. GreenBeret7 January 30th, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Pat M. January 30th, 2012 at 5:39 pm
    blake…..A few days ago I mentioned that AJ Burnett and the Senators / Nationals was something that was being spoken about …The dollars that the Brother Steinbrenner’s would have to eat is a major hang-up…Washington are open to having him though….I first heard this at The Laker / Clippers game a few weeks ago, then heard about it at The Doc’s office Friday…….Hughes is going to camp with improved core strength and range of motion from his workouts in Carson…..He’s going to blow people away, and he’ll regain that pop on his heater……..

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    Pat, afternoon.

    I have no idea what sort of body make-over he’s under going, but, you said the heat should return, but, will it be sustained heat and more snap on his curve?

  24. Rich in NJ January 30th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    blake

    Plus, he makes contact which could help in the postseason. They have at least two guys who swing from the heels far too often in that situation, or at least they did in the ALDS.

  25. Yankee Trader January 30th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Braves ate 66% Lowe’s contract, making him worth 5M to the Indians
    Cubs ate 83% of Zambrano’s making him worth 3M to the Marlins

    Nationals probably want the Yankees to at least be somewhere in between at around 75% or 25M of the 33M remaining, making him 4M for last two years to the Nats.

    Damon has 2723 hits. In a limited roll with the Yankees it might take him 3 years to reach 3000. He already has the WS rings and probably wants full time at bats.

  26. Yankee Trader January 30th, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    4M/year

  27. Pat M. January 30th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    GB…..I wish he had the hook he had a few years ago…As for cheese, I have to think he’ll have it and should be able to maintain strength deeper into the games….You & I know he actually got better as the season went along after his return from the DL……The few clunkers he had is what sort of distorts his numbers……..Blake, I have to think The Yanks would have to eat at least half of AJ’s remaining contract…….Just a guess of course, but it does appear that they want to move him and only a few clubs seem interested…..At this point they just might….

  28. Nick in SF January 30th, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    “Nick, I gotta ask, why do you go to your post office so much?”

    When did I indicate the frequency with which I visit my post office?

    “Does SF not have home mail delivery?”

    I know this is a rhetorical question, but to what end? San Francisco, like every other city of which I am aware, does have home mail delivery yet also has available post office boxes, so my reasons for using one must be unrelated to whether I can also have mail delivered to my home.

    I won’t quibble with “I gotta ask” since I don’t know if or why you might have felt you had to ask.

    But overall, sloppy!

  29. Yankee Trader January 30th, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    ..At this point they just might….
    ———————–

    a. Release him
    b. Tell him he’s going to the bullpen
    c. Buy him a one way ticket to Scranton
    d. Sell him to a Japanese team

  30. GreenBeret7 January 30th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    This is the promotion schedule for Trenton home games, including Bobblehead Days for Jesus Montero, Austin Romine and Francisco Cervelli on consecutive days, 21-23 May

    http://www.milb.com/promotions/index.jsp?sid=t567

  31. stuckey January 30th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    “When did I indicate the frequency with which I visit my post office?”

    You’ve mentioned your post office to me not less than 4 times, which is about 2 more times than I’ve been to a post office in my lifetime.

    Perhaps its just personal bias, but it struck me as a lot.

    “I know this is a rhetorical question, but to what end?”

    Rhetoric.

    “so my reasons for using one must be unrelated to whether I can also have mail delivered to my home.”

    I won’t even inquire as to your “reasons”.

    “I won’t quibble with “I gotta ask” since I don’t know if or why you might have felt you had to ask.”

    And don’t think I don’t appreciate it.

  32. Rich in NJ January 30th, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    “Damon has 2723 hits. In a limited roll with the Yankees it might take him 3 years to reach 3000. He already has the WS rings and probably wants full time at bats.”

    He can get 400 AB v. RHP. At his age, that may enable him to flourish.

  33. GreenBeret7 January 30th, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Pat M. January 30th, 2012 at 5:57 pm
    GB…..I wish he had the hook he had a few years ago…As for cheese, I have to think he’ll have it and should be able to maintain strength deeper into the games….You & I know he actually got better as the season went along after his return from the DL……The few clunkers he had is what sort of distorts his numbers……..Blake, I have to think The Yanks would have to eat at least half of AJ’s remaining contract…….Just a guess of course, but it does appear that they want to move him and only a few clubs seem interested…..At this point they just might….

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    Pat,

    He should have started the season on the DL. He wasn’t right coming out of ST. Those last 11 starts after he came off of the DL in July were good. Like the rest of the rotation, he was bad against Boston, but, hard to figure what happened with Oakland. He’s always been good against them. 8 of those 11 starts were 2 runs or less. Getting a little deeper into the games will be a big boost for the team and the bullpen. I would think that added strength has to help on the breaking pitches.

  34. Yankee Trader January 30th, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Rich-

    I’d like the Yankees to sign Damon, but with A-Rod, Tex and Jeter, and rarely Cano getting some DH days, even if he’s not platooning at DH, can he get that many AB’s? Posada got 344 ABs with 81 hits.

  35. Oscar Madison January 30th, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Pat M. were you an INF. when you played ?

  36. Giuseppe Franco January 30th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Nick’s home mailbox isn’t big enough for the number of $25 money orders he’s owed from Lohudders.

  37. Yankee Trader January 30th, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I have to go soon, but when’s the last time that the Yankees had a starting rotation that averaged 28 years old, if CC, Pineda, Nova, Kuroda and Hughes are it?

    Until later.

  38. Oscar Madison January 30th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I would think that most would visit their P.O. Boxes frequently when money is expected, no ?

  39. Giuseppe Franco January 30th, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Obviously, the money factor with Burnett is very significant and not easy to digest, but it would be a major net plus keeping Burnett from making 35 starts in a Yankee uniform and giving them to Hughes or Garcia (whomever loses the 5th starter battle).

  40. Rich in NJ January 30th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Trader

    As CB has pointed out, A-Rod’s leg problems may be made worse to the torque resulting from swinging the bat rather than playing 3B. Jeter doesn’t hit RHP enough to DH. They are at an age when rest is necessary. At this point, Tex struggles v. RHP. So there’s lots of AB v. RHP. For example, Gardner had 464 PA.

    If Gardner or Swish struggle again, they can sit more and Damon can get AB that way as well.

  41. Oscar Madison January 30th, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Trader:

    And to think that Kuroda drastically drags that average down to 28 ?

  42. Nick in SF January 30th, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    “You’ve mentioned your post office to me not less than 4 times, which is about 2 more times than I’ve been to a post office in my lifetime.”

    I can’t trust your memory after the money order incident. Maybe you’ve only been a post office twice in your life or maybe not. Or maybe that’s just more rhetoric for the sake of rhetoric, which might also be the purpose of putting scare quotes around the work “reasons”.

    It’s all a mystery.

  43. Pat M. January 30th, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Oscar…..Shortstop who was moved over to second because of my side arm tendencies…..Also played some outfield…A long time ago, 40 years ago spring training

  44. Oscar Madison January 30th, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks. You seem to have some insight into the middle infield positions is why I asked.

  45. ron January 30th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Hughes can be the strongest guy on the planet,but if he does not develope an offspeed pitch or two,it will severely limit how good he can be.

    Even when his fastball was at it’s best,and his curve was working,he was still only so good,and tired down the stretch.
    He himself talked about this.

  46. Bronx Jeers January 30th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Zodiac spent a lot of time dealing with mail….

  47. stuckey January 30th, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    “Nick’s home mailbox isn’t big enough for the number of $25 money orders he’s owed from Lohudders.”

    Ah, I assumed it was for the plain brown wrapper stuff.

  48. Irreverent Discourse January 30th, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    The Yankees “serious talks” with Bill Hall…

    “We will pay you $500k to go sign with the RedSox again”.

    A man can dream can’t he?

  49. Nick in SF January 30th, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I haven’t visited a post office in Vallejo for quite some time.

  50. stuckey January 30th, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    “It’s all a mystery.”

    Life’s a beautiful mystery.

  51. Tom in N.J. January 30th, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    “Zodiac spent a lot of time dealing with mail….”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBQn6T8mx_w

  52. Nick in SF January 30th, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    “Ah, I assumed it was for the plain brown wrapper stuff.”

    stuckey, you have lowered the discourse here. Why did you do that?

  53. Oscar Madison January 30th, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Pay the effin bill and the PO Box crap disappears. :-)

  54. exiledintampa January 30th, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I hear the Yankees signed Manny Delcarmen to a minor league contract. Why the sudden interest in ex Red Sox?

  55. GreenBeret7 January 30th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Delcarmen is nothing more than AAA filler.

  56. DocTodd January 30th, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Manny Del Carmen Miranda

  57. ron January 30th, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Yankees getting even for melancon.

  58. MTU January 30th, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    New thread —>


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