Strength Training

Are bands & chains a “necessity” to our program?

Q: Mr. DeFranco, I am a high school shortstop and was wondering wat u think the best program for a baseball player is?? I know you guys are the best and i wanted to try your program but they dont have bands or chains at my schools gym so I was wondering wat workout you suggest I do instead of yours. Thank you coach my dream is to come to nj and train with you and your staff next summer!!

PS – I hope brian cushing gets drafted by the texans my uncle has season tickets!!

Bo from houston


A: Bo,

You seem like a great kid; I know you’re not trying to piss me off, but I gotta tell you that your question drives me nuts! You see, my biggest pet peeve is when athletes or coaches think that our program revolves around “bands and chains”! Nothing can be further from the truth!

Do I think that bands and chains are a valuable tool that can be used to help accelerate gains or break through sticking points in the weightroom? “ABSOLUTELY”! But, do I think you need them to have a successful program? “Absolutely NOT”!



Great tool, but not a necessity


Considering you’re from Texas and you play baseball; I’m going to assume that you know who Mark DeRosa is. (Mark used to play for the Rangers before going to the Cubs. He is currently with the Indians and he’s off to another great start this season!)


Two years ago, Mark hired me to design his entire off-season training program. The “catch” was that Mark couldn’t come to NJ and train at my facility. He needed me to design a program for him to do at a “regular” gym. The gym he trains at when he’s home only has the bare essentials and nothing else. Well guess what? Mark told me that it was the best off-season of training that he ever had. After having the best season of his career, he hired me again this off-season before joining Team USA and now the Cleveland Indians. You will be happy to know that Mark has never strapped a band or chain on a barbell in his life.



Mark celebrates with Team USA teammate, Derek Jeter


Although I don’t have the time to design you a complete program; I’m going to help you out by posting one of Mark DeRosa’s training weeks this off-season. For obvious reasons, I won’t post his entire off-season plan. But, Mark is cool with me sharing one sample week of his strength workouts. (The below sample shows his weight training workouts only. The specific warm-ups before each session, as well as his speed & conditioning workouts, are not shown.)

Hopefully this helps prove to you that you can perform “our style” of training without bands, chains, or any other “specialized” equipment.  


MONDAY – Dynamic Lower Body

  1. DB squat jumps – 6 sets of 5 jumps, holding 15lb. DB’s
  2. BB Reverse lunges w/ knee lift, front foot elevated – 3×10
  3. DB swings (holding a DB in ea hand) – 4×15
  4. Ab bridging series, feet elevated on bench – 2 “rounds”


TUESDAY – Max-Effort Upper

  1. Blackburns – 4 positions, 15 sec. ea position, 2 sets
  2. Close grip bench (index fingers on smooth) – Work up to 3RM

3A. Lat Pulldowns – 3×12-15

3B. Off-set, alternate med ball push-ups – 3×15 – 20


4A. Iso-hold DB shrugs – 3×8

4B. Incline, rear delt flyes (thumbs up) – 3×12


5. Zottman curls – 3×10


6. Hanging leg raises – 4×15




THURSDAY – Max-Effort Lower

  1. Barbell Squat – 5×5, increasing weight
  2. BB lateral lunge – 3×12 ea leg
  3. Eccentric, “natural” glute-ham raises – 3×5

4A. DB side bends – 3×15 ea side

4B. Sprinter sit-ups – 3×20



FRIDAY – Rep Upper


  1. BW inverted rows, feet on bench – 100 total reps (in least amount of time)

2A. Incline, alternate DB bench (palms in) – 2×12 ea arm

2B. Standing “J” pulldowns w/ rope – 2×12


3A. Standing DB lateral raises – 3×12

3B. Rope face pulls – 3×12


4A. Alternate hammer curls – 3×8 ea arm

4B. Rope triceps pushdown – 3×15


  1. Two-hand, 45lb. plate pinch gripping (Two plates, smooth sides out) – 3 x max time



Joe D.


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