The May 2007 edition of Muscle & Fitness magazine, features a cover story article that details the training regimen of the best baseball player on the planet, Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.
This is the worst regimen on the planet, and is totally inappropriate for an elite athlete like Pujols.
For years the sports/fitness media has allowed this kind of nonsense to pass for performance training, be it Barry Bonds’ or Terrell Owens' program, but it is amazing that a new generation superstar is following a program that is so woefully unsuitable. The program that Pujols follows is wrong on every single point and violates every established principle for designing a performance-training program.
Chris Mihlfeld, described in the article as being Pujols’ “full-time personal trainer and training partner,” designed Pujols’ program, and these two have been together for 10 years. Mihlfeld coached Pujols at Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City, and he has worked with Albert ever since.
The article highlights the program that Pujols follows - a “high-volume, body builder style” program - and we’re told, “this high-intensity approach is designed to prepare Albert’s muscles and joints” for the season “while also adding some long-ball clout to this already flawless swing.” Um, no.
With the exception of the correct description of this program as being “high-volume” this statement is wrong on all points. Actually almost every statement made in support of this program is incorrect, and I’ll get to them in a bit.
“High-volume, body builder–style” programs cannot address the complex needs of athletes, regardless of the level of competition, and by definition a program cannot be both high-volume and high-intensity, as there is an inverse relationship between these two variables. As volume increases, intensity decreases and there is no way around this. A program isn’t “high-intensity” by virtue of a person’s subjective opinion that a program is by some definition “hard.”
Bodybuilding has nothing to do with athletics since there is nothing remotely related between this style of training and the demands of sport.
Baseball is a sport that requires that its players be able to move quickly and explosively. This training program runs counter to the nature of baseball and is counter productive to Pujols’ baseball training because this program is teaching Pujols to move slower and less-explosively.
It’s a good thing that Albert is blessed with natural ability.
Mike Romano, a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and USA Weightlifting Certified Coach who has trained athletes of all levels for 20 years, is surprised that a player of Pujols’ stature would follow such a program.