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Rickey Henderson, The Superman of Baseball
 
 
John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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08-23-2010, 11:13 AM
 
Hey Friends,

Some of the greatest athletes on the planet train exactly the way that we teach. One of my all time favorites was Rickey Henderson. I would watch Baseball games just to see him steal bases by diving headfirst like Super Man flying. Consider the following.

Rickey Henley Henderson (born December 25, 1958 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former baseball player who played left field in Major League Baseball for nine teams from 1979 to 2003, including four stints with his first team, the Oakland Athletics. Widely regarded as the sport's greatest leadoff hitter and baserunner, he holds major league records for career stolen bases, runs scored, unintentional walks and leadoff home runs. At the time of his last major league game in 2003, the 10-time American League All-Star ranked among the sport's top 100 all-time home run hitters and was its all-time leader in bases on balls. In 2009, he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In addition to his career stolen base record, Henderson also holds the single-season record of 130 in the 1982 season and is the only player in American League history to steal 100 bases in a season, having done so three times. His 1,406 career steals is 50% more than the previous record of 938 held by Lou Brock. In fact, the 468 steals difference between his and Brock's totals would place in the top 50 of all-time. But it doesn't end there. Henderson holds the all-time stolen base record for two separate franchises, the Oakland A's and New York Yankees, and was among the league's top ten base stealers in 21 different seasons. The fact that he literally dove headfirst while achieving the majority of his stolen base records says a great deal about the man's extraordinary durability. The fact is, Rickey Henderson was rarely injured. And why is that case? Because henderson was one of the best conditioned men to ever swing a bat. One sports caster even stated that "Rickey has thighs as big around as a telephone pole. His abdomen is so hard you could light a match on it. His biceps bulge and when he takes off his shirt you see the pectorals of an NFL running back.

"It's a tribute not only to his strength but to his flexibility. He's the most flexible guy on the club."

Flexible. Now there's a word dear to Henderson's heart.

"If you're flexible, dead weight will make you tight," he said. "If you really ask a lot of fitness training people, (they say) the worst training is the weight. That's why we get more injuries. Nowadays we want to build ourselves up. It started with football players. The guys who last a long time in football or baseball, they are flexible. Look at Walter Payton. He and I had almost the same sort of training drill. Did a lot of the mountain, the push-up, the sit-up.

"The guy in my training room right now, he gets mad at me all the time because I can never make it down there. I might go down there one week and it might take me another month to get down there. I'd rather do push-ups. I can do push-ups all day with you."

Henderson's on a roll now. Get him talking about his body and his eyes light up.

"I can probably do about 65 or 100 push-ups in a row, but usually I probably do about 50 at a time," he said. "I might do 500 while looking at a movie."

Is that the secret, then? Multitasking?

"Right," he said, grinning. "Multitaskin'. At nighttime, I got nothin' to do. I'm just sitting around looking at TV. Commercial comes on boom! I go down and boom-boom - get a little workout in, get back up and look at the movie, kick back. Then next time, I might do some sit-ups. How many sit-ups can I do in a row? I'd say about 100, 120.

"It's the littlest time that we waste when we could stay in shape. We don't realize that. In the morning, most people are dragging around before they get in the shower. You can drop down and in 10 minutes do five sets of 20," said Henderson, illustrating the speed of his workout with a seriesrapid-fire da-da-da-da, da-da-da-das. "Then you take a shower, you're done. You did your work. Now your body will get used to it. Now your body will tell you something."

Oh, yeah. Henderson's body talks to him all the time.

"If I'm sitting around, not doin' nothin', my body will go, 'Uh, feelin' ugly, huh? Brother, you feel bad, huh?' That's when I know I got to get up and do something, get me some oxygen. Our bodies need oxygen. You sit around, don't get any oxygen, your body gets lazy."

Henderson was named the AL's Most Valuable Player in 1990, and he was the leadoff hitter for two World Series champions: the 1989 Oakland A's and the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays. A 12-time stolen base champion, Henderson led the league in runs five times. His 25-year career elevated Henderson to the top ten in several other categories, including career at bats, games, and outfield putouts and total chances. His high on-base percentage, power hitting, and stolen base and run totals made him one of the most dynamic players of his era. He was further known for his unquenchable passion for playing baseball and a buoyant, eccentric and quotable personality that both perplexed and entertained fans.


One other intriguing thing is that this is exactly the same way that Herschel Walker and Woody Strode trained.

Bottom line: The methods that we teach and endorse simultaneously build flexibility and strength in direct relation to one's own body enhancing every athletic attribute.

---John Peterson
 
 
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hollyweed88 hollyweed88 is offline
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08-23-2010, 01:51 PM
 
The guys who last a long time in football or baseball, they are flexible. Look at Walter Payton. He and I had almost the same sort of training drill. Did a lot of the mountain, the push-up, the sit-up.


What is "the mountain?"
The situp done by Henderson and walker, are they the same? Is it a crunch or an Atlas situp or something else? Can someone describe it exactly?
Thank you.
 
 
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TejasT TejasT is offline
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08-23-2010, 02:03 PM
 
I believe "mountains" are Mountain Climbers (these are popular torture devices of football coaches)!

Mountain climbers are that exercise where you begin in a pushup position on the hands and toes. Then, you bring the right knee in towards the chest, resting the foot on the floor. You then jump up and switch feet in the air, bringing the left foot in and the right foot back. Over and over again ad nauseum.

In Hershel's case, I know he focuses on the following types of bodyweight exercises (I get this from his Basic Training book and interviews I've heard/read)

- Burpees (which are like mountain climbers)
- Situps (he recommends crunches these days). In the past, he did mutliple variations (Atlas, full situps, crunches) but prefers crunches these days.
- Pushups (every variation you can do . . . in fact, he says it's crucial to mix up your pushups).
- Pullups (like pushups, with as many variations as you can do).
- Jumping rope

Last edited by TejasT; 08-23-2010 at 02:07 PM.
 
 
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08-23-2010, 02:20 PM
 
One more thing I forgot to add . . . I think there's a lot to be said about flexibility training with great athletes. In that Basic Training book of his, Herschel has you stretching with every workout.
 
 
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MikeC MikeC is offline
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08-23-2010, 02:59 PM
 
Jose Canseco has stated that a major Hall of Famer had been using steroids. I wonder if it could have been Ricky Henderson?
 
 
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08-23-2010, 03:10 PM
 
When I was growing up in the 90's I had plenty of favorite players to watch Here are a few.....Michael Jordan, Bret Favre, Jerry Rice, Ricky Henderson, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Young & Barry Bonds. Out of all those guys, i'd say Ricky was the most unique. He wasn't a beast like some of the others but he had a no nonsense approach to the sport of baseball, he wasn't as flashy but he also wasn't flamboyant and neither were the others but still he wouldn't act like a show off if he talked and told you what he would do he did it better then what he said. I'd say without question he was one of the most gifted ball players. When I used to play ball I loved thinking I could run like Ricky and homer like bonds.
 
 
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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08-23-2010, 05:26 PM
 
Hey Denny,

I agree. In my opinion, Ricky Henderson was the ultimate baseball player. Not only that but considering the longevity of his career at 24 seasons it tells you that he must have been doing a lot of things right.

---John Peterson

P.S. Mike C, I don't believe that Ricky took steroids. If he had I think his homeruns would have been much higher. And I also think he would have been considerably bigger.
 
 
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08-23-2010, 06:22 PM
 
If Ricky did Roids I would think without a doubt the world would've heard about it around the peak of his career. He was a ball player's ball player, unlike naturally watching guys hit dingers 500ft and catching balls left and right, Ricky was the total package he's one of those players who could've played in just about any era of baseball. He can run, hit, catch, throw as good as anybody and is the greatest stealer who ever lived before or since. I've said it before he wasn't a big dude and was no more then 185 I think but pound for pound he is the greatest player to walk the earth. My father grew up watching Willie Mays at candlestick park and used to see him play back when tickets were a steal and I got to see the new generation of ball players and one of them was Ricky Henderson.
 
 
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dynogoalie30 dynogoalie30 is offline
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08-23-2010, 06:22 PM
 
Being born and raised here in the bay area, I have been a die hard Oakland As fan since they arrived here from Kansas City in 1968, I watched their very 1st game ever on my parents black and white tv, made by sony, Rickey was always in great shape, and did bodyweight exercises, and he never was hardly on the DL. I wish he was the conditioning coach for the As, because over the past few years, the As have had a lot of injuries to key players, I think if more MLB players trained like Ricky did, there would be fewer injuries, Rickey is one of the best conditioned athletes ever in sports.
 
 
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jonlclay jonlclay is offline
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08-23-2010, 08:25 PM
 
Lately I've been trying to follow the advice Ricky & Hershel gave out by doing sets of pushups, situps and Tiger squats during commercials. I must say it is definately a workout in itself. You sure get to a point where you start hoping you were watching HBO or something that doesn't have commercials!!! It is a great workout. Also, the kids tend to jump in and try to keep up with their old man, so that pushes you on.

Thanks for another "old school" athlete profile.

Jon
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