Kapler's Workout Tips On Best Way To Use Gravitron

Updated MAR 19, 2014 8:35p ET


Around the third week of spring training, the training room becomes a crowded place. From Tommy John surgeries to minor injuries to the lower extremities, getting banged up, and worse, is part of the game.

When an injury robs a player of his ability to train the way hes accustomed to, there is nearly always an alternative.

After an injury left me unable to perform my usual routine, I focused on the best upper body workouts to keep myself fit and strong.

Seeing the news on “FOX Sports Live” of yet another baseball player on crutches always reminds me of the September night in 2005 when I tore my Achilles tendon in Toronto[1]. I was with the Red Sox[2] at the time, rounding second base. Ill never forget the pop, like getting shot at close range by a Colt .45.

There was plenty of physical and emotional pain from missing the opportunity to contribute during the playoffs that year. Beyond that, however, my mind shifted to preparing for the following season. What steps would I take to get my lower half back in shape? Then it dawned on me — I wouldnt be doing anything strenuous with my legs for many months.

A few days after the injury, I was in a cast, still on painkillers and crutches, but I couldnt keep out of the gym. I knew that in order to speed up my healing process, I needed to keep the blood flowing in my body. Frankly, I am awful at sitting still, and I saw no reason to wait around. I couldnt do my usual workouts, but I could continue to challenge my upper body. For MLB players, sitting around aimlessly waiting to heal is never a good idea.

Two of the most effective upper-body workouts are pull-ups[3] and dips. Between the two, I hit every muscle group above the waist. When healthy, I perform both movements with a dumbbell hanging between my knees or feet.

In my condition at the time, however, my Achilles was still vulnerable. I needed the help of a spotter or a machine. I chose the latter and found my way to the Gravitron machine. The Gravitron is a counter-weight system that helps you do body weight movements, pull-ups and dips in my case.

Professional players will always have a spotter at their fingertips, and Ive known many a major-league player who implemented pull-ups after a detrimental blow to the lower body to keep their upper body and, perhaps more importantly, their psyche strong.

If youre an amateur, I recommend the Gravitron as a substantial alternative. To use the machine, select the amount of weight you want assisting you on the way up. For pull-ups, take any grip thats comfortable (overhand or underhand is fine). I vary my grips to keep it interesting and to create more angles for my body to adapt to.

1. Step or kneel (depending on the machine) carefully onto the lever, feet facing toward the machine, and straighten your whole body.

2. Use your lats (the muscles that give you that V shape below your armpits) to pull your shoulders down. Think of it as shrugging in reverse. Drive your elbows down toward your hips while pulling your body up.

3. Keep your core engaged, lifting your chest upward until your head is between your hands.

4. When performing dips on this machine, place your hands on the parallel bars that are near your waist. Keep your shoulders back and lower your body until your triceps are parallel to the floor. Press yourself back up to complete the rep.

After the first rep of each move, youll have a good gauge of whether you need to add weight assistance. Proceed slowly as you get used to this contraption and build up over time. Before you know it, youll be performing dips and pull-ups without any help from a machine.

Take a peek at the videos below, but I suggest lowering the volume and using them for visual aid only as the audio is less than stellar.

If youre unable to find this machine, spotted pull-ups and dips are amazingly effective, but need a strong, trusted partner who can support nearly your entire body weight if youre a beginner.


  1. ^ Toronto (msn.foxsports.com)
  2. ^ Red Sox (msn.foxsports.com)
  3. ^ pull-ups (kaplifestyle.com)

Original Story Here


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  1. Reply

    Tips For Starter Workout.? Ok so I’m 125 lb. and about 5.6-7 feet tall and I just started going to gym (about 1 month).

    My schedule is: Monday = work on 6 pack and chest, Tuesday = work on 6 pack and arms, Wednesday = same as monday, Thursday = same as tuesday and so on.. and yes i go gym everyday in the mornings from 11ish for an hour or an hour and 15 mins.

    After gym I drink 1 spoon and half of this: http://www.innerarmour.com/products_nitropeak.html

    I dont really have good eating order..I eat breakfast 1 hour before gym which is around 10.
    I eat lunch at like 5-6 and dinner around 10..

    so I just wanted to see what tips can i get to make my body buffed in a short time and make 6 pack 😀

    I want my chest to grow and my 6 pack to come out first. kgo.

    1. Reply

      Workout routines are what exercises, how many sets, how many reps
      etc. that you do for each muscle.
      Remember these things when making up your routine:
      1) Work chest, triceps and shoulders on the same day, and biceps and
      back on the same day so that it’s ok if the secondary muscles get
      worked that day, because your doing them anyway.
      2) Separate those muscles that work a secondary muscle so that they
      are far enough apart not to overtrain you. For example, do Chest
      Monday, triceps on Wednesdays, and shoulders Friday, and biceps
      Monday with chest, and back Wednesday or Friday.
      Here are a few sample split routines and workout programs.

      Monday – Chest/Back
      Tuesday – off
      Wednesday – Legs
      Thursday – off
      Friday – Shoulders/Arms
      Saturday – off
      Sunday – off

      Monday – Chest/Biceps
      Tuesday – off
      Wednesday – Shoulders/Legs
      Thursday – off
      Friday – Back/Triceps
      Saturday – off
      Sunday – off

      Monday – Chest/Triceps
      Tuesday – Back/Biceps
      Wednesday – off
      Thursday – Shoulders
      Friday – Legs
      Saturday – off
      Sunday – off

      Sample Weightlifting Workout Routines

      This is hard. There are so many exercises for each muscle, and so
      many ways to split them up and make a routine out of them. So instead
      of listing 10,000 workout routines, I’ll just list what I think are
      the most effective muscle building exercises for each muscle and later
      on you can decide which to use in your own workout routines.

      Flat Bench Press
      Incline Bench Press
      Flat Bench Dumbell Flyes
      Incline Dumbell Flyes

      Pull Ups, Chin Ups, Lat Pulldowns
      Seated Cable Row
      Bent Over Barbell Row
      Bent Over 1 Arm Dumbell Rows

      Standing Barbell Curls
      Preacher Curls (with dumbells or barbell)
      Seated/Standing Dumbell Curls

      Tricep Press Downs
      Skull Crushers

      Romanian Deadlifts
      Lunges/Split Squats
      Calve Raises

      Seated/Standing Military Press (with barbell or dumbells)
      Lateral Raises

      Crunches, leg raises, situps, hip thrusts, side bends, weighted
      situps, crunches with your legs bent, not bent, straight up in the air

  2. Reply

    Great Workout Tips? Does anyone have any great workout tips? I really to work my whole body, but especially my abs. Any advice?

    1. Reply

      A strong core is essential to whole body strength and back health. Aside from the regular ab workouts, crunches, bicycle crunch, sit ups, bridges, etc., etc. you can incorporate abs into just about every weight routine. For one stay away from machines and use free weights instead. When doing a free weight exercises do not isolate your core. Example: When doing a military press while sitting down you are working upper body only. But if you do the same exercises while standing you are incorporating abdominal muscles and hip muscles for balance. I’m not a body builder nor am i huge, but I workout a lot. The exercises that I do are for strength, core, and cardio. For example I try and do multiple movements in one exercises. Such as using a 100 pound bar. Do a squat, then a overhead press and back down to a squat. 10 reps 4 sets. I’m not saying you should do this but exercises such as that one work multiple body parts including core and make you strong. I used to subscribe to men’shealth.com personal trainer. It gives you workouts to follow, give it a look.

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