Weight room work equals big muscles and slow feet, right? Wrong. U.S. softball pitching sensation Monica Abbott can attest that off-season weight training has helped her become stronger, leaner and, in fact, quicker.
She wasn't always aware of the benefits of weight room training. "When I was in high school, I really didn't understand lifting or conditioning," Abbott says. "[However], once I started...[training], my actual athletic ability and talent transferred onto the field."
Although in high school, her weight room training only hit on the basics—agility drills, shoulder maintenance, light lifting and Box Jumps—Abbott built a solid foundation, which she added to during her years at the University of Tennessee.
As a Lady Volunteer, Abbott set several NCAA Division I records, including most career strikeouts [2,440], career wins  and career games pitched . None of this could have been accomplished without her dedication to off-field training.
"It's doing little things that are going to make a huge impact when you play—being able to take care of your body and have that explosive energy to put into your training and softball skills," Abbott says. "It's being able to throw 65 [mph] consistently, then to work to being able to throw 68 [mph] consistently."
Abbott has been out of college for a few years and already has several professional trophies [ most recently the 2010 Women's World Softball Championship], but she's still working on perfecting her game by mixing up her training. She now works out at D1 Sports Training in Knoxville.
"You have an athlete like Monica Abbott, it's the small things that matter," says Dunstan Kendrick, head sports performance coach at D1-Knoxville. "You're talking about an elite performer who's at the height of her game and can be taken to greater heights by making sure that she finishes the work."
The video above shows a quick rundown of Abbott's training at D1. [View more of the softball star's strength and speed training.]
By adding to her off-season training routine little by little throughout her career, Abbott has become one of the most feared pitchers on the dominating U.S. softball roster—a status that might never have been attained if she had decided to ditch weight room training.
Photos: softball.teamusa.org, thelostogle.com
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock