LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Bryce Harper has been the talk of spring training thus far. How could he not be?
The 21-year-old Washington Nationals outfielder got huge. Not just huge, but freakishly huge.
As it turns out, the massive weight gain in his upper body can only be attributed to an injury to his lower body and a refusal to simply sit idle while recovering from offseason knee surgery.
On Monday, Harper spoke about how and why he bulked during an interview with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan.
“I didn’t really have a lower body for two months. It was like I was in a wheel chair just trying to do the upper body. I’d go to the gym and only be able to work my upper body. I’d get bored during the day and go to the gym. I like to lift. I work my ever-loving tail off in the gym. My workouts are very hard. I go to gym night and day — two, three hours in the gym — and really, really work hard. I really pride myself on going to the gym and working hard and doing it every single day and not taking a day off. I want to be ready when I get here and then lifting during spring training also and putting on weight and things like that. Coming here, I’m able to work my lower half finally and it’s nice to be able to go in and work my lower half and get squats in and do things I need to do to get my lower half strong. The first two months of the offseason all I had was my upper body and that’s all I could do. So, I came in pretty big this year.”
His new physique appeared to have paid dividends last Friday when he launched a mammoth shot off Houston Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer during a six-run first inning for the Nats.
Interestingly enough, the popular slugger does not attribute much of his upper body strength to his power at the plate.
“Really all my power comes from my legs and my hands. Quick wrists and big legs really help that out,” he said. “Going into at-bats you try to keep your front side in and do good things up there. Hit the ball the other way, get a pitch you can drive and be as patient as you can. You don’t want to do too much. You try to go up there and make things simple.”
Listen to the full interview below.