Workouts aid Indians in stretch drive

September 10, 1995|By Knight-Ridder News Service

CLEVELAND -- About 2 1/2 hours before every game at Jacobs Field, the Cleveland Indians' rubber bands are unleashed.

Fitting, because the Indians are not your average team, so these are not your average rubber bands.

They are huge.

They are red.

And they are used by the winningest team in major-league baseball to stretch hamstrings, backs, thighs, arms and nearly every other muscle that a player might pull while playing.

"They're just a part of the flexibility program that we installed in spring training," said Fernando Montes, the Indians' strength and conditioning coach. "They give us constant feedback and resistance in our flexibility routine."

In laymen's terms, they ensure that the players always do proper stretching.

"A lot of times you don't really know if you're stretching out or not," Montes said. "With the rubber bands, you know you're stretching out.

"We did testing during spring training and found that players averaged between a half-inch and 1 1/2 inches of improvement in their flexibility."

The rubber bands truly are an Indians thing. As a matter of fact, they're a 1995 team thing: The Indians are the only team that uses them, and this is the first year they have done so.

The rubber bands were not Montes' brainchild. A representative from Jump Stretch, the Ohio-based company that makes the bands, approached the Indians with the idea during spring training.

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