Baseball players have steadily shown evidence of increased strength and power equating to improved performance on the field. The need to maintain flexibility and agility is critical to a player’s skill set. Implementing a training program for baseball players that improves each of these physical components is the objective.
An important place for any training program to begin is with core development. A pitcher’s body momentum and the torque of a hitter’s swing center on their core. Developing strong abdominal and oblique muscles will increase body control.
Since injuries to this part of the body can be debilitating to a baseball player, this is the place to begin building a program. Core strengthening exercises can be done on a daily basis. However, always stress core flexibility to equally counter strength exercises.
A Powerful Lower Base
Even though many baseball moves use the upper body, everything benefits from strong leg muscles. Building a powerful base is critical for pitchers and hitters. Pitchers, who have a weak lower body structure, inherently experience a higher risk of arm injuries. Good hitters appreciate that the torque in their lower body initiates the power in their swing.
Lower body development for baseball players, especially pitchers, is enhanced by running. Sprints build speed and leg power. Strength exercises to build the quads, hamstrings and calf muscles help improve lower body power. It’s critical that a baseball player’s leg training program include rigorous stretching.
Upper Body Training
Baseball players often forego upper body training. There isn’t the same need for brute upper body strength in baseball like there is in other more physical sports. However, baseball players who properly add arm, chest and shoulder training can dramatically improve their game.
The most important cautionary recommendation is to never lift before a game or practice. Lifting weights, or other types of strength exercises, are helpful to build muscular power. Problems can occur when joints are tired from lifting, then baseball moves are performed.
Players should never weight train on pitching days. This can weaken the structure around the shoulder and elbow creating a higher risk of injury. A blend of weightlifting and exercises that use a player’s body weight are excellent ways to supplement a training program. Since hitters benefit from full arm extension when connecting with the ball and pitchers suffer from bulky arm muscles, intense stretching of the upper body post-training sessions is critical.
A training program for baseball players can benefit from strength building exercises. It is best to focus on core development first, and then make sure a powerful base is established. Even upper body power can improve performance on the field. Above all else, remember that joint and muscle flexibility is critical for playing baseball. Augment every training program with flexibility and agility work.