What Makes A Baseball Workout Different
Strength and conditioning for baseball can be different than it is for a lot of other sports. Baseball players don't need as much straight ahead, or linear, power as a football player might or the cardiovascular endurance of a soccer player. When we design a baseball workout then, it's important to have the actual sport in mind.
Baseball Brains will be writing a lot more on this subject, as we believe that everything is really secondary to having a good physical foundation. All of the mechanics we teach, all of the fundamentals, require good baseball specific strength and conditioning to perform at the highest level.
Before You Start
Before any strength and conditioning program is developed for an athlete, there must first be a movement screen. We need to know how your body moves, and if any inefficiencies are present in the muscles, tendons, joints, and complex movements.
Here's an article about it: Best Tips For Baseball Workouts Part 1
Your health and your rate of progression will both benefit tremendously if you find a good trainer who can screen your movements and set up a good plan for you to eliminate any weaknesses or limitations.
We also endorse the best in the business Eric Cressey and encourage you to check out his resources as well.
Now That You've Done That...
1: Train to move your body, not just weights
Too many guys focus on getting better at lifting weights during their baseball workout, and not on improving their body's ability to perform on the field .
Whenever you're lifting, ask yourself how that motion translates to the baseball field. We believe that the best exercises to perform for baseball are those that include muscle GROUPS and promote explosive power.
Properly using groups of muscles largely depends on choosing the right lifts, while developing power usually is the result of your technique.
If you're moving two joints in a lift, that's generally better than one. Likewise, if you're accelerating through the sticking point of the lift, you're training more power than if you're slowly pressing at a constant rate.
Olympic lifts are fantastic full body lifts that will greatly increase your body's functional strength and mobility.
Not all of them are created equal however, so stay tuned to see the techniques we approve of.
2: Quality over quantity
This is something we preach constantly in our baseball skills sessions as well, so it makes sense that we believe it's important for our baseball fitness.
Just like the reps we take on the field or in the cages, the movements we perform over and over again in the weight room teach our body how it needs to move. If this is the case, and it surely is, then we absolutely need to train it the right way.
Bad technique during a workout not only opens you up for injury, it also runs the risk of training your movement patterns in a way that's not appropriate for your goals.
3: Functional strength over general strength every time
This is connected to the first item because most of the time functional strength will be developed by using multi-joint and powerful movements. However functional strength also means that you can't ignore the little things.
Baseball requires strong hands, wrists, and forearms for throwing and hitting. We'll give you several tips for incorporating these muscles into the lifts you're already doing in your baseball workout.
We also need to pay special attention to the muscles of the rotator cuff and the other decelerators in the posterior shoulder and the upper back.
Remember that your body will only be allowed to move forward at a rate which you're strong enough to safely slow back down and stop. Training the muscles that "brake" our explosive forward movements is critical.
4: Start with the core
We are huge believers in core strength for baseball, and consider it to be one of the most important functional elements of any strength program, especially a baseball workout. Always consider whether or not the motion you're training will help your core stability and rotational power.
Everything starts with the core and then extends out to the extremities. Core stability and strength ensures the strongest body possible and lays the foundation for the next level.
A stable core is also able to transfer force and momentum from your lower half to provide stronger throwing and hitting. A softer core that isn't as stable will leak a huge amount of that momentum.
5: Train your speed
Speed, acceleration, agility, coordination...it's all different but it's all connected enough to include here and we need to train all of it. There's always a genetic factor in human performance, but it's been proven that every athlete's speed can be increased from base levels with the right program.
Your top speed might never be as good as somebody else who has more fast twitch muscle fibers, but that doesn't mean that you can't get faster than you are right now.
Speed and agility are huge factors in baseball, and we'll lay out our ideas about elevating your performance in both.
Here's a recent article from us on speed: How To Increase Speed
One of the greatest resources that we have found in recent years (besides our own) in the world of elite strength and conditioning is from Eric Cressey, and it's called The High Performance Handbook. We encourage you to check it out, as well as keeping in touch with us, for a fantastic amount of ongoing education and high level training advice.
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Thanks for reading!