Weight Training and Baseball

Rob Maraby author of 25 fitness books

Weight Training and Baseball!

Baseball is known as perhaps one of the most inactive sports there is-by this I mean you don’t really have to be a top athlete to actually be the best at the game! Compared to other games there is far less activity and running!

However strength is crucial in this game!

When you are strong, you can hit harder, you can be quicker at base-running and you will have stronger throws- all of which are the needed to win the game.

And isn’t that what all baseball players want to have the ability to hit home runs with ease? And make flying passes at the bases beating the throwers to the plate?

Now you can say that some players are gifted and can hit home runns without much training. But for most players , strength training is crucial if they want to excel at the game!

Fact is, you can be as strong and just as good as the most talented players through a solid weight training program no matter how skillful you are right now, your speed, muscle endurance and power can all be improved!.

It is undeniable what a good weight training program can do to improve your game.

Evidence of this can be seen on T.V. you will find some baseball players aren’t as fast as they may be fit and they always get taken out at the plate by a faster player

Baseball primarily involves explosive movements with little endurance movements involved in it

For example -a slugger hits the ball then explodes to the plate then waits there until the next slugger finally hits another strike-which could send him to wait at the next base.

As you can see there is very little endurance required in baseball and there is more than enough time to catch your breathe at each play , plus you also get to rest after you pass home base.

So all baseball players should focus on explosive training workouts for both their upper and lower bodies.

The main focus however should be on upper body strength development!

However the best workout that any baseball player can perform is neuromuscular training, neuromuscular training is important for one reason, it improves neuromuscular efficiency –which is the rate at which your brain sends signals to your muscles (hands and arms- which is crucial for hitters).

Neuromuscular strength is what allows encourages faster swings and better hits.

However when it comes to pitching it’s a different story because a pitcher also has to be in good overall shape because pitching a baseball requires the work of the whole body: legs, abs, arms and chest

And its focus should be on explosive strength training, endurance is also crucial. I refer to endurance of the arms -pitchers need endurance in the arms because they have to pitch the ball repeatedly throughout the whole game.

All baseball players however can benefit from a good weight training program. Strength training will give every baseball player-Better performance, injury avoidance/career longevity, improved recovery rate, improve pitching speed, sustaining/increasing muscle strength and balance, and improved upper body strength

You can’t argue with these results. Fact is, a stronger baseball player will always out perform an average baseball player – if we assume they have the same skills!

Now as for a Hitter

A hitter needs to have strong arms for better bat swings etc .the main muscle for both a hitter and pitcher are the shoulder muscles. So emphasis should be placed on both the shoulders and arms!

The muscles of the shoulders are the main muscle for pitching and swinging.

And exercises that are good for hitting and pitching are: Internal/external rotation at 90 degrees • bent-over raises • medial rotation raises • Dumbbell shrugs and• Lateral raises

Hitters also need to have good neuromuscular connection it’s a must in almost all sports but more so in baseball.

Hitter’s should perform their workouts with a repetition range of 3 to 4 to encourage neuromuscular strength development! This should be followed by a set of 6 to 8 repetitions on the next set to encourage maximum strength development.

And then finally a third set of 3 to 4 reps to encourage explosive strength development.

So all baseball players other than hitters need to follow the same method of training, using 4 sets that combine neuromuscular training with strength training to yield total muscular development!

This way of exercising will give hitters explosive power in their arms, the neuromuscular strength that his exercise builds will cause the hitter to have faster reaction times and allow them to hit that ball clear out of the park- which is helpful in winning games

Plus baseball players could benefit from swinging the bat as a drill! Swing drills combine Nero muscular training and strength training which will make the arms faster, stronger and leaner

Also needed for baseball is a strong lower body-.some baseball players prefer to perform plyometrics exercises in order to gain speed and power for more explosive runs.

One popular baseball plyometrics exercise is bounding which is excellent for increasing speed and explosiveness.

To make plyometrics exercises more effective, you need to perform squats – which is an universal exercise for working out the entire lower body

Squats should be used by all baseball players to increase muscle strength and explosiveness. Other good lower body workouts include: squats, lunges .leg raises, hamstring curls and calf raises.

There is another effective way to increase batting strength and speed and that is using a heavy bat to hit the ball!

A heavy bat is a baseball that is weighted and is used by hitters to swing at balls. This exercise drill stimulates the exact muscles used during a swing, so It is most efficient exercise you can perform for increasing hitting power and speed. Caution should however be used when using a heavy bar because there is a risk of injury of flinging heavy weights.

Now we move onto strength training for pitchers!

The weight training program here differs slightly; it becomes more specific because pitchers need arms that are powerful as well as enduring.

They also need the endurance to last the whole baseball game
They should also use a variety of exercises to develop the whole body!

All workouts should be compromised of strength training, plyometrics and endurance training.

Here is an example of what a pitcher weight workout would look like:

Bench press
Should presses
Dumbbell front raise
Upright rows
Dumbbell flies
Bicep curl
Preacher curl
Triceps extensions
Front face extensions
Leg raises
Hamstring curls
Calf raises

As a general rule, perform 3-4 sets each and train explosively with repetitions in the 4-8 rep range!

More specifically: Pitchers will need to use 3 to 4 reps for power and mix it up with 10 to 16 reps for endurance.
Hitters might also perform 3 full sets of power repetitions! By that I mean, they should use 3 to 4 reps to build neuromuscular strength and power, which they will need for both throwing the ball and lasting throughout the whole game.

When it comes to medicine ball workouts, it should consist of:

Medicine ball chest passes
Over head passes
Medicine ball crunches

This medicine ball workout increase power and neuromuscular efficiency

Which also helps to improve the range of motion and power of the body- because they will be performing explosive movements in a wide range of motion, which will develop power and increase the range of motion in the pitchers body.

For example, the medicine ball chest passes will increase explosive power in the arms and chest, which will help with the power of the pitchers pitch.

Plyometrics baseball exercises would consist of the following:

Bounding jumps
Squat jumps
Lunge jumps
Box jumps

These exercises will develop the explosive power needed in the legs for explosive movements such as sprinting to the plates, which is crucial when it comes to winning games!

I hope you found this brief guide helpful, use it and improve your baseball game!

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Calling all baseball pitchers, check out the new SFS video, targetted at helping you strengthen your shoulder area to help prevent shoulder and possible arm injuries. Click below; and don't forget to let us know what you think.


Baseball Strength and Conditioning Program


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