There isn’t a sports player in the world who can’t benefit from improvements to their workouts and nutrition. For fans and players of baseball there is a long season and many games to keep in prime shape for.
With so many games (160 plus, not including Spring training), the baseball season does not leave a lot of time for rest. Without rest, your muscles can become overworked and stiff, reducing mobility and, without the right maintenance, injuries may become a distinct possibility.
The answer is preparation and a sustainable fitness routine that you can maintain throughout the season. To that end, for anyone looking for a healthy lifestyle change or two, baseball training (except the bat and ball) may be a good model for you too.
So, specific to baseball, there are several different positions. They all share certain prerequisites in common: speed, agility, and endurance.
There’s running to make a catch, staying alert and poised to move for a prolonged period of time while in the outfield; catchers need the agility of a cat, going from a coiled-up position and then springing like a coil. A cycle of these things over a game that lasts around three hours is a good recipe for pulled muscles.
To begin, endurance training and regular stretching will put you in good stead. For cardiovascular sessions, you should focus on both long distance jogging and shuttle sprints. Obviously, you’ll need your strength for the game so it’s not in your best interest to expend all your energy before the game.
Keep longer runs for days off when you’ll need your rest. Sure, a long run isn’t everyone’s idea of a day off from training, but we’re not talking about marathons here. This is a low-intensity jog, exchangeable with a brisk walk, with the aim of getting your heart rate up without putting too much strain on your joints and muscles.
On training days, short sprints and shuttle runs will benefit sprints to make catches and stealing plates. Not those kinds of plates; this isn’t about nutrition, except maybe the fuel you’ll need for the required endurance and speed. This is about emulating sprinting the distance between bases with short, high-intensity sprints.
Yoga will serve you well to keep you prepared for dives and awkward positions, that is bound to end in injury without a good stretch.
For all round toning and strengthening, you might try the following:
✓ Walking lunges
✓ Front and side planks
✓ Roman chairlifts
✓ Leg Raises
✓ Seated twists holding a medicine ball
✓ Jumping jacks
Pitching fast or slow involves dexterity and strength. Only, if you focus too much on strength your range of motion will suffer. You rarely, if ever, see pitchers packing on mass muscle. As with cardio training, it’s best that resistance exercises and weight lifting mirror the motions of pitching and batting.
For batters, a powerful swing is a full-body affair. Some say it’s the power of the hips, others say the sturdiness of the legs. And of course, a built upper body is sure to your advantage. The answer for both pitching and batting is cable work with some free weights thrown in.
The likes of vanity curls and single joint lifts may be more detrimental than useful if they wear out your joints. Using cables and pivot-like motions, twisting at the waist you’ll work your midriff as well as your shoulders. Do the same with individual arms to build your throwing. Further to this, try:
✓ Throwing medicine ball against the wall
✓ Chest press using cables
✓ Shoulder press using dumbbells
✓ Leg press
For weight and reps, you need to keep it moderate so that you don’t exhaust your muscles and don’t develop them too big. Aim for 8-12 reps, lifting around 60 per cent of your maximum ability.