Baseball places a lot of emphasis on swift and explosive rotational movements. Unfortunately, these movements are also what make baseball players extremely prone to shoulder and elbow injuries.
Hence, as far as baseball exercises go, the primary aim should not be to increase strength but to improve rotational strength. The higher your rotational strength is, the more power you can generate while swinging the bat or hurling the ball.
As a baseball player, you need to move in quick and abrupt bursts. For this reason, you should focus on enhancing your acceleration. At the same time, since baseball is very taxing on the shoulders, you should try to avoid exercises that place excessive pressure on that region. Instead, you must focus on workout regimes that lower your chances of sustaining shoulder injuries.
In this blog, we will discuss a few exercises that will help you achieve the above goals.
Best Exercises for Baseball Players:
As far as versatility goes, pushups are probably impossible to beat. This exercise helps you engage your upper body, and develop core strength and chest simultaneously.
While doing pushups, make sure that your hands are just beyond your shoulder width. Go down while counting to ‘2’ and come up at a count of ‘1’.
To change things up a bit, you can perform push ups using a Swiss ball.
2) Leg Cradle:
Leg cradles help open up the hip and glute muscles – muscles that play a key role in throwing, batting, fielding, and pretty much any other movement associated with baseball.
You should start by lifting the right foot off the ground, while staying in a squatted position using your left foot. Take the right knee all the way up to your chest, and put your right hand under the right knee. Your left hand, meanwhile, should go under your right ankle. Bring the right knee as close to the chest as you can, and simultaneously squeeze the left glute. Step forward with the right foot. Once this sequence is complete, switch feet, and repeat.
If you have never done leg cradles before, we recommend starting off with not more than 10 reps each side at a time.
3) Drop Lunge:
Drop lunge is another exercise that helps improve glute and hip flexibility – this, like we said, is important for all aspects of baseball.
Turn the hips towards the left, and use your left foot to reach back. Keep reaching back until your foot is at least two feet behind and outside the right foot. Make sure that the left toes point towards your right heel. The last step is rotating the hips back towards a neutral position and face forwards. Slowly, go down into a squatting position. Drive off the right leg, and then stand up. Repeat this sequence 10 times, before switching the legs and doing another 10 repetitions.
4) Lateral Walks Using Mini Bands:
This exercise helps you become conscious of moving your body weight, and this consciousness helps when you are batting or throwing.
Surround your thighs (just above your knees) with a mini-band, and tighten the band. Move your left leg and step laterally using your foot (this will allow you to shift towards the right). Then, take your left foot back to the starting position, and repeat this sequence 10 times. After that, switch the feet and perform another 10 repetitions.
5) Sprinter Starts:
Sprinter Starts help improve your acceleration, which is one of the most underrated skills in baseball. Powerful acceleration is particularly important when you have to sprint out from the batting box and race from first base to third base. Acceleration is also helpful when running down outfield balls.
Begin in the pushup position and extend your elbows. Next, start firing the legs explosively, and make sure to use the arms for added momentum. Using this movement, sprint forward approximately 10 yards, and do not forget to drive the feet as hard into the ground as possible (think piston motion). Once you have completed 10 yards, take a break of around 30-45 seconds, before resuming the sequence. Start with five repetitions.
6) Barbell Squats:
Barbell Squats help improve the strength and coordination of the leg and hip muscles.
Hold a barbell and go into a lunging position (if you do not have a barbell, you can simply use the weight of your body). Squat down and back, and allow your hips to go close to the ground. Use your front leg to push the weight of the barbell back up, while making sure that your left knee does NOT touch the ground. Repeat this sequence for three sets of 10 repetitions, taking a 30-second break between each set. Once done with the three sets, switch the leg and do another three sets with 10 repetitions in each set.
7) Lateral Bound:
Lateral Bound is an excellent exercise to develop tremendous lateral power in the legs. The greater your lateral leg power is, the better your fielding and base performances will be.
Elevate your left foot above the ground, and stay balanced using your right leg. Do a slight squat with the right leg, and use the glutes and leg to do a lateral jump. Extend through the hip, knee, and ankle, and land on your opposite leg. It is vital to keep your balance intact throughout the entire sequence. Repeat this sequence on the other side, and hold for a count of three on either side. Go for one set of 10 repetitions.
To sum up, this guide contained a bunch of exercises that will help you raise your baseball game across many departments.
However, while exercise is an important part of enhancing baseball performance, it is but one piece of the puzzle. If you really want to be the best baseball player that you can be, you should also focus on making other lifestyle changes (such as a healthy diet, plenty of hydration, and sufficient sleep).