Use plyometric exercises to condition your body for softball.
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The term body conditioning is used to refer to the process of using physical activity to maintain fitness. Various types of exercises can be used for body conditioning, but plyometric exercises are particularly useful. These are specific exercises -- typically only involving your own bodyweight or basic pieces of equipment -- that stretch and then contract the muscles, helping to tone and tighten your muscles and increase speed and strength. If you're focusing on improving your skills in a full-body sport like softball, you need to condition both your upper and lower body.
Muscles Up to Bat
The sport of softball requires the use of various major muscle groups in the body. From throwing as a pitcher to catching in the outfield, the main muscles used include the abdominal muscles, the triceps in your upper arms and the deltoid muscles in your shoulders -- as well as the quadriceps and hamstrings in your upper legs.
Try the Butterfly
The butterfly is an integral plyometrics exercise to include in your total workout plan because it works multiple areas of your body, including the abs, hamstrings and abductor muscles along your outer thighs. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, with your toes turned outward on a 45-degree angle. Keep your arms extended straight down at your sides. Start to squat down, lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and at the same time, sweep your arms down and cross your hands over each other in front of your hips. Hold, then return to your starting position.
Squat Jump for Big Results
Squat jumps are one of the most effective plyometric exercises for toning and tightening the muscles in your lower body. Your quadriceps and hamstrings are largely used for running from one base to another, as well as running in the outfield to catch the ball. Start in a squatting position, feet hip-width apart with your toes pointed outward slightly, your arms down at your sides. Jump up into the air as high as you can, and land back in a squatting position.
Try a Split Jump
Split jumps are a fantastic plyometric exercise to include in your workout. Start in a lunge position with your knees only bent slightly. Lower your body down, moving your hips down toward the floor, until both of your legs are bent on right angles. Jump up, trading places with your legs at the same time, so you land in a lunge position with your legs in opposite positions. This completes one rep.
Add in Some Box Jumps
Box jumps help you build explosive power in your lower body, which is important for running in the infield and outfield during a game. Stand in front of a secured box, your feet about shoulder-width apart and your knees bent slightly. Jump up onto the top of the box, landing with both feet at the same time, then jump back down to your starting position for one rep. Increase the difficulty of this exercise by using a taller box.
Don't Forget Depth Pushups
Depth pushups are ideal for including in your plyometric workout because they utilize nearly all of the major muscle groups in your body. Position yourself in a pushup position, the balls of your feet on a step behind you, your palms flat between two elevated platforms so one platform is on each side of you. Push your torso up slightly, simultaneously raising your hands and placing one on each platform. Return to your original position.
Maximize Your Efforts
As with any workout, you want to get the best results possible. With plyometrics, one of the key things to remember is that you need to give it your all with these exercises. Especially since the majority of plyometric exercises utilize nothing more than your own bodyweight, focusing on the targeted muscle groups and proper breathing will make all the difference, ensuring you are getting the most quality workout.