Proper workout plans will help you perfect your game on the diamond.
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Baseball is a unique sport, requiring a specific set of athletic strengths to be competitive. Although these strengths vary by position, overall, baseball is a sport that favors finesse over brute strength, quickness over speed, and endurance above all else. No matter your level of play, the sport requires that you have the stamina to go the distance, and the baseball-specific exercises you perform in your regimen need to establish a base of endurance, a certain level of strength, flexibility and agility.
Baseball training, as is the case with all seasonal sports, is cyclical. Unlike personal training, where you are on the calendar will determine your regimen far more than your general level of fitness. For example, your in-season training will differ greatly from your off-season training, because the frequency of games impacts the frequency of your non-practice workouts. During the season, the danger of overtraining is high between practice and game time. Your rest and recovery time is crucial to heal and stay fresh. For best results, pair your individual workouts on practice days, and schedule them for a short period after your practice so that you're fresh for team activities. During the off-season, your goals shift from maintenance to performance gains, requiring more sessions of a longer duration. Three- or four-workout regimens, in conjunction with your off-season practice schedule, will suffice.
Cardiovascular exercises build the stamina and endurance necessary to grind out nine innings a game multiple times a week for an entire season, and it's important to maintain this stamina during the season and through the off-season. Since quickness and the level of вЂњburstвЂќ are crucial for base-running and every defensive position, sprints of 90 to 180 feet will train your body to accelerate and stop. To prevent your body from acclimating to short bursts, which diminishes overall stamina, work in some light, longer runs or jogs to boost cardiovascular activity. For starting pitchers, engage in long-distance runs of a mile or two to acclimate to the taxing physical toll of pitching multiple innings at a time.
Flexibility, agility and muscle endurance are more important for a broader segment of baseball players than simple muscle mass. This places a premium on calisthenic exercises such as jumping jacks, jumping rope, dips, pushups and pullups. For jumping jacks, many coaches and trainers perform the bent-elbow form, in which you keep your arms bent at 90 degrees through the exercise. This maintains muscle tension in the arms. Pullups, pushups and dips are ideal for in-season workouts, since your goals are typically not adding new muscle mass, but increasing the endurance and flexibility of your existing musculature. All of these calisthenic exercises also work well in off-season workouts. Stretches are also important, especially for the arms, legs, shoulders and back. Begin and end each workout with a series of stretches that hit each of these areas.
Weight training for baseball should center mostly on developing muscle endurance, but for hitting power, you do need to develop strength. The common misconception is that strong arms lead to a powerful bat; however, the power of your swing comes from your legs, your lats, your obliques and your chest. If you're a power hitter, pulldowns, cable swings and weighted lunges will help you develop swing-related power. Shoulder presses, triceps extensions and biceps curls will help improve the speed and distance of your throw, but use a high number of reps combined with a relatively light weight to build endurance rather than bulk.