Baseball and strength training go hand in hand. Sometimes that relationship is good (stronger guys improve the quality of play and entertainment of the game) and sometimes it’s not good (the steroid era in baseball). There is no doubting though that strength is a huge advantage in baseball. Whether you are trying to hit more homeruns, improve your fastball, improve your speed on the bases or just trying to avoid injuries in what can be a grueling a schedule, strength is the common factor in all of these attributes.
Lets brush aside the players who take shortcuts to getting strong (we are all aware of the dangers of steroids) and look at what you need to work on this offseason to make you a better player next spring. Below is a very very brief overview on how we develop our baseball athletes at Tempus.
Maximal Strength – For those players who have never trained with weights in the offseason before chances are you will have the strength of someone resembling Richard Simmons. In order to reap the benefits of speed and power training you need to get strong first. What’s the point of being able to hit the ball if you don’t have the strength to explode through your hips and make sure that ball carries past the infield? An engine can’t turn without some serious cranking power. There is a reason all the homerun hitters can bench press cars and have forearms the size of some people legs.
To get maximal strength you need to stick to the basics. There is a huge element of programming involved in order to make sure you don’t overtrain and get maximum results but just now that this all rotates around basic compound movement such as the squat, deadlift, bench press. Not only will these exercises make you strong but they will leave you without weak points as you are working your whole body including your “core”. Most athletes in their first offseason will not move beyond this phase yet their results on the field next season will vastly improve.
Explosive Power – Now that you are strong we need to find a way to express that power explosively. It takes less then a tenth of a second to swing a bat or throw a pitch. If you are only moving weight slowly you may be strong as hell but your muscles and tendons will have no idea how use all that strength quickly. In this phase we do a lot of Olympic lifts and do them quickly while using a lighter weight, we also incorporate a lot of band work on our bench press, squatting and deadlifts to force your body to use maximum power. Again, programming is a huge factor in your results. It would take a few books to describe programming and I don’t have that kind of time unless a publisher wants to throw me some cash for it (anyone out there a publisher?)
Mobility, Prehab – All the strength and power in the world isn’t going to do anything if your muscles are tighter then (insert joke here). We like to spend a good 20 mins at the end of a session on mobility exercises and Active Release therapy (doing this at the end aids in recovery, we still do warmups though don’t worry)
Conditioning – Short sprints, short sprints, short sprints! Everything in baseball is short and fast so why jog for an hour? Push a prowler, drag a sled, work up to sprints. Teach your body to rev up and explode quickly and you’ll be a demon on the basepaths, on the mound and in the bedroom (wait?! what?!).
As you can see strength and conditioning is a huge factor in performing for baseball. Sports have become so competitive that if you don’t work on your strength in the offseason you will be left behind next spring when everyone reports to camp. A great offseason program also demonstrates that you can get amazing results without taking shortcuts and dealing with the dangers of steroids.
Now that you’ve seen how valuable a program can be you should probably sign up with Tempus Performance for our offseason baseball program (I gave you free content let me get my plug in). We will make you stronger, faster and a lot better player come springtime. Feel free to email me at email@example.com for more info!