A good baseball player needs to have an insane amount of core strength, and this should be easy to believe. After all, baseball involves heavy use of both the upper and lower body. Thus, an athlete who concentrates too much on one or the other is likely to develop a weak game in some areas. With that in mind, we are going to delve into this topic to show you seven exercises that will help you to become a bigger, more muscular, and (hopefully) more dominant baseball player.
What Muscles Are Most Important For Baseball
As we already mentioned, the muscles of the core are probably the most important overall. This means that your exercises should focus most on the abdomen, trunk, and hips. Both pitching and hitting require a twist of the torso to one extent or another. Think about the wind-up motions that are used in both of these positions to get a better idea of what we mean.
In such a large and twisting motion, the muscles of the core will be the main drivers that keep the whole process going. However, your arms are also very important to the power of your swing. Arm strength can also make a big difference in the speed and accuracy of your pitch. As with any projectile, a baseball travels more accurately when it is hurled at a greater speed.
The shoulders, forearms, and wrists generate the majority of power that is needed for a baseball bat swing. While the biceps and triceps do play a certain role, and you want to train those a little bit just to avoid an imbalance, your arm workouts should be focused on the shoulders, forearms, and wrists.
Leg power will come into the game when running from base to base, and especially when playing outfield. Once that ball goes flying, the contest of power is over, and the contest of speed has begun. Thus, we would recommend sprinting rather than jogging or endurance running, as you need to develop explosive running power that can run down an opponent at a moment’s notice.
Seven Strength Exercises For Baseball Players:
While there are many good options out there, we think that these seven exercises will make a great and simple routine that anyone can do to improve their baseball skills. You can do these exercises in any order that you like.
1. Alternating Seated Leg Raises
This is a very simple exercise that does a great job of burning up the entire core. It offers many of the same benefits as sit-ups with a lower risk of injury overall. Basically, you sit on the ground (or on a chair, bench, etc.) and raise your legs. The height is up to you, but a large motion isn’t always better. It’s better to isolate the range of motion that gives the best burn, ensuring maximum effectiveness per workout.
In this variation of the seated leg raise, you place a kettlebell or some other obstacle in front of you. Each time you lower your legs, alternate sides on the obstacle. So, for instance, your first rep with end with your feet on the right side of the kettlebell, and then you would raise them over the kettlebell and bring them down on the left side. Go back and forth until your limit is reached.
It should be noted that there are many variations of the leg raise, and pretty much all of them are great core exercises. Some other people like to use a variation in which you sit on a table and grab the edge with your hands. In this variation, you bring the legs up until they form a 90-degree angle with the rest of the body, making them a little more of a challenge.
You couldn’t ask for a better compound exercise than the burpee. A lot of people can’t even do ten of these things, as they are one of the most strenuous exercises out there. Some people will even add a pull-up to make them even harder.
You start in a normal standing position, and then quickly drop down to a push-up position. Your hands and feet should hit the floor at about the same time, and your back should remain straight. Continue the downward motion into a push-up, coming up again with a bound. This bound should take you all the way back up to your feet, where you will immediately do a quick and explosive vertical jump.
One important aspect of this exercise is the placement of your feet as you retract them before coming upward. Originally, this exercise was done with the feet inside the hands, creating an awkward sort of squat. As this was found to place a little too much strain on the lower back, most people now choose to place the feet outside the hands.
3. Overhead Shoulder Presses
Overhead shoulder presses are one of the most effective ways to isolate the muscles of the shoulder. If you want delts of steel, this is not an exercise to ignore. The basic idea of it is simple: Grab a barbell or some dumbbells and lift them over your head. However, there are a lot of ways in which a person can go wrong.
First, some people tend to do these as a seated exercise, but this isn’t the best way. Certain posture problems and spine problems can result from lifting in this unnatural position. The human body is meant to do this kind of lifting while standing, so don’t get too comfortable.
The spacing of the hands (or dumbbells) is also important. When you change the spacing of your hands, you are changing the muscles that will be worked. That’s why some people prefer closely-spaced bench presses (which are also a great shoulder exercise, by the way!).
To maintain good body alignment, it is recommended that your shoulder press should be spaced in such a way as to allow a 90-degree bend of the angle. The elbows should be forward and aligned with the hips with the wrists straight and the spine neutral.
4. Bar Hanging
This is kind of like a pull-up but is much simpler. Instead of hanging from a bar and pulling yourself up, you simply hang there for as long as possible. This is a great endurance exercise, but it is great for developing the entire upper body at one time.
Like the burpee, this is a highly compound exercise which should give you a great burn in many places. It’s especially good for those who can’t do a pull-up. By practicing this one for a while, you should be able to learn.
One little trick to remember is the idea of “bending the bar.” When you are holding the bar, apply a twisting motion, as if you were trying to bend the bar in two. While you probably can’t bend or break the bar, it will impart a twisting motion to the wrists and create a more stable grip. This allows you to hang longer and get a better workout.
5. Dumbbell Wrist Rotations
If you want strong wrists and forearms, this exercise allows you to get them. Sit down in a comfortable chair with a dumbbell in each hand. Your elbows should be bent at about 90 degrees, and your back should be more or less straight. Hold the dumbbells palm-up in each hand, resting the backs of your forearms on your knees.
Now, all you do is curl the wrist upward. The motion is very small, but it is very rough and will make your lower arms look like those of Popeye’s larger brother. One common mistake to avoid is improper arm angle. If you extend your arms too far, you allow your shoulder muscles to do some of the work for you, and that isn’t the point of this exercise. We’ve already got other exercises to work your shoulders, so that would be superfluous.
Make sure your arms form a 90-degree angle and that the weights don’t hang too far in front of your knees. By maintaining good body alignment, you can isolate your lower arms in a way that few other exercises allow.
You couldn’t possibly ask for a simpler exercise than this. You get into a push-up position and hold it for as long as you can. Some people claim that this exercise is a total-body workout, but that’s not entirely true. While this is a great compound exercise, it mainly focuses on the core. As an ab workout, you couldn’t ask for a better one.
The hardest thing about this workout is keeping your back straight. In general, a plank should be performed for somewhere between 30 seconds and 5 minutes. After about 40 seconds, most people will find that their back wants to cave inward and drag them down. To deal with this, you have to flex all the muscles of your core in order to keep the spine straight.
Because of this, planking tends to correct a lot of posture problems. Modern life often forces us to sit in chairs for very long periods, and this can lead to a variety of spine deformations. Just a few minutes of planking each day is a great way to hold off this problem.
7. Weighted Bird Dog
This exercise is named because it puts you in a position that is reminiscent of a hunting dog. Dogs that are trained to hunt birds will often find a downed bird for their master and will point in the general direction of the target. Visualize this kind of thing when you do this exercise, and it might help you to move a little more naturally.
To do the bird dog exercise, you start on all fours like a dog. Then, you kick one leg backward and upward, almost like a tail that sticks out. At the same time, the opposite hand points forward as the arm is extended. When we say “opposite,” we mean that if the left leg goes back, the right arm is extended and vice versa.
This is a relatively hard exercise, but it’s not good enough to give a high-level baseball player the level of exertion that they need to improve their core strength. Because of all the torso twisting and crunching, this one will do a great job of lighting up that core and preparing you for batting and pitching.
For this article, we have tried to focus only on strength training, as there are already plenty of other articles out there on the subject. Most of them, however, focus on mental concepts and techniques. Those things are important, but our objective today is to help you get pumped up properly. We recommend that you try our seven-step workout for at least a week and see how it works for you. While you’re taking our advice, we would also advise you to follow us on Facebook using the button below.
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