By Chris Moheno
Certainly you're aware of the importance of strength & conditioning for baseball. Long gone are the days of the 155 pound shortstop that barely hit above the Mendoza line. Today's game has dramatically turned into a blend of power, speed and explosiveness and if you're not performing the correct baseball exercises you'll be left behind faster than a Josh Beckett fastball.
Sadly, most are extremely confused about how to properly train for baseball. So called "experts" (who've never really trained a real athlete) dole out advice even if you don't ask for it. The mindset of most is if they've worked-out a few times in their life all of a sudden they know it all. Well, the only one that hurts is you, the individual looking for exercises that will help take your game to the next level.
I've compiled a list of Do's and Don't when selecting baseball drills. First, the Do's:
Learn the basics - learn how to properly perform all versions of the squat, deadlift, Olympic Lifts (Power Clean & Power Snatch), bench press, push press, pull-up and row. These are movement patterns that should comprise about 90% of your training. The rest is just details. If you fail to make these exercises 90% or more of your strength work, you'll fall short of your goals by a long shot.
Focus on movements, not muscle - The body does not work one muscle at a time. So why would you train that way? The exercises above help develop athleticism and the ability of the body to work as one harmonious unit. This type of development is what makes a great athlete. So don't worry about a burn or a pump, focus on moving properly.
Always aim to move fast, yet controlled - I'm sure you've heard the term slow and controlled when describing how to lift weights. Slow doesn't happen in baseball. Everything is explosive and ballistic. You're training should be that way. This happens over time. Each time you're performing baseball workouts try to move a little quicker tan the last. It's that simple. Be sure to always maintain control. A great ball player is explosive and controlled. It's VERY difficult to move a light object (bat, ball) at very high speed while under control. Some were born with this. Others have to work very hard at it. Either way, make it a focus of your training.
Perform a balanced routine - Don't simply do a few sets of bench press and bicep curls and think that will help your game. In fact if you're not doing a 3 to 1 ratio of pull to push exercises then you can just about count on an injury occurring at some point in your playing career in addition to never realizing your full potential. You must balance out the muscular imbalances baseball (and life) develop.
Train for more than 1 hour - I you're training for more than an hour you're not training all that hard or you're just talking too much. Get in, do the correct baseball training exercises and get out. It's that simple
Try and do "advanced" exercises if you're not ready - Stick to the basics. Trying to do a one-legged front squat before you can front squat twice your bodyweight will simply leave you frustrated and injured. This holds true with any exercise progression.
Listen to the so-called "experts" - Seems as though everyone's an expert in weight training. For some reason people think that if they've spent some time in the gym that gives them the right to talk as though their word is gospel. While their intentions may be good, their impact is not. Just because I've had surgery a few times doesn't make me a doctor. Stay away from these clowns.
Rely on fad's such as "plyometrics" and balance boards - Plyometrics, the way some will sell them to you, is the quickest way to get injuried and burnt out. In fact, unless you're very experienced (3-5 years) in workout routines with the correct baseball exercises, you shouldn't even think about plyo's. That is unless you want to get hurt. Also, please get off that silly balance board. It doesn't make you have better balance, but it will make you weaker because you lose all ground contact.
Overlook the importance of nutrition - Proper nutrition is vital to your health, development and performance. While some players (genetically gifted) can get away with poor nutrition for a while, it certainly will catch up to them. And, for us non genetic freaks, proper nutrition is almost as important as selecting the correct baseball exercises. As the old saying goes "You are what you eat". A simply rule to live by, "If you can't catch it, kill it or pick it, then don't eat it."
Stick to this list and you’ll not only be performing the correct exercises, you’ll be light years ahead of your competition!
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