Everyone wants to get bigger, stronger and faster. Everyone wants the killer body that girls flock toward. Everyone wants to be the best athlete in his or her school. And lastly, everyone wants to succeed in what they do. Baseball players are a different breed, however.
Everywhere you look, there are weight training programs that are advertised to help you increase bat speed or throwing power. Some of these coveted programs can really hinder a ballplayer's performance on the field. Many coaches do not allow their athletes to do anything besides for what they believe is the right way to train.
Some of these coaches actually know what they are talking about, while others have no clue and just do it for the extra money. In this article, I will take a look at some common baseball player workout myths and examine some beneficial exercises and drills. Just in time for the season!
Rumor: It is pointless for a baseball player to squat.
Truth: Some coaches preach this. They say, never in baseball does a player make such a movement. It may have its place in football but certainly not baseball. If your coach tells you this, tell him he is WRONG. Squatting is a core exercise that helps strengthen the legs, especially the quadriceps. Your quadricepses are one of the most important muscles in use in a game. Take a look at Bartolo Colon.
Although only 5-foot-7, he has legs the size of tree trunks. These enormous legs help him push off the mound and hurl the ball at speeds sometimes over 100 mph. Squats also help strengthen your hamstring. Your hamstring is another critical muscle in a baseball player's physique. When you run to a base, the main muscle working is the hamstring. Strengthen this muscle, and your base-to-base times will drop. As you can see, the squat is not a bad exercise for players but actually an essential one.
Rumor: You have to be big to hit the ball far.
Truth: While overall strength helps any athlete, being big does not necessarily transfer to the diamond. You may say, well look at Barry Bonds or Jason Giambi, they are enormous and put up gaudy numbers each season. My reply, look at Mickey Mantle. When compared to Mark McGwire, "The Mick" weighed an astounding 55 pounds less and gave up nearly six inches in height.
If this were a boxing match, Mantle would get clobbered. However, this is baseball and size does not matter. In Mark McGwire's career, he failed to hit a homerun more than 550 feet.
The undersized Mickey Mantle hit eight balls over 550 feet and one that reached 734 feet. And NO, he did not use a corked-bat. You will find examples for either case that it either does or does not matter how big you are. Nevertheless, I tend to lean toward the side that says it does not matter.
Rumor: To get a strong throwing arm, I have to do a lot of bicep work.
Truth: The bicep is in the arm, yes. The process of throwing a baseball greatly requires the bicep, NO. If you look at any bicep exercise, you will notice in one way or another, the muscle is worked by bending at the elbow and bringing your hand toward your shoulder.
Tell me when you have either thrown a ball or taken a swing in this motion. If you have, you probably were not successful in it. The truth is, while a bulging bicep looks good on the beach, it does not translate on the ball field. As a matter of fact, the triceps and the forearms are the most important muscles in the arm. The triceps account for about 70% of your upper-arm.
Every swing you take, you extend your arm and flex your triceps. Having well-developed triceps will build explosion to your swing and to your arm. Having big triceps will also make your biceps bigger and make your arms look good for the beach. Having a strong forearm helps your game tremendously.
Many major league baseball players do wrist and forearm curls daily. When the bat meets the ball, your wrist absorbs most of the blow. A strong forearm meets the ball and drives through it. When you throw a baseball, the last part of the motion is the bending of the wrist. Developing a strong forearm assists in the power at the end of the throwing motion.
The Ball Player's Exercise Workout
Day 1: Legs and Abs.
Day 2: Arms and Chest
Day 3: Shoulders and Back
As you can see, I stress high repetitions. This is especially important for pitchers that throw 50-125 pitches per game.
Drills To Help Your Game
30-yard Dash - Many uninformed coaches advocate running laps around the field. I may be misinformed, but I have never ran ¼ mile during any particular game. To increase your speed, you need to practice what you will do on the field. By running 30 yards, you mimic the base-to-base run.
Throwing With A Weighted Ball - By throwing with a heavier ball, you strengthen your shoulder and more importantly your rotator cuff. When you pick up a regulation ball it will feel lighter and you will be able to throw it farther. The weighted ball works in the same way a heavy warm-up bat works.
Long Toss - Long Toss is a proven way to strengthen the arm. Humans are very adaptive by nature. If you practice throwing the ball far, your arm will get stronger and be able to reach the distance without much effort. Do long toss every other day. If your arm is sore, wait and do it every third day.
The information and exercise in this article will bring your game to the next level. Make sure to avoid coaches who are not educated in training and/or have not done their fair share of research. Remember, although baseball may seem all upper-body, the real power and strength lies in your core and legs. Also remember, repetition is the key to success!
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