The Importance Of Lifting For Baseball Players
Lifting is an essential part of training for almost every sport, including baseball. Though some baseball players may turn to other exercises in order to improve their game, it is important that they also incorporate baseball lifting programs into their workout routines, both in-season and in the off-season. Lifting provides a variety of benefits that are extremely important for athletes who play baseball, including:
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved balance
- Improved bone and joint strength and flexibility
- Decreased risk of injury
In this blog, we will go further into detail about all of these benefits and why they are so important for baseball players. Additionally, we will describe some baseball lifting programs that can be incorporated into your workouts.
Benefits of Lifting Programs for Baseball Players
Though the benefits of lifting weights apply to everyone, regardless of what sport they play, there are some particular reasons why these benefits are especially important for baseball players. These benefits help to illustrate why the athletes who lift weights are particularly successful. Below, we will discuss four of the primary benefits of participating in lifting programs for baseball players.
Increased Muscle Strength
Two of the primary skills utilized in baseball are throwing and running, and both of these skills require muscular strength. When you throw a baseball, you are using the abdominal muscles, the deltoids, the latissimus dorsi, and the triceps. As such, it is important that you are engaging in lifting programs that strengthen these muscles so that you can throw both quicker and further. Additionally, running uses the core muscles, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. By strengthening these muscles, you will be able to increase the speed at which you run.
Another one of the most important parts of a baseball player’s game is their ability to hit the ball, and balance is an integral part of this skill. When an individual has good balance, they are able to control their swing with better accuracy. This is extremely important, as baseball players want to make the best contact with the ball possible. Balance can improve a player’s throwing ability, as well. By improving balance through lifting programs, baseball players are giving themselves the ability to throw the ball with greater accuracy.
Increased bone and Joint Strength and Flexibility
Though they are often overlooked, bone and joint strength and flexibility are extremely important for baseball players. Without proper bone and joint strength, the shoulder would not be able to move how it should, restricting a player’s ability to throw and catch. The flexibility of these components also permits the shoulder, and other important joints, to move and function properly.
Decreased Risk of Injury
The benefits of having a decreased risk of injury as an athlete go without saying. As an athlete, one of the most devastating parts of the sport is learning that you have an injury and that you will not be able to compete for a period of time. No athlete wants to hear this, and as such, you should do everything in your power to avoid an injury, which includes participating in lifting programs for baseball players.
Best Lifting Programs and Workouts for Baseball Players
Now that we have detailed some of the benefits of participating in a lifting program as a baseball player, we are sure that you are interested. However, we know that participating in a new workout program can be intimidating, as you may not know where to begin. Because of this, we will describe what we believe to be three of the most important and beneficial lifting workouts for baseball players.
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
The dumbbell incline bench press works the muscles in the chest, the shoulders, and the deltoids simultaneously, making this an immensely effective exercise for baseball players. All three of these muscle groups are involved in the throwing motion, and as such, baseball players should seek to strengthen them. The triceps and shoulder muscles are also involved in swinging the bat, making them particularly important to focus on. To do the dumbbell incline bench press, you need both dumbbells and an incline press. If you are unsure which weight you should use for your dumbbells, you should start using lighter weights and increase the weight until you feel that you would no longer be able to complete your repetitions correctly if you increased the weight. To begin, you should sit on the bench, holding the weights, with your elbows bent and facing downwards. You should then lift the weights straight out while keeping your wrists straight. When you have done this, bring the weights back down towards your body until your elbows are at a 45-degree angle. We recommend beginning with repetitions of 8-10 lifts. As you begin to see progress, you can either increase the weight of your dumbbells or complete more repetitions.
The Romanian Deadlift strengthens the muscles in the back of your body, all the way from your upper back down to your feet. As the Romanian Deadlift focuses on the muscles in the back, the triceps, the hamstrings, and the calves, it provides a great deal of benefits to baseball players. The muscles in the back and the triceps are involved in both throwing and hitting, and as such, strengthening these muscles helps to improve the velocity with which you can throw and hit the ball. Additionally, the hamstrings and the calves are both used when running, and if you strengthen them, you will be able to see an increase in your speed. In order to do the Romanian Deadlift, you should start with your weight in your hands and your arms straight down. You should then lower the weight to a point where your knees are only slightly bent. At this point, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. To bring the weight back up, you should move your hips forward and stand back up straight. We recommend beginning at 8-12 repetitions and then either gradually increasing the weight that you are lifting or your number of repetitions.
Though this move focuses primarily on the leg muscles, the barbell squat engages muscles in the core and the back, as well. As such, this exercise helps baseball players to swing the bat with greater speed, increase the velocity of their throws, and run quicker. Athletes from all different sports include this exercise in their workout routine, and this is due to its wide variety of benefits. In addition to having a great deal of muscular benefits, the barbell squat helps to strengthen the joints in the knees and hips. To begin this exercise, you should take the weight off of the rack and put it on the back of your shoulders. You should then step back from the rack to ensure that you have enough space for your squat. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and facing slightly away from each other. When you have assumed this stance, you are ready to begin your squat. To do this, slowly bend down while keeping your spine straight. You should bend until your hips are just below your knees. When you reach this point, you should stand back up by pressing your heels into the floor. When you stand up, your spine should remain straight. When you first start, you should try to complete between 8-10 repetitions of this move. As you progress, you can either increase how much weight you are squatting or increase your number of repetitions.
When and How Often Should You Be Lifting?
Though it is important to lift all year long to ensure that you are constantly increasing your fitness levels, there are times when you should be lifting more often and times when you should be lifting less often. Lifting programs for baseball players can take a toll on the body, and as such, they should be employed more frequently in the off-season than when you are in-season. We recommend lifting four times a week in the off-season in order to improve your strength. However, when you are in season, we recommend only lifting two times per week. This ensures that, while you are maintaining the strength that you developed by lifting weights in the off-season, you are not over-exerting yourself.
Cooldown and Recovery
Almost as important as the workout itself is the following cooldown and recovery. When you exercise, your heart rate increases, and cooldowns help to ensure that it returns to its resting rate. If you do not cool down, you are subject to dizziness, or even fainting, due to your heart rate decreasing too quickly. Additionally, skipping a cooldown could potentially lead to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS occurs when an individual experiences discomfort in their muscles 24-48 hours after a workout. This can be painful for the individual and can prevent them from being able to exercise for a few days, hindering their fitness process. Cooling down is also extremely important to ensure that your body is able to get rid of any lactic acid buildup that occurred during your workout. Lactic acid buildup can lead to feelings of soreness, which can decrease the quality of future performances.
There are many ways that you can effectively cool down after you exercise to ensure that you are getting both an efficient and safe workout. The first of these ways is to stretch statically. Stretching after a workout can help prevent injuries and increase your flexibility. Additionally, some light cardiovascular exercise can be very beneficial. We recommend either walking or doing a very light jog, either outside or on the treadmill, or doing a low-intensity routine on a stationary bike. Cooldowns should last anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes.
Another vital part of working out and achieving your goals is recovery. Though we know that as an athlete, you are motivated to continue working constantly, it is important to give your body a rest. Resting and recovering are especially important after a difficult workout, as you put your body through a great deal of stress. Recovery can help prevent injuries and ensure that whenever your next workout, your body is fully ready for the challenge.
As a baseball player, one of the most important parts of your training should be participation in a lifting program. Lifting programs for baseball players come with a variety of benefits, including increased muscle strength, improved balance, increased bone, and joint strength and flexibility, and a decreased risk of injury. We know that finding the right workout routine can be a challenge, and we hope that the examples of exercises included in this blog can be of help to you when you are training.
Be sure to check out Ryan Weiss's coaching program and his other training programs to elevate your game.