If you are a baseball pitcher, READ BELOW to save yourself from years of stupid mentality when it comes to baseball strength training.
1. Light lifting for arms, really?
I assume when people tell you this they are generally referring to “lifting your uppers,” including your chest. First off, how do you measure what is light and what is heavy, anyway? Is there a certain percentage someone has told you? You need your arms to be powerful. Why?–because it is partly responsible for how hard you throw. Power is developing a large force in a short amount of time. You cannot train your arms, or any body part for that matter, to be powerful by lifting light weights. You develop power by lifting heavy weights in a short amount of time. Your chest needs to be concentrically powerful, meaning your pectoralis muscles need to shorten very quickly. Your biceps and shoulder external rotators need to be powerful as well. However, they need to be eccentrically powerful, meaning they need to lengthen very quickly.
2. Tubing vs free weights for arms
The difference: Tubing/bands will increase in resistance the farther you stretch it. Utilizing free weight, the weight remains constant throughout the entire range of motion you move it through. So which one do you need? Both. Vary it up. There is no right or wrong answer. Is there a best answer…Yes. One can be more effective than the other depending what you are trying to train. You may want to use bands/tubing for muscles that need to be eccentrically strengthened; sometimes its easier to do this with a band especially for the shoulder external rotators in the throwing position, with a throwing movement.
3. Working Out til you Feel Dead Syndrome
This is a ‘syndrome’ that most strength trainers and especially baseball coaches do wrong; they work their athletes until almost complete fatigue, and they do it over and over again. Done in combination with endurance training….oh. my. god…it’s terrible for you! More on that later. Only certain areas of the body need to be trained until fatigue, and it’s because they are usually worked until fatigue during a game. These areas are the posterior rotator cuff, biceps, your ‘lead leg’ hip abductors, wrist flexors, and your core. When training these muscles til fatigue it’s best to skip at least a day in between these workouts. As stated above, some of these muscles need to be eccentrically powerful too. This gets tricky to balance, and is the reason why you need expert advice to guide you through.
4. Tree-Trunk Legs
Ok. So, most people think that a larger muscle is a stronger muscle. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Your goal as a baseball pitcher is to stay lean and powerful. You do not, I repeat; DO NOT need to get ‘tree-trunk’ legs, or tree-trunk (insert body part here ____________). Your goal is to create powerful movements and do it over and over again. These massive muscled body parts are usually gained by fatiguing muscles concentrically over multiple sets, or time, until failure. You need not do this unless you want to impress the ladies more than throw harder. What are you priorities?
5. Endurance training. No No No No!
Simply stated; baseball players are not endurance athletes (period). There is no need for you to run more than 360 feet at one shot (1 lap around the bases)..the most you could ever run during a game. You need to build sprint endurance; so multiple sprints that amount to the average sprinting you could do in a game would suffice. How long do you wait before sprinting your next distance?…well about the amount of time it takes for the pitcher to get the ball back, set himself, and pitch again; probably 30-40 seconds. I suggest repeat sprints of 270ft 🙂
6. Rest days?? Off season training and In season training
Your off-season training should encompass total body strengthening and sprint conditioning, and can be performed as much as 6 days/week. Your total workout session from warm up -to- cool down should last approx 1 hour. In-season workouts should encompass power training, and again sprint training. Your goal is to maintain explosive power throughout the season for performance, and to avoid injury. Your workout from warm up -to- cool down should last no longer than 60 minutes, the power training portion lasting 30 minutes. Depending on your game schedule/pitching rotation, you may only be performing your in-season power routine 2x/week.
7. A word on in-season eccentric training…
An eccentric contraction is when your muscle lengthens as it’s still contracting. Think ‘lowering a bicep curl slowly’ or performing “negatives.” Performing this type of contraction is one of the best ways to maintain strength and power throughout your season. Many training pros will tell you not to perform eccentrics in-season because they make you sore. NEWS FLASH: They only make you sore the first time or two you perform them…even if you significantly increase your weight. Your body accommodates to this change very quickly, and results in greater strength gains/maintenance of strength and much less soreness. Feel free to perform eccentric training during your season. I know you will like your results!