Spring has sprung, which means that baseball and softball season are in full swing. Both sports require mental and physical endurance as well as careful preparation to avoid injury. As Jimmy Dugan famously said…”There’s no crying in baseball!”
With frequent practices and games, and the countless repetitions needed to ingrain proper movement mechanics of technical skills like pitching and batting, overuse injuries are common among baseball and softball players according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. But there are many exercises that can be done to help strengthen muscles to avoid these injuries and to help improve skills. The physical qualities required to be a baseball or softball player include anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity.
Strength training is the best way to gain both anaerobic power and capacity. Time spent in the gym often correlates to success on the field, because without any injuries players can play to the best of their ability. The following exercises have been chosen as the five best for baseball and softball players by Post University’s Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Jen Chmiel. Helping to demonstrate are Post University baseball and softball seniors Rupert House and Kristen Owens.
The first exercise important for baseball and softball players is the squat. This exercise can be either a front or back squat, depending on your level of comfort. Squats require strength and mobility to all different parts of the body and can help create power for both baseball and softball players.
The second exercise is the bench press. Bench press overloads the chest muscles and increases push strength. Baseball and softball players both require strong upper body strength to keep up with the throwing and hitting movements they do every single day.
The third exercise is the Romanian deadlift. This exercise strengthens hamstrings and glutes without putting too much pressure on the athlete’s knees. Having mobile hamstrings and glutes can prevent muscle pulls and tears, and can also help increase speed and agility on the field.
Medicine Ball Scoop Toss or Shot Put
The fourth exercise is the Med Ball Scoop Toss or Shot Put. These two exercises help develop power and explosion. When coming out of the box or throwing out a player, it is important to have strong, explosive muscles.
The last exercise for shoulder mobility is light weight IYT’s. IYT’s help strengthens the small muscles in the rotator cuff. Many baseball and softball players have shoulder pain in their rotator cuff, and often many require surgery. A way to avoid missing out on the season is to do these IYT’s.
Thanks to coach Jen, Rupert, and Kristen for showing us these exercises in action, as performing them regularly can lead to longer careers and more successful seasons. Now, let’s play ball!