Spring is in full swing and baseball season is back. America’s Pastime brings an exciting time of the year: warmer weather, flowers blooming and nothing tastes quite like a hot dog fresh off of the grill at a baseball game. While the baseball diamond can be a great place of competition for all ages, it is a strenuous sport that sees many injuries year after year. Here are five excellent exercises to keep your body healthy for this year’s season.
A very popular practice amongst coaches and players, the idea of the reverse throw is to strengthen the motion so that your regular throw is even better. While it is an effective way to warm up your arm, it is also just as effective in adding a few miles per hour on your fastball. Start with one knee on the ground on the side of your throwing arm and the other knee bent at 90-degrees with your foot flat on the ground. Grab a small plyo ball with your arm stretched straight out in front of you. Drive your elbow back to throw the ball backward at a wall in a reverse motion. Keep the motion smooth and fluid, just like playing catch.
Forearm strength is essential in baseball. It impacts every aspect of the game from batting to throwing and even fielding. Farmer’s walks are a great exercise to strengthen your forearms and metacarpals — the muscles in your hands. Grab the top of a dumbbell in each hand instead of the handle for more grip strength. Let your arms hang free and hold for 30-seconds or walk 10-steps down and back.
Baseball players have very strong legs that give them the foundation to succeed in their sport. Having strong legs helps with powerful movements such as throwing, batting, and baserunning. Wall sits provide an intense leg workout without the strain of moving weight like a squat or lunge. Wall sits are very simple, just put your back against the wall and sink down into a squat position with your knees bent at 90-degrees and hold for multiple sets of 30-seconds. You don’t have to be in a gym or at one of our clinics to do wall sits, they can just as easily be done at home!
Step-ups are similar to lunges in their movement and the muscle groups that they target. Step-ups can be done with a barbell across your back, with dumbbells, kettlebells or no weight at all! Simply place a box in front of you and put one foot up on the box and one foot flat on the floor. Push yourself up onto the box only using the foot on the box to generate your power. Make sure to switch legs in either an alternating fashion or doing sets of multiple reps.
Kettlebell swings are an excellent full-body exercise that are especially great for baseball players. They require power from the hips, glutes and hamstrings which translate over to the baseball diamond when in the field, on the mound or at the plate. Start by holding a kettlebell with a comfortable weight with both hands and letting your arms hang in front of you. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, bring your hips forward in an explosive motion so that the kettlebell swings upward without your arms doing any lifting. To generate more power, be in a powerful, athletic stance by having your knees slightly bent so that you can create more force in your swing — both with a kettlebell and a baseball bat!