At the beginning of every baseball off-season, I see an influx of athletes who are dedicated to making the next year theirs. They do everything they can: implement nutritional strategies, follow injury-prevention plans and, of course, engage in consistent performance training.
Then it happens: the season starts and in-season baseball training falls by the wayside. Athletes neglect their nutrition, and injuries start to pop up. Back, elbow, neck and shoulder pain creep in at critical portions of the season. I've even seen athletes gain 30 pounds of muscle in the off-season, then lose 35 pounds from poor in-season training. Yikes.
You need to prioritize your health and strength during the season, so you don't lose everything you worked so hard for. Here are three tips to help you with that.
1. Eat to support your ideal body composition
Eat real food—primarily protein and veggies—and ditch processed and sugary foods. This will optimize your muscle mass and minimize body fat. Just make sure to eat the correct volume of food to support your goals.
Not sure whether you are eating to support your goals? Check out this baseball nutrition plan.
2. Take warm-ups seriously
Every day, you have the opportunity to get better before a ball is in your hands. Most teams do at least 10 minutes of dedicated warm-ups. If your team doesn't, get to the field early and perform a good warm-up—like the one listed below. This will prepare you for the work you are about to do and improve your movement mechanics, which can decrease your risk of injury.
Sample warm-up (2 rounds):
- Spider Lunge - 10/side
- Moving Inchworms - 10x
- Lateral Lunges - 10/side
- Lunge with Rotation - 10/side
- Lunge with Overhead Reach and Rotation - 10/side
3. Train heavy twice a week
Lifting heavy helps you maintain strength and muscle mass. It also primes your nervous system for long-term development. These are critical areas for performance during the season. No need for overkill, but a good regimen will keep you strong and healthy throughout the year.
Sample In-Season Baseball Training Program
- A1. Trapbar Deadlift - 3x3
- A2. Incline Bench T's - 3x10
- B1. Push-Ups with 2-second hold at top and bottom - 3x10
- B2. DB Reverse Lunge - 3x6/side
- A1. 3-Point DB Row - 4x6/side
- A2. Split Stance One-Arm Cable Column Row - 3x10/side
- B1. Kettlebell Front Squat - 3x8
- B2. One-Arm DB Farmer's Walk - 3x20 yards/side
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