While baseball games may appear to be relatively unchallenging physically, baseball players are required to be agile, precise, and powerful. Unlike other sports, the primary activities (batting and throwing) in baseball take place on a rotational plane of movement and are explosive in nature. Personal trainers will typically fine-tune a workout for each individual baseball player, but all baseball workouts focus on developing and strengthening one’s core, hip, leg, and arm muscles.
Ideally, a baseball player will be able to repeatedly perform at maximum power with limited rest between exertions. In baseball games, the act of getting and staying on base requires much stop-and-go running in a multiple range of directions. Because of this, sprinting is the ideal way to train for base running and fielding. With your trainer, find an open and flat stretch of space. It should be at least 90 feet in length, as that's how far apart the individual bases are. Either physically or mentally, mark a spot as your goal and begin running as fast as you can. Lift your legs high while striding, as though they are two vigorously pumping pistons. Pump your arms hard, yet leave them loose and swinging only at your sides; never across your body. Rather than clenching your hands, cup them. Your abdomen must be kept erect, and breathing needs to be deep and natural. Repeat 10x, with a 30 second rest between each sprint.
Batting requires the efficient transfer of force through the body. The legs and hips initiate the swing, then transfer power through the core muscles to provide rotational speed for the torso, and finally through the arms to make contact between the baseball bat and the ball. Muscular balance is essential to the efficient transfer of force from the lower body to the upper (this is also known as the kinetic chain principle), and is the best way to utilize the physical exertion in a swing. Developing hip and torso strength through rotational exercise is a must, and should be achieved through resistance training. Simple tools and machines at your gym such as cables and pulleys, medicine balls, and dumbells are most effective. Your lats, forearms, and tricepts also need special attention, as they continue acceleration through the baseball bat and finally to the ball. Bench presses, pull-ups, squats, and resistance exercises will get these muscles where they need to be and improve your game. All the momentum developed from the first stages of your swing should be manifested in an explosive burst of power when contact with the ball is made. Batting practice with your trainer or at your local batting cages is vital to improving a smooth transfer of power through your body and creating muscle memory for baseball games.
Throwing entails the utilization of most muscles used in batting. Strong leg, hip, and core muscles are the foundation for a good throw. The vitality of rotational resistance training (as mentioned in the previous paragraph) cannot be stressed enough; the core, torso, and obliques not only determine how well a baseball player will bat, but how well they will throw. As with batting, power is derived from the ground up, yet instead of ending at the forearm, goes a bit farther and extends into the hand. Arm exercises using heavy loads, such as a medicine ball, will develop throwing power. A throwing progression exercise with your trainer is a good way to utilize the medicine ball and develop your strength and endurance. Begin a short distance from your trainer, and throw the medicine ball back and forth. After you've thrown and caught 3x, take a step back from eachother and repeat. Training with lighter loads will increase the velocity of your throws. A fast-paced game of catch with your trainer, while paying special attention to technique, will build your skill level and strengthen your lower arm.
If you're a new baseball player, it is important to have a few key pieces of equipment. Baseball bats, baseball gloves, batting gloves, batting helmets, and equipment bags are readily available at all super stores as well as specialty sports stores. These items are well worth the money; vigorous training can be useless if you're using equipment that was made for someone else. Breaking in baseball gloves is a notoriously daunting task for all, taking several months to even years. Baseball gloves are best broken through use, but there are a couple tricks to speeding the process up. Grab the sides of your glove and work them back and forth, bending the leather every which way to loosen the leather. Grab a ball and throw it into your mit repeatedly (this can easily be done while watching television). There is some controversy over using leather softening agents. Some say baseball gloves absorb softening agents thus making them heavier, others say the agents will wear out the leather quicker. Despite the claims, softening agents are widely used and are quite helpful. Vasoline, special glove oils, saddle soap, baby oil, and shaving cream are some products well-known for softening baseball gloves. Massage the product in, and continue throwing your ball into the glove. When not in use, it's helpful to put the product on the glove, place the ball in the pocket, and tie a big rubber band around the outside.