Bulking Up For Baseball
By: Evan Waters
Everyone wants to get bigger, stronger, and faster. Everyone wants the killer
body that girls go flocking towards. Everyone wants to be the best athlete in
his or her school. And lastly, everyone wants to succeed in what they do.
Baseball players are a different breed, however.
Everywhere you look, there are weight training programs that are advertised to
help you increase bat speed or throwing power. However, some of these coveted
programs can really hinder a ballplayer's performance on the field. Many
coaches do not allow their athletes to do anything besides for what they
believe is the right way to train.
Some of these coaches actually know what they are talking about, while others
have no clue and just do it for the extra money. In this article, I will take
a look at some common baseball player workout myths and examine some
beneficial exercises and drills. Just in time for the season!
Rumor: It is pointless for a baseball player to squat.
Truth: Some coaches preach this. They say, never in baseball does a player
make such a movement. It may have its place in football but certainly not
baseball. If your coach tells you this, tell him he is WRONG. Squatting is a
core exercise that helps strengthen the legs, especially the quadriceps. Your
quadricepses are one of the most important muscles in use in a game. Take a
look at Bartolo Colon.
Although only 5'7, he has legs the size of tree trunks. These enormous legs
help him push off the mound and hurl the ball at speeds sometimes over 100mph.
Squats also help strengthen your hamstring. Your hamstring is another critical
muscle in a baseball player's physique. When you run to a base, the main
muscle working is the hamstring. Strengthen this muscle, and your base-to-base
times will drop. As you can see, the squat is not a bad exercise for players
but actually an essential one.
Rumor: You have to be big to hit the ball far.
Truth: While overall strength helps any athlete, being big does not
necessarily transfer to the diamond. You may say, well look at Barry Bonds or
Jason Giambi, they are enormous and put up gaudy numbers each season. My
reply, look at Mickey Mantle. When compared to Mark McGwire, "The Mick"
weighed an astounding 55 pounds less and gave up nearly six inches in height.
If this were a boxing match, Mantle would get clobbered. However, this is
baseball and size does not matter. In Mark McGwire's career, he failed to hit
a homerun over 550 feet.
The undersized Mickey Mantle hit eight balls over 550 feet and one that
reaches 734 feet. And NO, he did not use a corked-bat. You will find examples
for either case that it either does or does not matter how big you are.
Nevertheless, I tend to lean towards the side that says it does not matter.
Rumor: To get a strong throwing arm, I have to do a lot of bicep work.
Truth: The bicep is in the arm, yes. The process of throwing a baseball
greatly requires the bicep, NO. If you look at any bicep exercise, you will
notice in one way or another, the muscle is worked by bending at the elbow and
bringing your hand towards your shoulder.
Tell me when you have either thrown a ball or taken a swing in this motion. If
you have, you probably were not successful in it. The truth is, while a
bulging bicep looks good on the beach, it does not translate on the ball
field. As a matter of fact, the triceps and the forearms are the most
important muscles in the arm. The triceps account for about 70% of your
Every swing you take, you are extending your arm and flexing your triceps.
Having well-developed triceps will build explosion to your swing and to your
arm. Having big triceps will also make your biceps bigger and make your arms
look good for the beach. Having a strong forearm helps your game tremendously.
Many major league baseball players do wrist and forearm curls daily. When the
bat meets the ball, your wrist absorbs most of the blow. A strong forearm
meets the ball and drives through it. When you throw a baseball, the last part
of the motion is the bending of the wrist. Developing a strong forearm assists
in the power at the end of the throwing motion.
The Ball Player's Exercise Workout
Day 1: Legs and Abs.
Squat: 4 sets of 15 reps
Stiff-Leg Dead lifts: 3 sets of 12 reps
Hamstring Curl: 3 sets of 12 reps
Leg Extension: 2 sets of 10 reps
Walking Lunge: 2 sets of 20 steps
Leg Lifts: 1 set of 30 reps
Crunches: 2 sets of 15 reps
Oblique Twists: 1 set of 25 reps
Reverse Crunches: 1 set of 30 reps
Close-Grip Bench Press: 4 sets of 8 reps
Flies: 2 sets of 12 reps
Tri Pushdowns: 3 sets of 10 reps
Skull Crushers: 2 sets of 12 reps
Overhead Dumbbell Extension: 3 sets of 10 reps
Tri Pull downs: 2 sets of 8 reps
Forearm Curls: 4 sets of 10 reps
Wrist Curls: 4 sets of 10 reps
Bent rows: 3 sets of 15 reps
Back Extensions: 3 sets of 25 reps
Wide Grip Pull-ups: 1-Failure
Lateral Raises: 2 sets of 12 reps
Machine Rows: 2 sets of 8 reps
Cuban Press: 3 sets of 12 reps
Drills To Help Your Game
30-yard Dash - Many uninformed coaches advocate running laps around the field.
I may be misinformed, but I have never ran ¼ mile during any particular game.
To increase your speed, you need to practice what you will do on the field. By
running 30 yards, you mimic the base-to-base run.
Throwing With A Weighted Ball - By throwing with a heavier ball, you
strengthen your shoulder and more importantly your rotator cuff. When you pick
up a regulation ball it will feel lighter and you will be able to throw it
further. The weighted ball works in the same way a heavy warm-up bat works.
Long Toss - Long Toss is a proven way to strengthen the arm. Humans are very
adaptive by nature. If you practice throwing the ball far, your arm will get
stronger and be able to reach the distance without that as much effort. Do
long toss every other day. If your arm is sore, wait and do it every third
The information and exercise in this article will bring your game to the next
level. Make sure to avoid coaches who are not educated in training and/or have
not done their fare share of research. Remember, although baseball may seem
all upper-body, the real power and strength lies in your core and legs. Also
remember, repetition is the key to success!