There has been a great deal of discussion in the fitness industry as to whether or not should
you lift weights while playing baseball. Opinions range from one side who states that lifting weights will lead to increased risk of injury and overuse, while others believe it can improve performance. In this blog, I’ll discuss why and how baseball players lift weights.
Summary of Content
Should You Lift Weights While Playing Baseball?
While there are both pros and cons to lifting weights while playing baseball, it is important to understand that how much you lift weights is just as important as if you lift weights at all. Many professional baseball players incorporate significant levels of resistance training for the purpose of improving specific aspects of their game, such as increasing power or decreasing body fat percentage.
Typically, a baseball player will focus on specific muscle groups each day. For example, a baseball player may focus on the legs the morning of an off day and then concentrate on the upper body in the evening. For this reason, many professional baseball players lift weights 4-6 days per week in order to maintain good muscle gains while improving their performance.
Just as important as how much you lift is how you lift. While most people believe that lifting heavy weights will lead to overuse injuries and poor performance, it is more likely that lifting properly and performing the correct form will lead to healthy outcomes.
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Why and Objectives
Olympic style weight training also called powerlifting, is an excellent choice for baseball players because it focuses on the same muscle groups that are used during a baseball game. The end result of powerlifting training is increased power, speed, and muscle growth. Furthermore, it will improve flexibility and coordination in the body.
If you are already lifting weights to improve performance on the field, another important benefit to lifting weights is decreasing body fat percentage. This will allow you to get back into the swing of things much quicker and increase your performance in the batter’s box.
If you are not already lifting weights, or have limits on how much you can lift, another great way to increase your strength and muscle while playing baseball is through resistance bands. These rubber straps perform as a weight but are easier to recover from. Not only this, but no one notices when you’re doing push-ups with resistance bands because they don’t look like weight training exercises.
Cons to Lifting Weights While Playing Baseball
The most common risk of performing resistance training is overuse injuries. Although it is normal to experience some discomfort during the first few weeks of lifting weights, a lot of pain and soreness may be a sign that you have overused your muscles.
You should consult a physician and take some time off from exercising if you experience a lot of soreness, or pain in any particular area.
It’s also important to realize that weightlifting puts a lot of pressure on your joints.
If you experience joint pain or stiffness after weightlifting, it’s important to reduce the time and intensity of your workouts.
What Can You do?
Below is a basic sample workout for baseball players to follow. I recommend increasing the weight gradually so you do not over-train these muscle groups and risk injury. Do this program 4-5 times per week, unless otherwise noted.
Monday: Legs – Squats, Lunges, and Calf Raises.
Tuesday: Shoulders – Bench Press, Shoulder Press, and Lateral Raises.
Wednesday: Recovery Day – No Weightlifting, but do Yoga or Light Cardio.
Thursday: Arms & Abs – Bicep Curls, Triceps Extensions, and Crunches.
Friday: Legs – Squats, Lunges, and Calf Raises.
Saturday: Shoulders – Bench Press, Shoulder Press, and Lateral Raises.
Sunday: Recovery Day – No Weightlifting, but do Yoga or Light Cardio.
In-Season Training Frequency
For baseball players, frequent in-season training is important. They need to be able to perform well during the season and continue to develop strength between seasons.
These also need to be performed on a regular basis in order to maintain good muscle gains while playing baseball. The plan below will help you reach your goals of becoming stronger and more durable, without overtraining. It consists of 3 different frequency-based routines consisting of 2-3 sets for each body part. Each workout is for 3-5 days depending on when you train (e.g., training more often = more recovery days).
Day 1 – Upper Body
Day 2 – Lower Body
Day 3 – Off Day
Rest Days: 1-2 days between each workout.
Rest days are a very important part of becoming stronger and developing muscle. A few days between weightlifting workouts is recommended in order to completely recover your muscles, energy systems, and CNS (Central Nervous System). This will allow you to not only have better workouts, but also recover faster from workouts and games.
Baseball Weightlifting Tips
If you’re about to kick start your weightlifting training, here are some useful tips that you can keep in mind:
#1 Having a Proper Baseball Training Schedule
Lifting weights while playing baseball has both benefits and risks. The key is to design a proper workout regimen that will help you reach your goals of playing better and feel better over the long run.
If you are already lifting weights but would like to increase your strength, consider adding resistance bands along with weightlifting to further stimulate muscle growth. These rubber straps perform as a weight but are easier to recover from, making it easier for baseball players to monitor their progress.
#2 The Baseball Weightlifting Program
If you’re new, it’s advisable to have a 3-Day Per Week Program that can be performed 3-5 times per week on non-consecutive days. If you are currently lifting weights, it’s recommended to spend at least one day a week lifting weights and two days exercising for general fitness. This will allow you to not only have better workouts but also recover faster from workouts and games.
#3 Baseball Nutrition
There are many factors that go into baseball nutrition. What you eat before, during, and after your workouts or games can make a big difference in your health and performance.
For example, eating pre-workout meals containing protein will help replenish the muscles with glycogen. This is important because athletes have lower levels of glycogen after exercise which puts them at risk for injury.
Nutrition is also important after an intense workout or game – eating nutrient-dense foods will help you recover faster from fatigue and allow you to get back into the swing of things sooner.
To conclude, the benefits of lifting weights while playing baseball are numerous and can have a positive effect on not only your game but also your physical health. Make sure you have a resistant mindset, a proper training schedule, and a nutritious diet to increase your strength.