The first pitch of the new season is an exciting time for any pitcher. Unfortunately, once it is released, many pitchers start a bad habit—they stop training when the season begins.
If you give up training during the season, it's impossible to maintain off-season gains and reduce your risk of injury. Pitchers who stay committed to a program are the ones who reap huge benefits near the end of the season, when others are succumbing to fatigue and soreness.
Admittedly, the baseball season places tough demands on your body. And since your primary focus is to play, your in-season workouts must be structured differently than your off-season workouts. Every pitcher is different. For some, their schedules may only allow for one day of strength training per week. Whatever it may be, just be smart. If fatigue and soreness creep up, you may need to tone down the strength portion of your workouts and focus more on mobility and foam rolling. Here are some tips to maintain quality training.
Take Care of Your Shoulders
Your throwing arm won't protect itself, so you need to make every effort to continue your tubing and other rotator cuff exercises. This is especially true for pitchers. Take care of your arm, and it will take care of you.
Not All Exercises Are Created Equal
If you are already pressed for time, you need to get the best bang for your buck with the movements you perform during your training sessions. A solid Squat variation and Deadlift are quality choices. Remember, high intensity, low volume. That means 1-3 sets for 6-8 reps for the bigger lifts.
Hit the Legs Hard but Go Easy on the Upper Body
With your upper body, you need to be more cautious. Anything that can compromise the integrity of your shoulders should be done in moderation or not at all. Opt for Push-Up variations over a heavy Bench Press or Incline Press. Horizontal pulling exercises like Rows are great for keeping your back strong. There's nothing wrong with vertical pulling movements such as Pull-Ups, but some pitchers can develop elbow or shoulder issues with these during the season.
Foam Rolling and Mobility Work Are the Keys to Recovery
These can be done every day if the need arises. Skipping this type of work is like skipping your workouts altogether.
Sample In-Season Program
Mobility Work (every day, before lifting)
Strength Day 1
Strength Day 2
Foam Rolling (after every workout)