Every baseball player wants to start the season off strong to reap the rewards of his hard work in the off-season. But many players set themselves up for disaster by misusing workouts during the season. (Avoid these 3 in-season workout mistakes.)
Years ago it was understood that baseball workouts should be difficult during the off-season, while in-season workouts should focus more on maintenance. Problem is, baseball is unlike other sports since games are played every day in hot and humid environments for six to eight months.
The training you do during baseball season is every bit as important as, if not more important than, your off-season workouts. If you fail to challenge your muscles over six to eight months, you will lose strength, power and size as the season progresses—and increase your chance of injury. Players who don't consistently strength train will see a drop in their velocity, power and speed. It may feel like you are swinging a "wet noddle" or running in sand. (Watch Andre Ethier's arm superset.)
In-Season Baseball Strength Training
In order to maintain or improve your on-field performance, do two full-body workouts, or two upper-body and two lower-body split lifts. This largely depends on your schedule. You must also regularly perform plyometrics. Other sports, such as hockey, soccer or football, innately incorporate these types of movements, negating the need for additional plyos outside of practices and games. But in baseball, these movements are not performed frequently enough to maintain power. Training is imperative.
To maximize your workout efficiency, use complexes. These involve performing a heavy strength movement, like Squats, for five reps, followed by a similar explosive movement, like Squat Jumps, for 10 reps. Vary your sets, reps and weight used throughout the program to continually challenge your muscles.
In-Season Baseball Conditioning
Conditioning for position players should only be done on an as-needed basis. However, pitchers should incorporate anaerobic conditioning throughout the season to help them maintain their velocity and accuracy throughout games. Starting pitchers should condition three to four times per week, and relief pitchers should condition five to six times per week.
In-Season Baseball Body Maintenance
Your workouts must factor in more than strength, size and power. You must improve your mobility and flexibility to maintain your body and prevent injuries caused by repetitive movements like throwing. Use foam rollers and massage, or stretch with bands before and after workouts and games. (See pitcher and position player workout above.)