In the first two parts of this series (read Part 1, Rebuild, and Part 2, Strength), we looked at the primary workouts you will do to get ready for the season. Now we focus on power training for baseball and the importance of doing the right exercises.
Power training has become more common in your average gym. No longer are med balls and Olympic lifts confined to elite facilities. Yet baseball has been slow to make power training part of its regimen.
Plyometrics, or jump training, is an important part of baseball power training, but we also must also focus on complete power development. Here are some techniques to help you make the most of your athletic abilities.
Remember the following important questions when designing and choosing the power exercises you will use in your training.
1. Are you ready yet? Is power the most important thing you need to improve? If you have trouble doing Push-Ups and Pull-Ups or are just beginning a training program, first concentrate on building a strong base of strength.
2. Is the exercise right for you? The position you play and the skills you need make a difference. For instance, it may not be a good idea for a pitcher to do Power Cleans and potentially damage his wrists or elbows. A Box Jump would make more sense.
3. Do you have a weak spot? If there is an area of power in which you are weak, prioritize it in your training. If your vertical jump is 30 inches but you can't rotate your hips quick enough to hit a baseball, your need for rotational power is of the utmost importance.
4. How much and for how long? Power training shouldn't be done to exhaustion. When you're exhausted, you can't generate as much force as you can when you're fresh. And your body won't quickly learn to move faster and with greater power.
Baseball players need plane-specific power, or the ability to generate force in different directions. Don't limit power training to movements specific to hitting and throwing. But you need to prioritize those movements in order to see dramatic changes.
Specific power exercises
General power exercises
Power training should be the first work you do after your dynamic warm-up and corrective exercises. To generate peak power, your body should be prepared to work but fresh enough to move explosively.
In the early stages of power work, stick to two sets of two exercises. Combine a general with a specific exercise, like a Vertical Jump and a Rotational Med Ball Smash.
You never want to get into high rep sets with power work. Keep power exercises to 5-8 reps, which is more than enough to gain benefit while keeping each rep powerful.
Here is an example from our first pairing:
- Sets/Reps: 2 x 6
Rotational Med Ball Smash
- Sets/Reps: 2 x 6ea
Each week you can add an additional set. Every 2-3 weeks, change the pairings to gain new benefits.
If you are a younger athlete or new to training for power, the general exercises will teach your body how to create great all-over power, regardless of plane of movement. Doing any power training improves the entire body.
Specific power training will carry over to your performance on the field the most. It will translate all the strength you have built in the offseason to useable power.
If you have been following this series, you should now be able to correct imbalances, add strength, improve mobility and stability, and learn to use your improved body for greater power. Next up—speed, taking all the new benefits you've gained and turning them into speed you can use to perform on the field.
- Guidelines for Your In-Season Baseball Workout
- How to Construct a Baseball Workout
- Adrian Gonzalez's Workout Overview
- Baseball Weight Training: A Beginner's Guide
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