By Ethan Guevin
Note: Strength training can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. Get professional help before you start any new workout. We are not strength training experts. It is important to talk to an expert who knows you and your situation to make sure any workout program is best for you.
When used wisely, the winter off-season provides a great opportunity for you to get everything in order for the long season ahead. Despite the lull in baseball, the off-season is no time to slouch off– there is much to do. A break from baseball activity, strength building/conditioning, and a focus on schoolwork are a few items that should definitely be on the agenda.
We have already harped a lot on the importance of getting good grades (which we can’t overstate!), so in today’s blog we will shift our off-season focus to working out and rest, two things that go hand-in-hand. We won’t pretend to be workout experts, but one thing we do know is that after breaking-down your muscles with a good workout, your body requires rest to recuperate and build the muscle back up stronger. Getting proper rest and paying attention to the signs your body gives off will be HUGE in making strides towards getting better on the field, and not suffering a set-back or injury.
The line between pushing yourself to maximize your potential and not setting yourself back with overuse and injury can be thin. This is why we suggest you consult a certified strength and conditioning coach for a baseball specific workout. Proper workout routines will have you build muscle through a logical process, with different phases built in to ensure you do not run yourself into the ground. We also have 7 other suggestions listed below that will help you use the off-season to get better.
1. Take a break with no baseball activity and no heavy lifting or workouts. Talk with your coach to find a good time to do this. Take at least a few weeks off from throwing and strenuous lifting. You may not be used to hearing this, but your body needs rest.
2. Consult with a strength and conditioning coach to figure out a baseball (and hopefully position) specific workout. The workout should have different phases where the intensity changes. If you can’t find or afford a conditioning coach, ask your coach or the athletic director at your school for help in finding one who will work with you.
3. Your workouts should also work on flexibility. You can be as strong as Superman, but if your body isn’t functional for baseball purposes, all the training won’t do you any good.
4. Listen to your body. If it is telling you that it needs a break, it probably needs a break. Real bodies don’t work like the ones you see in the movies; you can work out too much and end up injured.
5. Putting up a lot of weight will hurt you if your body isn’t ready for it or your form isn’t correct. Proper form and low weight will do you more good than heavy weight and bad form every time.
6. Take injuries seriously. Especially in the off-season, you don’t want to try to rush back and risk missing time during the season.
7. When the season rolls around, your workouts should shift from strength gaining to maintaining strength.
Follow these tips for a healthy and productive off-season. Work hard but don’t overdo it and always consult a professional strength and conditioning coach when in doubt.