If you want to energize your game, gain more overall power, increase your running speed, and reduce your chances of injury, you need to develop a training program that will power-up your game. Read on to learn how.

I. Benching & Baseball Don’t Always Mix
Baseball is a game of explosive power, not brute strength. Baseball requires you to stop, start, react and explode. You need to train your body to be strong at a variety of angles. Standard weight lifting techniques (such as benching, shoulder presses and curls) won’t do a whole lot to improve your baseball/softball performance. Why? Because the strength you develop from general weight lifting contributes very little to actual on-field performance. Read on and I’ll explain why.

II. Train for the Game
Baseball is about speed, explosive power, agility and endurance. Like most other sports, it involves body quickness. When playing ball, when was the last time you pushed something heavy off your chest (especially while laying down), or lifted something heavy over your head (while sitting)? See what I’m getting at? A bigger chest, arms or shoulders doesn’t equate to more home runs, stolen bases or a faster throw. You need to train your muscles to perform the movements that make up baseball. This type of training is called sports-specific resistance training. Basically it involves imitating the muscle and joint movements that make up baseball skills - like hitting, throwing, catching and running.

III. Core Training is Key
Core muscles, such as the stomach and lower back, play the biggest role in baseball. Think of your core muscles as the car engine and your legs as the wheels. If your engine is not tuned -up or your tires are flat, how fast do you think that car will go? Same thing with your body, if your stomach and leg muscles are weak and get tired easily, how are you going to generate the quickness and power at bat or on the field?

IV. How to Play with Power
In order to make those big plays you need to pay with power. Throwing, hitting, and running are short-burst, high velocity, ballistic movements that require tremendous physical force and power. Small increases in your ability to generate power in your wrists, forearms, shoulders, quads, glutes and calves can make a huge difference in your overall game.

V. General Strength Training Guidelines for Baseball:

1. Vary your workouts and training equipment - use free weights, body weight, medicine balls, and tubing.
2. Avoid over the head pressing movements with heavy weights (risky for the shoulders).
3. Train your lower body with heavier weights.
4. Train your upper body with lighter weights.
5. Never forget to train the core of the body (abs, hips, glutes and lower back).
6. Take special care to strengthen your rotator cuff shoulder muscles using light dumbbell weights.

If you’re looking for the kind of peak conditioning that will help you play longer, harder and make those big plays late in the game, you need to develop more power behind your game.

*This article was prepared by Len Glassman, Nationally Certified Personal Trainer and Head Partner at Personal Best Fitness Center in Garwood, New Jersey. Personal Best specializes in sports specific, goal-oriented training of athletes of all ages and abilities. Len can be reached at 908-789-3337, or you can check out Personal Best’s Website at www.pb-fitness.com

Author's Bio: 

PERSONAL TRAINER/FACILITY OWNER - Certified Personal Trainer and Health Nutritionist with over 20 years of physical fitness experience. Facility owner/co-founder of Personal Best Fitness, a professional personal training and Pilates facility.

HEATH ADVISOR, WELLNESS & LIFESTYLE CONSULTANT - Lecturer, advisor, motivational speaker and health consultant. Creator of interactive, web-based exercise and lifestyle video and audio programming.