Summer baseball workout program by Joe Kessler, strength and conditioning coach for the Cleveland Indians.
What Matters Now
Even if you're playing summer ball, you can't slack off in the weight room. Your challenge is to train in a way that maintains or slightly improves your strength instead of breaking it down.
What This Program Will Do for You
Athlete training sessions often turn into bodybuilding workouts, where people lift just to lift. This program will maintain or increase your full-body strength and improve your mobility over the course of the summer—not build big, bulky muscles.
Since you have games and practices on your schedule, you can't spend hours upon hours in the gym. Your body will break down if you don't give it a chance to recover, so the program calls for only two workouts per week.
Each routine is broken up into four circuits, which work your entire body. The first circuit starts with power moves, then you progress to strength and core work. You won't find traditional core exercises, but many moves work the core by incorporating only one arm or leg.
After you complete the plan, your strength, power and mobility should at least match what they were at the end of your off-season program. You may even increase your hitting power, throwing velocity and speed, but that's not your primary goal. Most important, your body will be less susceptible to injury.
Key Tips for Success
Complete each cluster as one set, and use the stretching component as an opportunity to recover before the next set. Avoid idle recovery time. Moving the entire time improves your conditioning.
Always use a weight that you're comfortable with. If you're doing sets of five and you think you can do 10 reps, then add weight. Don't go too heavy, but push yourself and make steady progress. If you struggle with the final rep, there's no shame in lowering the weight.
Finally, practice, practice, practice. The program allows for sufficient recovery so you can practice and perform the reps needed to master your skills.
Check out the full 2014 Summer Training Guide.
Featured Baseball Exercises
Split-Squat Jumps: Increases power in each leg, critical for driving out of your ready stance to make a defensive play on the ball.
Alternating Kettlebell Bench Press: Improves chest and arm strength with minimal stress on the shoulders.
Med Ball Kneeling Side Toss: Builds core rotational power needed for hitting and throwing. Plus, it strengthens your weak-side muscles.
STACK Track Summer Training Guide
More Baseball Exercises
3-Way Med Ball Slam
Perform a Med Ball Slam to the left, center and right.
Standing Single-Arm Row
Stand with your feet staggered with your leg opposite of your rowing arm in back. Keeping your core tight, pull the cable handle to your chest.
Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Sit on the ground with your upper back resting against a bench. Bend your right knee and position your feet flat on the ground, with your opposite hip and knee at a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your right glute to extend your hips to the ceiling to form a straight line between your shoulders and knees. Lower slowly to the start position.
Floor Ys and Ts
Lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Extend your arms overhead to form a 'Y' with your hands straight and thumbs pointed up. Raise your hands in the air as far as range of motion allows, and then lower to the starting position. Bring your arms to your sides to form a 'T' with your body and repeat. Continue in an alternating fashion.
Med Ball Kneeling Side Toss
Kneel with your left side facing a wall about 5 feet away. Hold a med ball at your right hip. Rotate your core and throw the med ball against the wall with an underhand toss. Catch the med ball off the bounce and repeat.
Start with one leg behind the other. Jump up and to the side, using your arms to generate momentum. Land on your opposite leg, allowing your elevated leg to travel behind you. Immediately jump to the opposite side.
Half-Kneeling Quad Stretch to Running Stretch to World's Greatest Stretch to Split Hamstring Stretch.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Have a partner positioned behind you push you forward. Decelerate into a Forward Lunge. Immediately jump up and land with both feet.
Balance on one leg with your opposite arm straight overhead. Keeping your body in a straight line, hinge at your hips to bend forward until your body is parallel to the ground.
Lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Bring your arms to your sides and bend your elbows to form an 'L' with your hands straight and thumbs pointed up. Raise your hands in the air as far as range of motion allows and then lower to the starting position.
Half-Kneeling Cable Chop
Adjust the cable machine to the high position. Assume a half-kneeling position with the cable machine next to your left side and hold the rope attachment at your left shoulder. Keeping your core tight, drive the rope attachment to your right hip. Slowly rotate to the starting position.
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