by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute
Tid Bits of Info.
- The fastest baseball pitch ever recorded was 106 mph.
- The pitcher’s mound is 60 feet 6 inches away from home plate.
- The batter’s average bat speed is approximately 70 mph.
- Baseball bats weigh between 32 – 36 ounces.
- Seek the advice of a Physical Therapist to prepare yourself for the upcoming baseball season.
During the winter months, baseball players spend time preparing for the upcoming season. Baseball requires conditioning of the entire body, which helps improve performance and decrease injuries during the upcoming season. While not all injuries can be prevented, properly conditioning the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems greatly enhances the chances of playing the game without getting injured.
Baseball conditioning trains players for throwing, running and batting. This involves the entire body. The act of throwing a baseball requires the arm to move at a high velocity in the over-head or above shoulder plane of motion. This motion places a tremendous strain on the shoulder and elbow joints. If the body is not conditioned well, the strain will lead to an injury. The ability to throw a ball far or with force and velocity begins with lower extremity and core strength. The conditioning program for a throwing athlete must include a comprehensive lower extremity and core exercise routine. The actual strength of the throwing arm muscles is possibly the least important aspect of the conditioning program.
Hitting a ball is one of the most difficult tasks in sports. Obviously great hand-eye coordination is needed to be successful, but if the body is not conditioned properly, the strength needed to hit the ball might not be present. The strength to hit a ball begins in the core and lower extremities. The high velocity rotational motion that occurs when someone swings a bat in an attempt to hit the ball produces a tremendous amount of torque in the spine. The ability to hit a ball “with power” and swing a bat with the velocity that is needed when the ball is pitched at a high speed and not cause an injury to the musculoskeletal system is dependent upon proper conditioning of the entire musculoskeletal system.
There are several exercises that can address the needs of baseball players in the pre-season training period. If you have any questions on the proper way to perform the exercises, seek the advice of a Physical Therapist. They are licensed healthcare professionals that are trained to educate on the proper way to perform exercises and activities that will enhance your capability to avoid an injury. Physical Therapists can evaluate and treat you without a doctor’s prescription.
Recommended Exercises for Baseball Conditioning
Core Exercises: Planks, side planks, medicine ball chop, torso rotations in a single plane, Theraball planks, Quadruped Superman
Lower Extremity Exercises: Squats, lunges, leg press, hamstring curls, Theraball hamstring curls.
Upper Extremity Exercises: Bench press, Flies, Bicep curls, straight arm flexion, abduction and scaption, Bench press with a plus (Serratus Anterior), Internal Rotation with Theraband (elbow against torso and at 90 degrees of abduction , External rotation with Theraband ( at 90 degrees of abduction) Prone weight drop, Reverse flies, Squeeze a stress ball, wrist curls into flexion and extension, resisted supination/pronation, wrist rolls
Cardiovascular conditioning: You should perform some kind of cardiovascular exercise daily or a minimum of 5x per week. The minimum exercise session should be 30 minutes long and your goal should be to maintain a heart rate of 70% of your maximum heart rate (220 – your age = approximately your max. heart rate). You should perform distance running and sprinting to help prepare your lower extremities for the upcoming season.
Discuss your program with a Physical Therapist for help in deciding which areas of your body are in need of more exercises to prepare for the rigors of the baseball season. Your Physical Therapist can prescribe frequency per week, number of repetitions and sets to perform and the amount of resistance to use for each exercise.
Baseball, like any sport, requires a multitude of movements and actions within the body to play the game. Too many people want to just play and not prepare themselves for the upcoming season. If you “get in shape to play the game and not play the game to get in shape,” you can usually make it through the season without injuring yourself.
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