Peak Performance IN-SEASON Training Guide
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In-season strength training is important for staying healthy and maximizing performance. The general strength and conditioning approach will vary from player to player, but will include maintaining strength and mobility, maximizing recovery, and preventing injury to achieve the highest level of on-field performance possible.
With that said, you can’t treat your in-season strength training program like your off-season workouts.
Our bodies are encountering different physiological and biomechanical stresses during the season that require some attention to detail. Because of the demands specific to ballplayers, there are some key considerations in order to set yourself (or your players) up for continued success throughout the season.
IN-SEASON TRAINING GUIDELINES
1. No sprinting outside of GAME PLAY OR WARM UP
Sprinting has been shown to be one of the most taxing activities on your nervous system. This occurs due to the large amount of muscle fiber recruitment needed to perform a sprint a maximum intensity.
If the goal to recover as quick as possible from game to game, we want to limit any unnecessary central nervous system stimulation.
2. No med ball throws or excessive rotation exercise
Baseball players should train to generate force from the ground to fingertips in a rotational movement plane. Two areas that are largely responsible for controlled rotational power are the hips and the core. We don't want to take away from on-field output by fatiguing over-training these movements.
3. No weighted Ball Throws
Very little rotator cuff work needs to be done as part of an in-season strength program. The focus should be on maintaining strength and mobility of the entire body to help take stress off the arm.
Many pitchers (and position players alike) overuse their arms during a season simply because they add excessive volumes of exercise without fully understanding the amount of eccentric stress that’s placed on the arm during throwing.
4. Don't perform FAILURE SETS
Failure training leads to on central nervous system fatigue. Once again, this is not what we are looking for if our goal is RECOVERY. Keep reps low and shift your focus on performing quality movements.
5. Maintain mobility and movement quality
Baseball is a pattern overload sport, meaning the same movements are replicated thousands of times throughout a season. Pattern overload has the tendency to create muscle imbalances, often times leading to injury and decreasing overall performance.
Simple strategies such as having a daily mobility routine as part of pre- and post-performance can be very effectve. In our tranign programs we include both PRE and POST routines that can be done in five minutes before and after every on-field session. They’ll keep you healthy and on the field throughout the season.
In-season strength exercises
Our number one goal with strength training is to limit eccentric stress as much as possible to avoid muscular soreness and central nervous system fatigue.
Here are some of our favorite LOWER BODY movements during in-season training:
Here are some of our favorite UPPER BODY movements during in-season training:
Exercises to avoid:
1. Loaded carries
2. Direct grip strengthening
3. Scapula locked pressing (Barbell Bench Press)
IN-SEASON ARM CARE
Throwers don’t just get hurt in-season because they lose strength; they get hurt because they lose MOBILITY. More specifically we want to maintain scapular and glenohumeral joint mobility.
Very little cuff work needs to be done as part of an in-season strength program. The focus should be on maintaining strength and mobility of the entire body to help take stress off the arm.
Frequency: 2 or 3 days
Number of exercises per workout: 1 (mainly mobility and RC activation focused)
Volume: 1-2 sets x 10-15 reps per workout
Try out our THROWING PERFORMANCE SYSTEM, a 5 minute Pre-game warm up routine to maintain mobility as well as RC and scapular muscle activation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Dale Bartek
Dale is currently working at Fyzical SPORTS in Las Vegas, Nevada where he has helped treat some of the world’s top athletes including MLB All-Stars, Olympic Gold Medalists, and top NCAA athletes from around the country.
Dale is committed to continued learning and helping people achieve their physical therapy, fitness, performance and personal goals. He has a strong passion for baseball and weight training with a vision of combining high performance strength training principles, elite sports performance physical therapy, and pain free training approaches to revolutionize the way athletes look, feel, function and perform.