Should You Lift Weights Before or After Baseball Practice?
Weight training is a key component to baseball player development. Players at the higher end of the sport train year-round to build and maintain their sport-specific strength. But players must carefully manage their weightlifting regimen during the season. They can't let their training interfere with practice and game performance or put them at risk of injury.
Weightlifting and Baseball Practice
Professional strength and conditioning coaches suggest that weight training should occur after practice, not before it. In some cases a high school may schedule pre-game weight training because of scheduling limitations with the school's weight room.
In-Season Training Objectives
Players should not expect to add much strength during the baseball season. The focus should be on maintaining the strength that players built during the off-season and incorporating that strength and power into their games. Without in-season strength training, some of that strength will be lost.
In-Season Training Frequency
Players need to manage their weight training to remain fresh for their games. Strength and conditioning coach Eric Cressey suggests a training schedule for high school players with three games per week: Sunday, off completely. Monday, game. Tuesday, practice and short strength training. Wednesday, game. Thursday practice, no strength training. Friday, game. Saturday, practice and longer strength training. “I may deviate from this schedule and do a bit more -- adding a Thursday strength training session -- with a younger player who needs to develop ... or someone who is not getting all that much playing time,” Cressey wrote on his website.
Baseball Weightlifting Tips
Strength and conditioning coach Jon Doyle cautions players not to train the day before games "unless you have found this specifically works for you." He suggests that two full-body workouts for 20 to 30 minutes are optimal during the season. Longer workouts, he warns, "will lead to central nervous system fatigue, which will lead to you becoming slow, weak and tired." He recommends doing static stretching exercises after weight training to speed the body's recovery.
Jeff Gordon has been reporting and writing since 1977. His most recent work has appeared on websites such as eHow, GolfLink, Ask Men, Open Sports, Fox Sports and MSN. He has previously written for publications such as "The Sporting News" and "The Hockey News." He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in 1979 with a bachelor's degree.