Baseball Circuit Training
Circuit training involves a series of exercises performed consecutively without rest. By moving immediately from one exercise to the next, you keep your heart rate elevated, providing a strong cardiovascular workout. Baseball players require good cardio fitness to perform at their best through a long season, or even within a single game. If you leg out a base hit, for example, you can’t sit down and rest; you have to be ready to run the bases. Circuit training, therefore, helps baseball players improve their strength and cardio fitness simultaneously.
Baseball players run in short bursts, whether you’re running the bases or chasing down a fly ball. As a result, baseball players should train more like sprinters than distance runners. By combining standard strength training with plyometric exercises, you can develop the type of explosive strength you need when you’re on the diamond. Personal trainer Jay Johnson recommends that baseball players perform a leg circuit starting with 20 reps of quick squats using a barbell bar with no weights attached. Follow that with 20 lunges -- 10 with each leg -- 10 box jumps and 10 jump squats. Take a brief rest and repeat the circuit two more times. Increase the intensity by holding light dumbbells in your hands for exercises other than the quick squats or do the box jumps onto progressively higher platforms.
Pitching a baseball is a total-body activity that you may have to perform around 100 times in a game, in addition to the warm-up pitches you’ll throw before you enter the game and prior to each inning. Pitchers, therefore, require excellent cardio fitness and overall strength, as pitching power derives primarily from your legs and core. Baseball coach Kyle Nellesen suggests pitchers perform a total-body workout that alternates pulling and pushing movements to help avoid injury. The workout features squats, body rows, deadlifts, dumbbell bench presses, pull-ups, dumbbell lunges, high pulls and push presses. Perform eight reps of most exercises, but do 12 lunges -- six with each leg -- and limit yourself to six pull-ups. Move from one exercise immediately to the next to perform the workout as a circuit. Do three circuits or work up to that level.
Offseason Strength Circuit
To build up your body in the offseason, or very early in your preseason conditioning routine, perform a 10-exercise circuit that balances resistance and core training with some explosive movements that you’ll need on the diamond. Perform 12 to 15 squat-to-presses -- dumbbell squats that end with overhead presses as you ascend -- followed by 12 dumbbell rows with each arm, 20 sit-ups, 15 to 20 push-ups, 90 seconds of quickly stepping on and off a low platform, 15 barbell upright rows, 20 supermans, 10 dumbbell lunges with each leg, 15 burpees and 20 oblique curls. Don’t use very heavy weights – most baseball players shouldn’t bulk up too much -- but make sure the final reps of each exercise are challenging. Repeat the circuit two or three times.
Performing a circuit of baseball skill drills is difficult in a team setting because everyone can’t be in motion at once. In an individual skill session with a trainer or coach, you can devise a circuit that includes batting practice plus fielding and base-running drills, all performed consecutively. Consult a physician before starting any type of circuit training. Warm up properly before doing a circuit with 5 to 10 minutes of light cardio activity followed by dynamic stretches such as leg kicks, trunk rotations and arm circles.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.