Dumbbell Exercises for Baseball
On first glance, it may not appear that you need the brute strength of a powerlifter to throw a baseball. But during a throw, a baseball player can accelerate his arm to 90 mph or more. To generate enough speed and power, you have to use your entire body – arms, shoulders, trunk, hips and legs. While you rely on the largest muscles of your body for the throw, small muscles in your rotator cuffs complete the motion. Use dumbbell exercises to strengthen various regions of your upper body for the demands of baseball.
Shoulders – Front, Side and Rear Raises
Strengthen different areas of the shoulder by changing the direction of the lift. For example, the front raise will condition the interior part of your shoulder, which is used for hitting and throwing. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the dumbbells with an overhand grip. Begin with your arms by your sides and elbows slightly bent. Lift the dumbbells directly in front of you, keeping your arms extended, until you reach eye level. Slowly return the weights to the starting position.
To develop the sides of your shoulders, hold the dumbbells with a neutral grip. Lift the dumbbells to the sides of your body until your arms are parallel to the ground. To develop the fronts of your shoulders, perform a rear raise in which you bend at the hips. Keep your back flat and raise the dumbbells sideways with your upper arms until your elbows align with your shoulders. At the peak position, your arms and body should form a right angle. For each raise, perform two sets of eight to 12 reps.
Biceps – Rows and Curls
To build your biceps and middle back, perform rows with one arm at a time. Place a dumbbell on the ground by a flat bench. Begin by placing your left hand, palm down, and left knee on the bench. While your arm should be extended, your knee is bent. Position your right leg 2 to 3 feet from the bench and keep it fully extended. Hold the dumbbell with your right hand with an overhand grip, palm facing the bench. Lean forward, keeping your back straight and parallel to the ground. Draw the weight to your shoulder until your elbow rises above your back, keeping your elbow close to your side. Lower the dumbbell until your arm is fully extended and you feel a stretch. Perform two sets of eight to 12 reps and repeat with the left arm. Another exercise to blast your biceps is curls. Slowly curl both dumbbells to your shoulders, keeping the elbows bent and pinned to your sides.
Triceps - Overhead Press
The overhead press enables you to target your triceps for a workout. Stand with your trunk erect and shoulders back. Using a two-handed grip, wrap your hands around the handle or the top of one dumbbell. Hold the weight overhead and behind your neck. Maintain a tight position with your elbows. Avoid pointing your elbows laterally like wings. Bend your elbows to lower the weight using only your forearms. Keep your shoulders and upper arms still. Press the weight upward and slowly lower back to the starting position. Perform two sets of eight to 12 reps.
Chest – The Fly
The fly is a classic exercise for building strength in your chest and shoulders. Lie on a bench with your legs to either side of the bench, knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Draw both dumbbells with arms extended to a point above your chest. Your palms should face each other. Slowly lower the dumbbells, keeping your palms up and elbows slightly bent. The lifting and lowering motion should occur on the same plane as your shoulders. At the bottom of the descent, you should feel a comfortable stretch across your chest and shoulders. Aim to complete at least two sets of eight to 12 reps.
Lower Body Exercises
To build strength in your glutes, hips and legs, perform squats and various types of lunges, such as forward, lateral, walking and crossover lunges, with dumbbells, according to Eugene Coleman’s book “52-Week Baseball Training.” To perform squats, stand with feet shoulder-width apart with arms by your sides. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold the bottom of the position for a second or two and then return to starting position. Perform three or four sets of eight to 20 reps. Use lighter weights and do more reps to develop endurance.
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.