There’s a trap in young athletics that baseball players need to watch out for. What can happen on a very common basis is one of the following:
- A young baseball player doesn’t know how to weight lift, so they find workouts in magazines or at popular websites and try those out.
- They train with their friends who seem to know what they’re doing.
- They train with the football team because the football team is very serious about their weight training programs.
What’s the common denominator between all of these programs?
They aren’t baseball specific.
If you’re serious about becoming a better baseball player, if you’re serious about long term progress, and you plan and getting as good as you possibly can—you have to train like a baseball player and you have to individualize the process for yourself. I know it may seem totally harmless to do a workout with your buddies or with the football team, but they do not share your abilities or your goals.
Weightlifting can create dramatically different effects depending on how you train. Gymnasts, powerlifters, bodybuilders, dancers, bikini models, football players, baseball athletes, and boxers all weight train—do they all look the same and have the same abilities?
Absolutely not, that is because they train differently and train according to their goals. There are four major reasons why you need to sidestep their invitations for training if you are as serious as possible about developing your sport performance.
#1: Your workouts have to be specific to baseball. This rule is brutally simple. The workouts that you do must be able to have an explanation behind them as to why they are going to make you a better baseball player. Remember, we aren’t in the gym to get better at weightlifting, we are in the gym to become better baseball players. If you are a baseball player and doing bodybuilding workouts from a magazine on a consistent basis, this is not furthering your physical abilities in baseball. Don’t get me wrong, you can have fun sometimes with your friends and do a “fun workout”. Just understand, you need to have the awareness to know that these workouts are just for fun and should not be a habitual thing.
#2: Your workouts need to fit your plan. If you are currently in season, you need to be training a lot differently than you would in the offseason. If you are currently in the middle of an important series, you need to train according to those physical demands that are being placed on you out on the field. The examples could continue and I’m sure you see where I am going with this. If your friends at school are doing bodybuilding or football workouts, this doesn’t make much sense at all for your current physical demands. They don’t have to worry about the series, or batting practice, or games, or speed, or conditioning, or anything else that is demanded of a serious baseball player. Long story short, your workouts need to have focus and be in alignment with where you are currently at in the season or offseason.
#3: Progression. If you are brand new to baseball training, do NOT join the older veteran football linebackers for a 10×10 squat workout. These types of volume and intensity need to be reserved for when you are physically prepared for them. Otherwise, you are risking injury which can cut you right out of baseball. And for what? To join in on a workout you shouldn’t have been doing in the first place? Your coach isn’t going to be too happy with that, neither will you. By going all out too early, you risk accumulating far too much fatigue and will likely reduce your baseball performance, or at the very least, run into overtraining issues too early in your training cycle. I’m not telling you to train like a wimp, I’m telling you to train for your current status. When you train for your status, you are keeping baseball performance the true priority.
#4: Volume. There is such a thing known as Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV), this concept represents the maximum amount of training volume that you can effectively perform and still recover from. If you do a workout with a buddy and it is far less than this, than you are not going to gain any progress from that workout. Conversely, if you do a workout that exceeds your personal MRV, you are not going to effectively recover. This means two things. First is that you still won’t gain progress because you never recovered, second is the fact that you’re going to suck at baseball after this workout. Ever try and run (or even think) after a brutal leg workout? Then you know what I mean. When you are following a training program, it must be baseball specific and you must make it fit your MRV.
Having said all of the above, I promise you I am not Oscar the Grouch. You can absolutely take inspiration and direction from others and even incorporate “fun workouts” every now and again. I am not against being a normal person (although I am a little crazy).
What I instead advise you to do is examine why they are doing their workouts and determine if that matches your goals and values. By looking where they want to be, you can steal certain concepts from them that may be beneficial to you, but certainly stealing the entire training plan is unlikely to make you a better baseball player. If you enjoyed this article I recommend checking out my baseball speed workout article, which will even show you an example speed workout for baseball players.