Ever wondered if your cardio training for baseball is actually working? Are you using the right exercises, and are they helping you improve your game? If not, you're headed in the wrong direction. Don't trip, there are a ton of other baseball players just like you.
It's not your fault, but it's probably your misguided coach's fault. Well don't worry, I'm going explain everything you need to know about cardio training for baseball, and how to can use these techniques to seriously improve your athleticism.
Basics of baseball cardio training
The first thing you need to do is erase your memory of any techniques you can been taught in the past. Okay, let's get started. First, you must understand that all movements in baseball are EXPLOSIVE, and therefore are fueled by the anaerobic energy system.
That's right! there is NO aerobic component in the game of baseball. You might not want to hear this because you have probably spent countless hour running pointless poles and long distance. I'm truly sorry, but it's time to do away with these outdated techniques.
EVERY cardio training workout you will use for on will be anaerobic and it will be baseball-specific. Below, I'm going to explain several exercises you can start using to really see the results you want.
Sprint training for pitchers
Sprints are the best way to train the anaerobic system, increase explosiveness, and mimic the movements involved within baseball. In addition, sprints will also increase lean muscle mass in the quads, glutes, and core. There are several variations of the sprint that you can use such as traditional sprints, interval sprints, and hill sprints.
If you're just starting out I recommend starting out with the traditional sprint. Once you build up a solid foundation, you can start incorporating interval sprints. But to see really crazy results, you should try hill sprints.
- Traditional sprints
The traditional sprint is performed on flat ground at distances at or less than 60 yards. Never sprint further than 60 yards because it will decrease the intensity level, your running form, and could force your body into an aerobic state.
Here is sample sprint routine you can use:
- 4 sprints at 60 yards with 60 seconds of rest
- 4 sprints at 40 yards with 45 seconds of rest
- 4 sprints at 20 yards with 30 seconds of rest
Interval training is an excellent cardio training technique for baseball because it resembles the stop-and-go motion of hitting, pitching, tracking down a fly ball, or sprinting to first. There are a few ways to perform intervals effectively such as Indian runs or track intervals.
For Indian runs, you will line-up with about 8-10 teammates and begin jogging. The person in the back will sprint to the front, and this will continue for about 20 minutes. This exercise is only as challenging as you make it.
For track intervals, simply jog the straight portion of the track, and sprint the curved sections. Perform about 4-6 laps depending on your level of cardiovascular development.
Bodyweight circuit training for pitchers
Believe it or not, bodyweight circuits are actually a great way to improve anaerobic endurance, increase lean muscle and strength, and decrease fat. Simply combine about 4-6 different exercises and perform each consecutively without any rest. Once you finish all the exercises, take about a 90 second rest and repeat. Perform each circuit all the way through about 3-4 times.
These are very challenging, but can be a great way to get a quick workout in.
Plyometrics training for pitchers
I have continuously preached about the benefits of using plyometrics for both strength and cardio training. That's because they are amazing, and I have personally seen the results. I know you will too. Because these exercises are incredibly explosive and leave little room for rest, it makes them a great anaerobic training exercise.
And as I've mentioned on this site, plyos are great way to strengthen fast twitch muscle fibers, which will help you be more explosive. This means more hitting power, increased pitching velocity, and quicker times down to first.
Agility training for pitchers
Agility training is a great way to target the anaerobic energy system and increase non-linear quickness. Some of the best techniques are ladder drills, cone drills, and hurdles. These exercises will strengthen fast twitch muscle fibers, which will help your explosiveness.
There are countless baseball cardio training exercises you can use to significantly improve your game. Do not resort to illogical aerobic training. If your coaches ask you to run poles, then kindly ask them if you can run interval poles instead! Keep your cardio specific to the movements within the sport. Good luck!
Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.
Learn more about my off-season workout programs for pitchers
To get to the next level, preparation matters. Your work ethic matters. Being committed to the process matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching. The journey is just as important as the end result.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.
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