Cross Training for Fastpitch Softball
Getting in peak condition for softball takes more than keeping your throwing arm in shape and hitting the batting cage during the off season. While any physical conditioning will improve your performance on the diamond here is a handful of workout ideas that are especially helpful for softball.
Aerobics: Good blood flow and breathing are key to your energy level, which you want to keep very high throughout the game. In addition, when you hit one in the gap and are rounding second base a good aerobics routine will give you the stamina you need to make it without slowing down. Try jogging, aerobic workouts like jumping rope or spinning classes, or a low impact option, swimming.
Weight Training: A good weight training regimen will focus on all of the major muscle groups and will combine light weights and high repetitions with heavier weights at fewer reps. This balance will build muscle while maintaining elasticity. Weight training also increases bone density and that will help reduce injuries during sliding, diving for balls, or in the event of a collision.
Stretching: Pro players spend a lot of time stretching not just to warm up muscles before the game but to maintain a full range of motion throughout their bodies. Stretching is always important but especially so if you weight train seriously. Develop a stretching routine that increases flexibility in your arms, legs, neck, back, abdomen and groin. Stretch easily slowly so you won’t pull muscles before they can respond. Consistent stretching will allow you to perform at a higher level and will significantly decrease the incidence of injury and muscle soreness when you play.
Plyometrics: This field isn’t new, even if the name is. This discipline involves hopping, jumping and bounding exercises that increase explosiveness. On the diamond that will translate into a more dynamic swing with faster bat speeds and more power. In the field it will give you a better first step on your way to batted balls. Most trainers suggest that plyometrics be started after a regimen involving these other conditioning practices is well underway and that you stretch well to warm up in preparation for these quick-burst movements.
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