Whether it’s in the batter’s box, on the field, or running the bases we all want to improve our performance. We will spend endless hours training and practicing, trying to gain an edge over the competition. Now, with baseball season upon us, it is imperative that we are in peak condition. So, to make sure that the time you put in the gym pays off we have listed below 4 compound exercises to incorporate into your workout that will improve your total body strength and performance on the field.

Squats

Photo credit: ThoroughlyReviewed on Visual hunt / CC BY

Building strong legs is crucial in baseball and the squat is an essential exercise to include in any workout program. Squats build strength in the legs, core, and stabilizing muscles which will allow you to run faster, jump higher, and be more explosive on the field. Squats will also help increase the flexibility throughout your body and balance. Want to be a better ballplayer? It’s simple, do more squats!

The Movement:

Begin by standing upright with your feet just a little wider than shoulder-width apart, your back in a neutral position. Rest the squat bar across your shoulders and the back of your neck. Slowly, lower yourself towards the ground, bending at the knees, sticking both your butt and chest out as you lower to the ground. To help keep your back straight you can look up towards the ceiling. When you reach a 90 degree seated angle, explode up, pushing through the heels of the feet until you are back in the starting position. Repeat. Pay close attention to your form and breathing to prevent injury. You should feel your quads, hamstrings, and glutes working to perform the lift.

For this exercise, we suggest moderate weight.

4 Sets x 3-6 Reps

Deadlifts

Photo credit: Travis Isaacs on Visual hunt / CC BY

There may not be a single exercise that does more for total body strength than the deadlift. The integration of all your muscles from the trapezius, to the shoulders, arms, chest, back, and legs are necessary to achieve this lift. Like the squat, deadlifts are great for improving your explosiveness, power, flexibility, balance, and coordination.

The Movement:

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Knees bent at a 90 degree seated angle. Toes slightly under the bar. Grip the bar so that the inner part of your forearms rest on your thighs, palms of your hands facing in,  Keeping your chest out, looking straight ahead, breathe out and explode up, pushing from the heels of the feet. Keep your back neutral and straight and pull the weight up off the ground until you are in a standing position. Pause for one second at the top. Then inhale, lowering the bar down the same path you came up until the bar is back on the ground and you are back in the starting position again. Repeat. If you are new to deadlifts it is recommended that you use light weight until you are comfortable with the movement and breathing pattern.

For this exercise, we suggest light to heavy weight depending on your experience level.

4 Sets x 6-8 Reps

Pull-ups

Photo credit: adrian valenzuela on Visualhunt / CC BY

This exercise is one of the hardest exercises for many people to do so they often exclude it from their workouts. Don’t! There is no truer indicator of strength than the pull-up and the benefits from this exercise are endless. Pull-ups are a great way to increase the power in your back muscles, shoulders, and arms as well as improve the strength in your grip. Pull-ups also give your upper body balance, especially if you are already doing a lot of bench press in your workout. So, if pull-ups are a weak point for you, let’s get cracking!

The Movement:

Begin in a hanging position from the pull-up bar. Hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. With the palms of your hands facing out pull your chest up to the bar using your back muscles until you can place your chin over the bar. Then, slowly lower yourself back down into the hanging position. Repeat. If you want to include some variation in your pull-ups you can adjust your grip from medium to wide. Try to avoid using momentum or swinging your body to thrust yourself up to the bar. This will be extremely hard at first, especially if you are just starting out. Just remember to stay controlled and focused on perfect form. If you do need help you can use an assist machine, elastic band, or a spotter until you become strong enough to perform the exercise on your own.

If pull-ups are easy for you, add weight by hanging a plated weight from your waist.

4 Sets x 8-10 Reps

Dips

Photo credit: BUSY PARENT FITNESS on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Dips are often a neglected exercise but are a great way to increase the flexibility in your upper body while building strength in your chest, triceps, shoulders, and forearms.

The Movement:

Standing in an upright position. Grasp either the parallel bars or rings lifting your lower body off the ground. Lower your body until your arms are bent at 90 degrees, then explode back to the starting position. Leaning forward during the exercise will put more focus on the chest muscles. Keep your elbows slightly flared out to put a deeper stretch on the chest and lift three-quarters of the way keeping the tension on the muscles. For the triceps keep your body vertical to the floor with your elbows stuck close to your sides. Do a full repetition focusing on the triceps the entire time and squeeze the muscles at the very top of the exercise. Dips can be a difficult exercise to perform, especially if you are new to working out. If this is the case for you use an assist machine or even have a spotter assist you through the movement. Like all of the exercises on our list, don’t worry about lifting loads of weight at first. Practice completing your reps with perfect form and under control. Strength will come over time and you will soon see the benefits of all these exercises where it matters. On the ball field!

If dips are easy for you, try hanging a plated weight from your waist for extra resistance.

4 Sets x 10 Reps

Leave us Feedback

How did we do? Can you think of any compound exercises that will improve your total body strength? If so, leave a comment below we want to hear from you. Also, if you have not done so yet, please like, share, and subscribe to The Hardball Network. You’ll probably get an extra pull-up out of it during your next workout if you do.

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