Inseason Baseball Strength Training - Installment 2
In case you missed my earlier article, Inseason Baseball Strength Training - Installment 1, you can check it out here.
In the first installment, we talked about choosing great “bang for your buck” exercises that involve training multiple areas of the body simultaneously.
Another way to approach in-season strength training is by utilizing tools that make exercises more difficult without increasing the weight or “load”.
Personally, I love incorporating Fat Gripz into inseason strength training, a cylindrical piece of rubber that attaches to weights, making them more difficult to grip. As a result, you’re forced to use less weight, which allows you to recover faster while keeping the difficulty high. And what baseball player doesn’t love a little forearm pump?
Here’s a Fat Gripz Trap Bar Deadlift, a personal favorite:
How to do it:
Set up in the middle of the bar after placing the Fat Gripz on the handles
Sit your hips back by thinking about touching your butt to the wall behind you (should feel some tension in your hamstrings if you're in the right spot)
Show the logo on your shirt to the wall/mirror in front of you
Tug up on the bar slightly to get tension throughout your body
Without losing the tension, brace your core and drive up with your heels
Lower the same way you set up for the first rep, reset, and repeat
Deadlifts work just about every muscle in your body – the ultimate “bang for you buck” exercise. Having said that, they can really fatigue you for that very reason.
Using Fat Gripz requires you to drastically reduce the weight, which in turn limits induced fatigue and recovery time. Being able to stand inside of the trap (or hex) bar reduces shear spinal stress when compared to a conventional barbell deadlift, while the elevated handles limits not only the range of motion, but also fatigue and soreness.
Here’s another exercise incorporating Fat Gripz – a Fat Gripz 1-arm DB Row:
How to do it:
Connect the Fat Gripz to the handle of a dumbbell
Set up with your opposite knee on the bench, ground foot wide, and working shoulder blade protracted
Keeping your core engaged (belly button won't move), row up by using your shoulder blade and tilting it backwards or posteriorly; think about your elbow being "along for the ride"
Finish with your elbow a few inches away from your side and don't allow your elbow to finish above the rest of your body
Lower to a full scapular protraction and repeat
Your shoulder health largely depends on a delicate balance between the muscles that act on the front and back of the shoulder. In just about everyone, the “acceleration” muscles on the front (pec, subscapularis, etc) are much stronger than the “deceleration” muscles on the back (infraspinatus, teres minor, lower trap etc), distorting this balance.
Rows target the muscles on the back: lats, rhomboids, and most importantly, lower trapezius if you do them correctly by getting good posterior tilt of the shoulder blade. For these reasons and more, rowing in-season is great idea for a baseball player.
Rowing with one arm also adds a rotary force, as there’s more weight on one side of your body, causing you to reflexively fire the opposite side obliques to keep your core in a good position.
Increasing the load is only one way of many to make an exercise harder. A higher load usually means a longer recovery time, so we need to think of alternative ways to make exercises more challenging during the inseason period. Fat Gripz and other tools that make exercises harder without increasing the load are great techniques to utilize during your season.
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