Submitted by Jennifer Davies, special MSBL contributor

Conditioning training is essential to build the strength, agility, and speed necessary for baseball. It can also help lengthen an athlete’s career over time — the speed of position players increases by about 1% between ages of 26-28 before it gradually decreases, one study found. Staying committed to conditioning training even during the off-season will help baseball players develop muscular strength and explosive power, which allows them to be fast and powerful runners and throwers. 

Build muscleCycling can be an extremely effective conditioning method for baseball players. It’s a great way to strengthen your leg muscles and endurance while being low impact on the body. In one study, people who included cycling in their strength training routine found it helped them gain muscle and lose fat. If you want to get the most out of your cycling workouts, use a dual action stationary exercise bike. These models come with arms handles and cooling fans to maximize resistance, boost cardio, and strengthen the upper body. Moreover, pitchers will find the increased blood flow to the arms and shoulders helps the joints repair and recover from the damage caused by throwing.

Increase speed-Baseball players need to be fast in order to cover more ground and hold a competitive advantage during games. To increase your speed, focus primarily on running intervals by walking and sprinting between the bases. You can also increase speed by building up your strength so you can stay strong for longer. Exercises like sled pushes and drags at the gym are particularly effective for this. Use a weighted sled to improve your leg strength. Loading it with lighter weights is also a great way to increase speed. After practicing these weighted exercises, you’ll be a faster and smoother runner on the field.  

Boost strengthStrength conditioning drills improve both your ab and upper and lower body strength. In particular, you can work on building chest and core strength with push-ups, which are a simple yet effective move. Additionally, working your arms with free weights can improve arm strength needed for hitting, throwing, and pitching. Dumbbell curls, for example, require you to hold your elbows out in front of you with palms facing up. Slowly lift the weights towards your chest. Do three to five reps daily to build strong arms.

Strength conditioning is a must for all baseball players who want to maximize their performance on the field. By building muscle, working on strength, and increasing speed, you’ll become a winning player.