It’s commonly believed that if athletes want to dominate in their respective sports, they should dedicate themselves to long hours in the weight room. After all, somebody who looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime must be able the dominate the competition. For example, a hulking specimen should be able hit a baseball a country mile. Right? Wrong.
The best way to develop power is with bat speed, and the best way to develop that characteristic is with core strength, fast twitch muscles and proper mechanics. Utilizing good balance and strong hands are also key power boosters.
Athletes of all ages, particularly young athletes and beginning lifters, should be very careful in the weight room! Don’t try to be a hero or keep up with bigger, more experienced lifters - the only competition you have is the person staring back at you in the mirror. Only perform the exercises your body can perform safely. Light weights with more reps is a great way to learn the proper fundamentals of weight training.
Everyone is aware that a bulky, muscular frame is very impressive at the beach or poolside; however, it’s quite possible that type of frame is detrimental to athletic performance, because it hinders free movement and flexibility. Although those types of bodies were commonplace in the 80's and 90's, modern day athletes aren’t bulking up like their predecessors.
It’s always important to use proper machinery, weight amount and technique when lifting weights. If you’re ever unsure about a particular exercise, don’t perform the lift before asking a more experienced lifter for advice. Having a training partner is strongly recommended for safety purposes. It’s also advantageous to have someone to help keep you motivated and to share ideas with.
The idea is to create a body built for athletic performance, not a bodybuilding competition like Mr. Schwarzenegger or one of those Strong Man Competitions with a bunch of Adonis’. Unless that’s what you’re into. But, for baseball players, softball players and most athletes, a balanced training regimen with a combination of plyometrics, stretching, light weights, and resistance training is likely most effective.
So, the next time your buddy invites you to take a yoga class, participate in pilates or to indulge in a good stretch. Don’t judge! Even muscle bound sluggers like New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso work on being limber and developing lean muscle. This type of build makes an athlete better suited for bat speed, overall athleticism and longevity.