“...take power from the ground through your legs, waist, and back.” -Bruce Lee
The main source of power in baseball is generated not from the wrists and arms in hitting, or from the shoulder in pitching, but from the body’s core. More than half of it. The core consists of the legs, gluteus, low back, trunk, and shoulders. The philosophy at Strength, Fitness And Speed is to build this foundation stable and strong, so that other athletic attributes may develop maximally. If there is a weak link (usually the torso), force generated in this seat of power cannot be maximally transferred to the arms and hands. Proper conditioning will increase your base running speed, reaction time in the field, agility in the field, increase your strength and power at the plate, protect and strengthen your throwing arm and rotator cuff, and will prevent injuries. Conditioning is a great equalizer. It could make the difference as to whether you start or sit, or whether you can advance to the next level. When one looks at the various athletic qualities, more often than not strength is at the core. Strength is the ability to exert force at a given speed. Let’s take a look at speed, power, and agility.
Speed is the amount of distance covered in a given amount of time. Acceleration is how quickly you get to top speed. A baseball player does not hit top speed unless he is going for a triple, or is chasing a long fly ball. Acceleration and starting ability are the most important speed related factors in baseball. Strength, particularly in the quadricep, hamstring, and hip flexor groups, plays a role in all of these abilities.
Power is the product of force, therefore strength, and velocity. This quality is needed both at the plate and on the mound. Power is the ability to exert strength in a given time frame. A good example is a vertical jump. It takes about .2 seconds for most athletes to go from flexion to extension at the knee before leaping. Why do some athletes that weigh the same amount and extend their knees in the same time frame jump higher than others? They can express more force via strength and motor recruitment in this time frame.
Agility is the body’s ability to change direction while maintaining speed. Power, and therefore strength is at the root of agility. Key areas are the legs, hips, abdominals, and low back.
A special concern to pitchers includes the maintenance and strengthening of the rotator cuff. Large amounts of energy are absorbed by the body as the hand releases the pitch. This stress should be transferred to the stronger scapular stabilizers rather than the rotator cuff. Training this area together with certain plyometric moves, direct cuff work, and closed chain movements reduces the incidence of injury and strengthens the throwing arm.