Hills sprints for baseball pitchers have countless potential benefits. This high intensity exercise is generally for athletes or people who are in relatively good condition. However, with gradual practice and baby steps, hill sprints can be utilized by people of all shapes and sizes.
Many athletes in almost every professional sport utilize hills sprints as a training mechanism. These athletes understand that they must push their training to highest level if they want to continue progressing.
As a baseball player, pitcher, or athlete, you should always be trying to push yourself to the next level. By doing so, you will achieve great mental perseverance that will translate over to the playing field. Successful athletes are the product of hard work, dedication, and knowing that success does not come without sacrifice. Hills sprints are a great place to start your mental training.
Benefits of hill sprints for baseball
Many athletes and people underestimate the benefits of running hill sprints. When it comes to cardio training and conditioning for baseball, there are not many exercises that will compare to the effectiveness and potential benefits of hill sprints. Here are some of the many benefits of running hill sprints:
- Reduces body fat percentage
- Increases cardiovascular potential
- Builds strength and muscle in the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
- Increases running speed and explosiveness
- Promotes proper sprinting form
- Will build mental strength and willingness
- Adds variety to your strength training routine
- Can be performed without equipment or a gym
These are the basic benefits of running hill sprints for every person that incorporates the exercise into their routine. However, hill sprints training is particularly effective for baseball pitchers.
As I frequently preach, pitching is an incredibly explosive activity. The only way to truly mimic the explosive nature of pitching is through exercises that are predominately explosive.
Hill sprints for baseball pitchers
Pitchers of the past believed that long distance running was beneficial for pitching, but with today’s training discoveries, it is now known that sprint training is much more beneficial for today’s generation of pitchers.
It is no secret that today’s baseball pitchers are faster, more explosive, and stronger. Although it is a variety of methods that have transformed pitchers, it is still a safe assumption that sprint training has had a profound effect.
While performing regular sprints is a great exercise for pitchers, incorporating hill sprints into your regime can significantly improve your ability.
Here are some reasons why baseball pitchers should utilize hill sprints in their training:
- Increased cardiovascular potential will allow pitchers to throw into the later innings.
- Greater leg strength and explosion is largely responsible for pitching velocity.
- Gives you confidence and mental toughness that will translate over to your pitching performance.
Now that we’ve discussed the countless benefits of hill sprints, it’s time for you to learn how to properly incorporate this great exercise into your regime. Before you attempt this exercise, you must ensure that you have properly warmed up your muscles and joints. The most effective way, and the only way you should warm up prior to strenuous exercise is through a dynamic stretching routine.
How to perform hill sprints
Once your legs are properly warmed up, you will then need to find a hill which should not be a difficult task. Frankly, it doesn’t matter the incline as long as it’s higher than level ground. If you live in an area where there is a variety of hills, you can choose the level of incline depending on your fitness level and how hard you would like to make the exercise.
Very steep hills are great for promoting acceleration, power, and proper sprinting form so I always prefer finding the steepest hill possible. Here is a formula that you can follow for implementing hill sprints:
1. Beginner level hill sprints routine
Start out by performing four sprints at 80 percent on a surface with no incline. This will properly prepare your legs for the subsequent hill sprints. Once you finish the four sprints, go to the hill that you would like to use. Perform 4-6 hill sprints with 90 seconds of rest in between each one. Stay at this level until you can successfully perform 6 sprints at 100 percent effort, and are able to reduce your rest time to less than 90 seconds between the sprints.
2. Intermediate level hill sprints routine
Similar to the beginner level, perform four sprints on a surface with no incline. At the intermediate level, perform 6-8 hill sprints with only 60 seconds of rest. Once you can successfully complete 8 hill sprints at 100 percent effort, you are ready to progress into the advanced level.
3. Advanced level hill sprints routine
Perform the same warm up sprints from the intermediate and beginner level. You will need two different levels of incline, and one regular flat surface for the advanced level. You will perform 10-12 hill sprints with 45 seconds of rest on the steepest hill that you can find. The second set you will find a moderately steep hill and perform 2-4 sprints with 45 seconds of rest. And lastly, on the third set, you will perform 2-4 sprints on a regular surface with 45 seconds of rest.
Post-hill sprints stretching
It’s vitally important that you do not neglect stretching following any of these routines. Sprints can be very taxing on the muscles, joint, and ligaments of the body. Therefore it’s crucial that you properly use static stretching following these exercises to prevent any unnecessary injuries that will hamper your success.
Make sure you only perform static stretching following exercise, and do not use it as a warm up because research shows that it will actually reduce explosiveness when used as a warm up prior to strenuous exercise.
If you are able to complete the advanced level hill sprints than it is guaranteed that you have significantly increased your running speed, explosiveness, and cardiovascular potential. But most importantly, you have built exceptional mental strength and perseverance by completing this routine. As a result, you have gained confidence that will translate over to your daily life and performance on the baseball field.
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To get to the next level, preparation is everything — but you need a plan. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.
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Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.