Leg lunges for baseball pitchers are essential for building leg strength and explosiveness. Leg strength is vitally important to all baseball players who are looking to increase pitching velocity, and hitting power.
Lunges will without a doubt increase overall leg strength, athleticism, and baseball potential in every player who utilizes the exercise. Every pitcher strength training routine should be incorporating lunges.
This post will explain what lunges are, how lunges are specific to baseball, and how to perform a few different lunges exercises for pitching.
Lunges for baseball? Why?
Lunges are a strength building exercise that train the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and the core muscles. What makes the lunge a great exercise is that it can be performed with or without exercise equipment. In addition, the lunge is an effective exercise for properly warming up the muscles prior to strenuous exercise, and is often used as a dynamic stretch.
Lunges are baseball-specific?
Lunges are a very baseball-specific exercise, and are used throughout high school, college, and professional strength training programs. Every time a pitcher delivers a pitch, he is lunging or striding out towards home plate.
Baseball pitchers who are able to produce long stride lengths, are usually also able to produce above average velocity. By adding lunges to your routine, you will build strength and flexibility in your legs that will allow you to produce a longer stride length. Additionally, building strength in the legs in general is a necessary component to developing greater pitching velocity.
Leg lunges are also a necessity for baseball hitters. Leg and core strength is vitally important for producing hitting power. Lunges will strengthen the large leg muscles, but will also build strength and stability in the core muscles.
Every baseball player can benefit from utilizing the lunges exercise. In addition to increased pitching velocity and hitting power, lunges can also help increase sprinting speed and explosion.
How to perform different lunges exercises
Lunges can be used as a warmup and strength building exercise. It is a common sight to see baseball players performing lunges during their warmup. There are several unique ways to perform leg lunges. The variations of lunges include: forward, reverse, walking, side, barbell, and dumbbell lunges.
1. Forward lunges
The forward lunge is the most common variation of the exercise. The target muscles of this exercise include the glutes, core, quads, hamstrings, and the obliques.
Step 1: Stand in the starting position with your feet together, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and activate your core muscles by slightly flexing.
Step 2: Before extending your leg out, you must first establish your balance. Lift one foot off the ground, and hold the balance position until you are not wobbling. With the lifted leg, you will extend out landing softly on the heel of your foot. Your body weight should be over the top of the extended leg, but your back should not bend over the leg. Try to keep your back straight, and do not let your knee extend over the toe. Keep your back and hips back while lowering the body down. By striding out further, you will strengthen the hamstrings, and by using a shorter stride, you will active the quads.
Step 3: For the final portion of the exercise, you will firmly push off with the extended leg back to starting position. Repeat this exercise by alternating legs, in a smooth and controlled manner. You should feel the muscles stretching with each lunge.
2. Reverse lunges
The reverse lunge is simply the exact reverse motion of the forward lunge. Instead of lunging straight forward, you will extend one leg backwards in a lunging motion. The further that you extend the leg back, the greater you will feel the burn in the quads, hamstrings, and groin area. This is an excellent exercise for baseball pitchers looking to increase flexibility and mobility in the groin. By doing so, you may see additional gains in stride length.
3. Side Lunges
The side lunges exercise will target the glutes, abductors, quads, core, and hip muscles. This exercise will also increase flexibility in the groin.
Step 1: The starting position for this exercise will be with your feet parallel at the width of your hips. Pull your shoulder blades to together, and focus your weight on the back of your heels.
Step 2: While keeping your core tight, you will extend one leg directly to left or right while keeping your weight on the heel. Once you have fully extended make sure that both feet remain parallel. The extended leg will be bent at the knee, while the opposite leg should be completely straight. Make sure that your knee does not drift over the extended foot. If performed correctly, you will use your hips and glutes to lower your body over the bent knee.
Step 3: To complete the repetition you will push off with the bent leg, back to starting position. Repeat this motion in an alternating fashion.
Lunges can be performed in a variety of different and unique ways. If body weight lunges become too easy, you can use more advance strength training methods by incorporating barbells or dumbbells.
Baseball players typically perform leg lunges with dumbbells because it allows them to extend very low to the ground resulting in a greater stretch of the muscles. Lunges are a necessary component to any baseball pitcher strength training regime.
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One of the big misconceptions in baseball is that playing the game keeps you in shape to pitch. I wish that was true. It’s not. 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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