Weight training in baseball-What is appropriate?

Wednesday, Dec. 26th 2012

For this weeks blog on advanced hitting our focus will be on an article written by Dana Cavalea, a strength and conditioning coach in the New York Yankees organization, entitled Machine Training vs. Free Weight Training.. Train to Move! Weight training in baseball is a controversial topic and most often comes up as your young baseball player moves into high school. Cavalea’s stance is that there is no comparison between free weights and machine training; free weights win every time. From Cavalea’s perspective, you look at the sport of baseball and observe that the sport is played while you stand on your two feet. Consequently your training regiments should duplicate your on field actions. Cavalea’s more specific argument can be summed, in Machine Training vs. Free Weight Training.. Train to Move!, when he says:

If we are using machines, we are able to strengthen a muscle most likely in isolation, and are limiting the amount of stabilizer activity that would be necessary if we were using free weights. As an example, a leg press requires very little stabilization because the back pad works to lock in our spinal column, whereas during a standing squat, we are forced to activate our core musculature or else our upper body will collapse. With the free weight exercises we are getting more “bang for the buck” and strengthening the body in positions it will be placed in on the field.

The perspective that Cavalea takes in his article is a breath of fresh air. Cavalea believes passionately that free weight training is the correct approach to baseball strength conditioning, but believes people should come to this conclusion on their own analysis.  “Analyze the movements that take place in your sport then compare your program to these movements and see if you are incorporating these planes of movement in your program,” says Cavalea. You never find yourself on your back, like you do when you do leg press or bench press, in baseball. Consequently these motions are unlikely to help you gain a functional strength for baseball. That is all the analysis Cavalea needs.

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