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Training Like the Boys of Summer.

Baseball Fitness

Good Nutrition

Good nutrition and hydration are critically important to safe sports, says Werner.

 

"If you start drinking when you're thirsty, you're already behind the curve. Here in Florida, we have to contend with extremely hot weather, so hydration is something we focus on, but it is important for sports in all climates."

 

Just as important is a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, he says.

 

"Our teams has pre- and post-game meals together to get good nutrition, and we work with nutritionists to make sure the players are getting the kinds of foods they need."

Protect That All-Important Shoulder

"One thing we do is plyometrics to improve shoulder strength in players," says Goodall. This involves throwing a 4-pound ball against a large net rebounder, which returns the ball to the player.

 

Werner's players, including the position players, add a special series of exercises to their general workout. This is called the "Jobe's Rotator Cuff Series," and, as the name suggests, the exercises are designed to protect the shoulder structure known as the rotator cuff, which consists of the muscles and tendons that surround the top of the upper arm bone (humerus) and hold it in the shoulder joint, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. There are common signs of a rotator cuff injury, or tear:

 

  • Recurrent pain, particularly with overhead activities.
  • Pain at night on the affected side.
  • Muscle weakness, especially when attempting to lift the arm.
  • Grating or cracking sounds when the arm is moved.

 

"Using very light weights and special rubber tubing that provides resistance, the players do three sets of 10 repetitions each of these exercises," says Werner. "This takes about 10 to 15 minutes to run through. It hits muscles in the shoulder area that don't ordinarily get targeted in other weight training. This isn't about lifting huge greater and greater amounts of weight, it's more about strengthening these little-used muscles that hold the shoulder together."

 

A good trainer at a gymnasium or a physical therapist should be able to help you work on developing these same muscles that baseball players spend so much time on.

 

"If you pay attention to these four stages of health, even a weekend warrior who plays baseball, tennis or swims should be fine," says Werner.

 

John Casey is a freelance writer based in New York City.

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