Improve your softball game by building strength and agility through exercise and diet. According to the textbook “Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance,” softball players should work on full-body exercises and maintain a diet high in protein to help build muscle, but also to develop functional muscle-memory.
Knee tucks are a plyometric exercise that works the entire body at once. While building strength and explosiveness in your muscles, you also get your heart rate to increase, which leads to building stronger heart muscle for better endurance when playing softball. Begin standing with your feet at hip-width. Bending your knees slightly, jump straight up and bring your knees into your chest. As you land, quickly explode into another tuck jump right away, pulling your knees into your chest. “Knee tucks are going to blast your legs and core, which is keeping you stable through the exercise,” said American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer Shelby Young. “You’re also going to get your heart pumping very fast. You only need to do knee tucks for 30 seconds before you’ll be fatigued. This is a great strength and agility building move for softball players.”
Weighted Twisting Lunge
Weighted twisting lunges combine an upper-body rotation with a lower-body lunge. Begin standing with your feet at hip-width and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Lunge your right foot forward, bending your right knee to 90 degrees and bending your left knee until it’s a couple inches above the ground. Holding your lunge, bring the dumbbells to your chest and twist your torso to the right. Come back to center and push off your right foot to come back to standing. Lunge forward with your left foot then twist your torso to the left. “Twisting lunges are going to work your legs, butt, core and arms,” said Young. “This is the perfect
move for a softball player because it really helps you get stronger while building flexibility each time you rotate.”
High Protein Diet
Athletes, including softball players, need a lot of strength to compete at a high level. For softball players, eating a high protein diet will help to build muscle so your batting is more powerful and your throws more accurate. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and should come from healthy sources such as lean meats, nuts and low-fat dairy protein. If you include protein as part of every meal each day, then the exercises you do will use this protein to help to build stronger, leaner muscle.
- Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance; William D. McArdle, Frank I. Katch, Victor L. Katch
- Shelby Young, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer; Hampshire Hills Sports and Fitness Center; Milford, N.H.