Baseball conditioning aids game, cuts aches

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Baseball, a favorite American summer activity for kids and adults, requires speed, throwing power and batting strength. Try the following exercises to develop your skills in these areas.

Medicine ball side tosses: This is a great exercise to develop batting power. Stand sideways to a wall or partner. Hold the medicine ball with both hands and position both hands to the side of your body opposite to your partner or wall. Now throw the medicine ball. Catch and repeat for 30-60 seconds each side.

External rotation: Baseball athletes suffer from a lot of shoulder trauma due to the ballistic nature of throwing. Try this exercise to help strengthen the shoulder. Anchor tubing at waist height. Stand sideways to the door and hold the tube handle in your furthest arm. Position your elbow at your side and bend it to 90 degrees. Keep your upper arm at your side, and slowly rotate your forearm away from your body. Complete 20 reps each arm.

Baseball field workout: This is a great workout to develop muscle conditioning for the entire body, speed, power and endurance.

• Sprint to first base and perform one set of a lower-body exercise like squats of lunges.

• Sprint to second base and perform one set of an upper-body exercise like push-ups, or have hand-weights positioned there so you could do bent-over rows, shoulder presses, curls or triceps kickbacks.

• Sprint to third base and perform one set of a core conditioning exercise like sit-ups, V-sits, planks, etc.

• Sprint to home and perform one set of a high-intensity drill like skipping, jumping, lateral shuffles, etc.

• Continue the workout with different exercises at each base.

You can purchase medicine balls and exercise tubing at your local department store, such as Target or Sports Authority.

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc., is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver. She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com.