You can’t hit the ball hard or catch it fast if your warmup game isn’t spot-on.
Newbies often neglect proper warm-up – as a result, they get injured, don’t see improvement, or can’t play at all.
If you have issues with baseball, then assess your warmup routine – is it perfect for your goals? If you aren’t sure, then you should probably reevaluate your warmup before training or competition.
Below, I’ll explain why warmup is so important and give you a few dynamic baseball warmup drills.
Why Perform A Dynamic Baseball Warmup?
A dynamic warmup incorporates active movements to stretch your muscles and prepare them for training or competition. Aside from that, when it comes to baseball, dynamic warmup consists of movements specific to the sport.
Dynamic warmup – and warmup in general – allows for the following things:
- Activation of your central nervous system.
- Increased range of motion as you reduce stiffness in your muscles and get your joints lubricated.
- Increased heart rate and breathing rate to help you deliver blood and energy to the muscles.
So basically, warmups ensure that you are physically and mentally prepared for training.
If you neglect warmup, you may face a bunch of problems:
- You’ll probably feel like crap during the entire session.
- Stiffness in your muscles will likely limit your performance.
- Increased chance of injury.
So yeah, this should be enough to convince you of the importance of a proper warmup.
When people just start out with physical activity – whether we are talking about going to a gym or engaging in professional sport – most make the mistake of not warming up adequately. I’m guilty of this myself, to be honest.
I haven’t dedicated the due attention and respect toward a quality warmup in my early days in the sport. And needless to say, the training sessions one after another have felt like trash.
Now, even if you don’t warm up at the beginning of the session, your body and nervous system will still wake up as you progress into your program. This has probably happened to you many times – you come to the field, feeling like a bag of potatoes but leave energized and fulfilled.
But the problem here is that you may waste half your main program until your body is fully ready for training. Why not instead dedicate separate 20-30 minutes to a solid warmup and only then start your routine? This way, you can put 100% of your effort into the session!
So, in the end, for me personally, a quality warmup is a must for three reasons:
- It helps me better invest my energy into the training.
- It helps me avoid wasting time.
- It helps me keep my joints and muscles safe.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you of the importance of a baseball warmup!
Here’s What You Should Do Before Your Next Session
I’ll now give you a few exercise suggestions – you should figure out what works best for you. I’ll suggest three warmup program options – give them a shot one by one, and then, if you want, try to mix the movements to come up with your own routine.
Dynamic warmup option #1
Start your warmup with these exercises:
- Walking knee to chest exercise.
- Squats (bodyweight, though you could also try a light load if you have the equipment).
- Walking lunges (again, either bodyweight or with light load).
- Walking toe-touches.
Next, progress into quicker movements:
- High knees.
- Butt kicks.
- Lateral shuffles.
- Short-distance sprints.
And end your warmup with these exercises:
- Arm circles.
- Cross-body arm swings.
- Wall angels.
- Shoulder Y, T, and W raises.
Some of these exercises can be loaded, but I think that working with your body weight should be enough. Your goal is to warm your muscles, not fatigue them. Only add weight if you don’t feel any benefits (which is unlikely).
Start at a lower speed and intensity and go up as you start feeling better and better.
Do some wrist stretches, too – these will help you avoid injury. The prayer stretch is an excellent wrist opener. To do it, put your palms together as if you are going to pray. Keeping your palms together, push your wrists down to increase the angle between them and your forearms.
Switch to throwing after you are done with your dynamic warmup to open your arms and shoulders.
Dynamic warmup option #2
The second warmup routine looks as follows:
- 90/90 hip switches for hip mobility.
- World’s Greatest Stretch for thoracic spine mobility.
- Leg swings for ankle mobility.
- Shoulder taps for core activation.
- Single leg bridges for glute activation.
- Side planks with band ER for rotator cuff activation.
- Banded hinge Ys for scapular activation.
- Knee to hip skips for rotation power.
Dynamic warmup option #3
Finally, you may also give a shot to warmup programs designed by university teams. I came across this program from the University of Rochester Medical Center. I haven’t really tried it, but you should give it a shot.
This particular program proposes a few exercises for dynamic warmup and a bunch of other movements for stretching. The dynamic warmup exercises are as follows:
- Jog out, backpedal in. During both jogging and backpedaling, emphasize pocket-chest arm movement (which basically means that you should swing your arms) with good knee punch. Repeat two times.
- Knee pulls.
- Toe pulls.
- Walking lunge.
- Hurdle kicks.
- Slide and stretch.
- High knees. Emphasize knee lift, forward lean, and pocket-chest arm movement.
- Butt kicks. Emphasize calf to hamstring movement.
- Double touch skips. Emphasize good arm movement and stepping off the power pad.
- Lateral slide skips. Emphasize good arm movement, stepping off the power pad, and knee push.
- Skip and swing.
- Slide and glide.
- Tapioca. Emphasize fast feet and hips.
- Fast feet. Emphasize fast feet.
- Start-teals. Emphasize stride length, staying low, and chewing up ground.
- Fall-starts. Again, emphasize stride length, staying low, and chewing up ground.
What Should I Do Before A Baseball Game?
A dynamic warmup is a necessary component of one’s pre-game routine, but there are more things that you should incorporate. Among them are:
- Batting practice.
- Fielding practice.
- Throwing practice.
- Drills at the plates.
Aside from these, you should obviously eat and rest well.
If you are competing professionally, you should probably ask your coach what to do – they’ll know what’s best for you. But no matter what, your pre-game routine should be specific to your role on the field.
The Last Inning
No matter how you structure your dynamic baseball warmup, make sure to do it. A good warmup will physically and mentally prepare you for the competition or training, allowing you to perform at your best on the field.