You may think of training your legs as one-dimensional. But in actuality, having leg strength can improve many factors of your game.
Your legs play a very important role in how hard you can throw a baseball or softball. When you’re throwing, you generate power from the ground up. So, having strong legs can help enhance the energy transferred into your arm and then to the ball.
“The better conditioned and the stronger our legs are, the less labor we have to do with our upper body,” says Frank Velasquez, director of sports performance for Allegheny Health Network. “[This] saves arms, shoulders and elbows in the big picture of a full season.”
Velasquez notes that you should have a balanced leg training program. While progression in your front side is easy to see, it’s also important to focus on your posterior chain. Additionally, you don’t need to squat to build your legs. There are plenty of barbell-free exercises out there that you can do.
Don’t forget to incorporate a few single-leg exercises, too. “Everyone has a dominant leg,” Velasquez says. To break up your training, try doing reverse lunges, where if you’re just using your bodyweight, or if you add dumbbells, the work is equal between each leg. This, “Can help bridge the [strength] gap [between] the non-dominant and dominant side,” according to Velasquez.
Another great leg exercise, according to Velasquez, is the one-legged Romanian deadlift. While balancing on the leg opposite your throwing arm, flex forward, touch your toes with your opposite hand and then lift back up to a tall, standing position. Velasquez says this can help work on balance, glute control and trunk flexion, all on one leg.
While leg strength is important, agility and foot speed are just as vital to on-field success. Find out how to train for these skills with these Pro Tips.