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Weight Training for Sports

John Kruk, the portly former all-star first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, once said, "I'm not an athlete, I'm a baseball player." Certainly he wasn't the first player to prove that you don't need be a stud athlete to make it on the diamond. Fast forward to Mark McGwire, the Paul Bunyonesque St. Louis first baseman who has clearly demonstrated that a little (or in his case, a lot of) strength doesn't hurt.

In fact, one of the biggest changes in professional baseball in the last 15-20 years is the number of athletes who lift weights during the off-season. Take muscular yet fleet-footed shortstops like Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciapara, and Alex Rodriguez and you can see the benefit of weight training on their overall play. Don't get us wrong, these guys are superior athletes who would be perennial all-stars even if they didn't lift, but their long-ball power is no doubt aided considerably by all their time in the weight room.

Power aside, baseball is a game of spurts and starts with a healthy dose of arm strain thrown in. Arm injuries such as rotator cuff tendinitis and shoulder dislocations can be prevented or improved with a proper strengthening program. Midsection strength can help avoid back injuries from the repetitive motion of swinging a bat. And both upper and lower body strength can improve one's arm and bat speed. Remember that if the bat moves faster, the ball goes farther.

These exercises should keep you on the field. And if you "got no game," they'll at least have you looking more athletic than the hard-hitting yet portly Mr. Kruk.


Body Part Exercises
Legs and hips Squat or leg press
Leg curl
Back Pull-ups (assisted if necessary)
Bent row
Chest Bench press
Shoulders Military press
Internal rotation
External rotation
Arms Seated biceps curl
Tricep pushdown
Wrist curls
Midsection Reverse crunches
Rotary torso
Back raise


Excerpted from he Complete Idiot's Guide to Weight Training © 2003 by Deidre Johnson-Cane and Jonathan Cane. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide website or call 1-800-253-6476.

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