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Work out your body

To be at the top of their game, Phils players practice daily, including doing drills by position. Did you know that there are exercises tailored to strengthen muscles used in each specific position? See below for exercises that players do to strengthen muscles that help them excel on the field.

Phillies Phitness tips and exercises were developed in conjunction with our physical therapy partner, NovaCare Rehabilitation. Please check with your physician before beginning any physical activity program.

  1. Heart Rate
  2. Warm Up
  3. Pitching
  4. Hitting
  5. Fielding
  6. Running
  7. Cool Down
Heart Rate

As you exercise and become active it is natural for your heart rate (HR) to rise. This is because your body requires more oxygen when active so the heart pumps more frequently to get the oxygen to the muscles that need it.

To take your heart rate:

  1. Take your right index and middle finger and place them along your Carotid Artery on your neck OR place your right index and middle fingers on the radial artery on the thumb side of your wrist.
  2. Feel for a light pulse under your fingers
  3. Once you feel your pulse count how many pulses occur in one minute. This is your resting heart rate.

 

Warm Up

Before you start any physical activity it is important to warm your body up through stretching.

Stretching increases your range of motion, protects your muscles from injury and prepares your body for the physical activity you are about to begin. You will not tire as quickly during your activity if you stretch first!

Warm-up Your Arms (pictured, right)

Stand with your feet together and your back straight and lift your arms over your head.

Warm-up Your Shoulders

Place your right arm straight across your chest. Your left arm should be placed bent over your left arm with your left wrist resting on the back of the right arm above the elbow. Now use your left arm to press your right arm into your body and hold for 10 seconds and repeat three times. Switch arms.

Warm-up Your Legs with the Straddle Stretch (pictured, below)

Sit on the ground and spread your legs out to the sides in a straddle position. Bend your body over your right leg and hold for 10 seconds. Then bend your body straight in front of you and hold for 10 seconds. Finally bend your body over your left leg and hold for 10 seconds. Do this without bouncing to stretch your lower back, inner thighs and hamstrings.

Pitching Exercises

Pitchers need strong abdominal muscles and leg muscles for balance and they certainly need strength and endurance in their shoulder and arm for throwing the fast and consistent pitches.

Two important muscle groups that work to make this happen are the muscles of the rotator cuff and the deltoids.

Here is an easy exercise you can do to work out your deltoids.
¤ Deltoid Raises

Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Keeping your abs tight and back straight, raise your arms up until they are parallel to the floor. This motion works the front part of the deltoid muscle. To work the side, or lateral, part, assume the same starting position and lift your arms to the side making a "T". Try each kind of deltoid raise 10 times.

Now let's exercise your rotator cuff.
¤ Resistance Band Rotation

Tie a piece of resistance tubing around a doorknob and stand away from the doorknob to get some resistance on the band. Place your elbow at your side, bent at a 90 degree angle, using your arm strength pull your hand out, away from your body while keeping the elbow tucked Repeat for 3 sets of 10. Next, turn and face the opposite direction and move your hand in towards our body, targeting the opposite muscles. Just like the first version of this exercise, keep your elbow tucked to your body and move only the hand. Repeat for 3 sets of 10.

WORK OUT YOUR CORE

Your core is made up of muscles around your abdomen (stomach-area) and back. All players need a strong core and for Cole Hamels a strong core equals endurance which helps him pitch deep into games. When you watch Hamels pitch look at how his body rotates from when he gets in his stance to when he fires the ball to home plate.

In the Phillies Phitness tips booklet you learned how to do crunches to strengthen our core. Other core exercises you can do are:

¤ Supermans

START: Lie face down on a table with arms and legs straight out.

MOTION: Keeping arms and legs straight, lift them and your head off the table. Hold this position for five seconds and return to START. Gradually work up to holding that position for 20 seconds and repeating it at least five times on each side.

¤ Bridging

START: Flat on back with both knees bent, feet flat on the ground.

MOTION: Keeping your stomach tight, lift your lower back off the table only supporting yourself on your shoulder blades. Hold this position for five seconds and gradually lower yourself back to the floor. Gradually work up to holding for a count of 10 and repeat at least five times. Don't forget to BREATHE!!!

Hitting Exercises

Hitting uses major groups such as the shoulders, biceps, triceps, and abdominals, but the muscles of the forearm - the wrist flexors and extensors - are just as important. The flexor muscles cover the front, or palm side, of the forearm and the extensors cover the back of the forearm.

This works the flexor muscles of the wrist/forearm.
¤ Wrist Curls

Take a small dumbbell or a can of soup/vegetables in your hand. Support your arm on a table or countertop with your wrist/hand over the edge. Holding the weight or can in your hand with your palm up extend your wrist down toward the floor and then curl it back up. Repeat this motion 10 times. To work the extensor muscles simply turn your palm over and perform the same motions.

¤ Grip Strength

Find something relatively soft - Play-Doh, clay, a rolled up towel, etc. and give it a squeeze. Open and close your hand to perform continuous repetitions. Do this for one minute and switch hands. Repeat three times.

Fielding Exercises

Next time you watch a Phillies game pay close attention to Carlos Ruiz. Ever wonder how he is able to maintain that catching position for nine whole innings - sometimes more? His leg muscles are also very strong. But it takes more than strength to maintain that Catcher's position behind the plate. It takes muscle endurance too - the ability of a muscle to continue to work over a long period of time. One of the major muscle groups that require both strength and endurance for catchers are the quadriceps.

The quadriceps or "quads" are four muscles that cover the front part of your leg.

¤ Squat

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes forward. Keep your chest up and eyes focused forward. Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself toward the ground (pretend there is a chair behind you and you are going to sit down). Make sure your knees stay straight and are directly above your toes, but not going past them. Gradually stand back up and repeat. Try to do two sets of 10.

¤ Wall-Sit

Stand against a wall or sturdy door with your feet about hip-width apart and toes forward. Keeping your back straight, head up, and shoulders back, slide down the wall letting your knees bend. Your upper body and quads should form an "L". Your knees should be straight and directly above your feet - not past them. Hold this position for 10 seconds and stand up. Try to build your endurance by working up to 30 seconds

Running Exercises

Strong leg muscles are important to help players cover ground in the outfield or steal bases. There are many groups of muscles in your legs - the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, hip adductors, and calf muscles.

Let's work out your hamstring.
¤ Hamstring Bridges

Lay down on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Squeezing your core and using your hamstrings, lift your low back off of the ground, hold in this bridge position for 3-5 seconds. Repeat for four sets of 10.

¤ Lunge (pictured, right)

Start with your feet apart (about hip-width). Step forward with your left leg and bend your knee. Keep your back straight, shoulders back, chest up, and keep looking forward so as not to slouch over. Keep your knee directly above your toes making sure it doesn't go further than that. Stand back up and switch legs. Repeat 5 times for each leg.

¤ Calf Raises

Jimmy Rollins is known for his speed on the bases and his quick feet at shortstop. His gastrocnemius, better known as the calf muscle allows him to stand on his toes to get baseballs hit in the hole and to explode out of the batter's box.

In the Phillies Phitness tips booklet you learned how to do a handless jumping jack to help strengthen your calf muscles. Calf raises are also an important exercise.

To do a calf raise: Stand with feet apart. Go up on the balls of your feet so that your heels leave the ground. Come back down to the starting position. To make it a little challenging do one leg at a time; Add dumbbells or weight in each hand for resistance.

Cool Down

When you complete any physical activity it is important to cool down to return your body to its pre-exercise state. This also helps to reduce injury.

Cool down exercises are often the same ones you do to warm-up your body. Here are some additional exercises you can try.

Cool Down Your Triceps (pictured, right)

Raise your right arm straight over your head and then bend your elbow so your fingers reach toward the middle of the back. Use your left hand to grab your right elbow and gently pull back your right arm to feel the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat three times. Switch arms.

Cool Down your Quadriceps

Bend your right leg and grab it with your right hand. Press your foot toward your buttocks to feel the stretch and hold for 10 seconds. Switch legs.

NOTE: If you need to hold onto a chair for balance do so with the opposing arm for each stretch.