Depending on where you are in the country, your baseball season is bound to start sometime within the next 2-4 months.
That makes it prime time to work on an offseason conditioning program. Ideally, if you worked on a strength program during the fall, that would set you up perfectly for a short conditioning period to lead into baseball practice.
We’re talking sprints, ladders and such — the stuff that will give you what it takes to play every inning at your best without getting too fatigued.
But in January, that’s easier said than done. It’s cold out and it gets dark early, which makes it a lot easier to hibernate through the winter.
It’s not impossible, though, to get out and train. Follow these three simple tips, and you’ll be ready to go by baseball season.
1. Dress the part.
Wear layers, so you can peel off or add on clothing depending on how you feel. An easy way to do this is to wear a warm-up jacket while you warm up, which you can take off when you get to the hard part of your workout.
Preferably, your base layer should be made with moisture-wicking materials. This keeps your gear from getting soaked with sweat while you train, which can chill you off when you’re done.
This makes Under Armour’s Coldgear a great choice for outdoor training in the winter.
Coldgear is designed for temperatures under 55° F and features a double-sided fabric that wicks moisture away and circulates body heat.
Just because you’re not out there sweating in the summer sun doesn’t mean you’re not losing fluids. You lose it through evaporating sweat, your breath and the metabolic effects of being in the cold.
Add to that the fact that cold weather can actually depress feelings of thirst, and it’s easy to get dehydrated when it’s cold out.
Depending on how much you weigh and how much you sweat, your mileage may vary, but an easy rule of thumb is to drink 5 oz. of water or sports drink every 10-15 minutes. That will keep your performance level high and your immune system from getting depressed.
3. Warm up and cool down.
Don’t jump right into things, and don’t stop abruptly. Your muscles and connective tissues need time to reach their ideal warmth, otherwise your performance will be less-than-ideal and you’ll be at risk for injury.
A good warmup should last about five minutes, and it should involve some light calisthenics — jogging, jumping jacks, etc.
Once you’re done with your workout, finish things off with some light jogging and then begin stretching. That’ll improve your recovery, reduce your risk of injury and help you feel ready to go the next time.