Don’t Condition Like an Idiot

Guest Author: Jay Ashman

If you read Jason Ferrugias excellent post on conditioning and strength training, you already have an idea of how stupid over-conditioning is.  Even if you play a sport you need to tailor your conditioning to fit those needs.  Very few power sports  require you to run almost continually for a long distance/time, most of them are in sprint intervals and a degree of aerobic capacity is required, but let’s not overdo it.

When I played baseball in high school, and for my local American Legion team, we would never do sprints, wind sprints or any kind of anaerobic activity.  Our conditioning was pretty much running a mile before practice, batting practice, fielding practice and fundamentals.  I would be safe in saying that the vast majority of baseball programs in those days were like that.

Unfortunately many still are.  There are enough old-school coaches out there that still believe in piss-poor conditioning tactics to make an article like this needed.

For a sport predicated on speed and quickness, like baseball, why waste too much time doing mile runs when you could be working on speed and anaerobic capacity?

How many times in a game do you find yourself slowly building up an pace to catch a line drive in the outfield?  How many times do you saunter to third base to beat a throw?  Sounds silly to say that, doesn’t it?  Well that is what excess LSD running teaches your body.

Baseball isn’t what it used to be, the players are bigger, stronger and better athletes.  Gone are the days of John Kruk who used to get by on being powerful and fat, these are the days of athletes who train as hard in the off season as some football players do.  If you don’t adapt, even at the high school level, you don’t stand a chance to improve your game and take it to the next level.  There are too many quick, fast and strong athletes out there to continue to train like its 1955.

Instead of doing all those easy runs, substitute them with shuttle runs, stop and go sprints, run the base paths as hard as you can, push a sled, run hills, etc.  Be creative.  Analyze what the game needs as far as conditioning goes and train for it.

This isn’t to say that doing a long run is bad.  Hell, a nice jog is great for recovery and to build an aerobic base.  If you are playing outfield you are probably going to be chasing balls down quite frequently and if your aerobic base is inadequate you will have a hard time sustaining it throughout the game.  But if you overdo aerobic work and don’t do enough speed work/anaerobic endurance you simply won’t be ready to turn up the speed when that line drive is headed towards the gap.

If you are playing the infield you will need to have quick lateral movements, and explosive power to get the jump on the ball.

The only way to get to that level is to train at that level; sprints, heavy lifts, jumps, medicine ball throws, etc.

To ensure your mix of anaerobic and aerobic is solid (and not aerobic-biased) follow this basic rule; for every 3 anaerobic/anerobic endurance conditioning days you have, throw one LSD run in the mix to recover, build the aerobic base and to rest the CNS from all the max effort running and lifting you will be doing to prepare for the season.

The keys to athletic excellence are rather simple to follow; the same rules apply to anyone looking to get stronger, in better shape and be healthier:

●     Lift heavy

●     Run fast

●     Deload

●     Eat healthy

If you are an athlete add in practicing your sport and training to excel in your chosen sport.

It isn’t nuclear engineering to get ready for your sport, but don’t be stupid and train like an idiot.

About the Author

Jay Ashman is the Director of Athletics at Gorilla Pit in Ohio.  A former college athlete, and Division 1 men’s rugby player he started training athletes in 2004 and has worked with athletes from all major sports in high school, college and professionals.  He is a strongman competitor and has competed in powerlifting.  Find him at http://jayashman.com and Gorilla Pit at http://www.gorilla-pit.com

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