I really enjoy discussing cross-training and different types of workouts in general, but things can get a little tricky when we are in season (see last week’s post) or when we are dealing with younger populations. Training at any level has to be age appropriate and skill-level appropriate, so I wanted to give you an idea of what that might look like.
Let me preface this by saying that, though I have done Crossfit, I don’t think it is appropriate cross-training for softball at any age. I also feel that young athletes should be careful with how they incorporate weights into their workouts because their growth plates are not yet closed. I am a huge fan of integrating a lot of bodyweight work, battle ropes, and some med balls. But what are some easily accessible workouts appropriate for each age level? Hear it goes:
Age 12 and under: I do not recommend any weights at all for this age. Yoga and Piyo are good programs that both use bodyweight. If you find that those programs are not challenging enough, you can do a program like Core de Force in moderation, since it incorporates a lot of bodyweight training. I also love it for its emphasis on kicks. Learning how to execute a strong kick is essential as a pitcher since that helps you to drive with your legs.
Ages 13-16: I strongly recommend a focus on agility work, so a program like Shift Shop is usually perfect. Core de Force would also be great for this age. If you choose to use weights at this point, keep them light. Remember, you don’t want to become TIGHT, especially as a pitcher. Flexibility, injury prevention, and your ability to be explosive are the most important things during this time.
Ages 17 and up: At this point, I highly recommend an evaluation by a physical therapist who has a specialty in sports performance and knows about the demands of your position. Your unique body type, your position, and previous injuries might require that you perform very specific exercises, so being evaluated is a smart move. I personally love P90x2 for this age group, but it is a difficult program and something you should build up to, so it might be better to start with something like 21 Day Fix or A Little Bit Obsessed. I like the emphasis that A Little Bit Obsessed places on the glutes and core, and you can use that program to graduate to 80 Day Obsession.
You can access all of these programs through Beachbody on Demand. I like to keep things simple. You can get several hundred workouts in the On Demand programming. It makes it easy to do all of your cross-training in your house with limited equipment. You don’t have to get a gym membership or anything like that. You can actually just work out in your pajamas. As always, read, share, and let me know if you have any questions.
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