Softball is a fun sport, and it offers excellent exercise. Of course, as with any sport, it is important to develop fitness for optimal performance.
The Muscles You Use:
Softball consists of a number of different skills, each of which in turn requires the combined efforts of a number of different muscles.
When you throw a softball, you use your pectoralis major and deltoids to generate most of the actual movement of the throw, albeit with some help from your latissimus dorsi. Your triceps extend your elbow and deliver the ball.
Of course, throwing the ball requires you to step forward, using your quadriceps (quads), hamstrings, adductor, abductor and gluteal muscles (glutes). You rotate your torso using the internal obliques, external obliques, rectus abdominis and erector spinae muscles.
Batting also requires a step and a torso rotation, and uses essentially the same muscles for those steps. When you actually swing the bat, you are using virtually all of the muscles of your upper body.
Workouts to Try:
For your upper body workout, try the compound row exercise, with either a cable machine or a resistance band. Arms extended and cable or band taught, bend forward until your chest is parallel to the floor, and then stand up straight. This exercise is great for the lats, rear deltoid, and biceps.
The cable chest press is another good exercise to try on a cable machine. Keep your upper arms at about a 45 degree angle, and bend your elbows 90 degrees. Extend through the elbow, keeping your shoulder blades retracted. Pause at full extension and then return to the starting position.
For your legs, try squats. Squats are an excellent choice because they will help you strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. They can be performed with or without weights.
Begin with your feet apart, at slightly more than shoulder width. Now, bend your knees and bring your buttocks down, as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair. When your knees reach 90 degrees, you can raise yourself back up.
Lunges are also indispensable. Holding dumbbells in each hand, take a large step forward with one leg, bringing your thigh parallel to the ground. Slightly bend your back leg without touching the ground while you do this, and balance on the ball of your back foot.
After a short pause, push through your front foot, stepping backwards to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
While these particular exercises are all very good, softball is a sport that requires conditioning of many different muscle groups, which must learn to work together. Stretching is a must: it will help your muscles limber up and become more responsive.
In general, focus on exercises that will help you build your muscles in keeping with how you use them in the field. Put your emphasis on building up multiple muscle groups in coordination with each other.
Softball is a great sport, and with the right approach to fitness you’ll be off to a good start.