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Softball players know that it's important to stay in shape during the season, and especially off-season. Regular training might include throwing, running and catching. In addition to regular sport-specific training, softball players should exercise to improve their endurance. Sustained cardio, plyometrics for power and endurance and interval training can help a softball player improve endurance and performance.
A proper warm-up is essential before beginning any workout routine. Prepare your shoulders and rotator cuffs for more vigorous exercise. Warming up helps increase blood flow to the joints and muscles, which can reduce the risk of injury. You can warm up by doing light exercise such as brisk walking, jogging around the field, and doing calisthenics, such as jumping jacks or jumping rope. Finish up with some stretching exercises for the shoulders.
Interval training improves endurance by strengthening the cardiovascular system with bursts of intense exercise followed by slower, less intense exercise. Interval training can improve your speed as well as your endurance. Sport-specific interval training might include sprinting as fast as you can for one minute followed by 30 seconds of slower running. This type of interval training mimics your sprinting to steal a base, running to first base after a hit and running as fast as you can for home base.
Plyometric conditioning helps improve muscle strength and endurance with resistance exercises that cause the muscles to rapidly stretch and then shorten. Leaping, hopping and bounding are examples of plyometric exercises. Plyometric exercises should be sports-specific. Softball players should condition for throwing power and sprinting speed. Players can throw a medicine ball back and forth to increase arm and shoulder strength for more explosive throwing and hitting power. Catchers can squat to catch a light weight medicine ball and immediately throw it back to the pitcher to condition the shoulders.
Cardio Endurance Training
Cardiovascular exercise is moderate to intense exercise that elevates the heart and respiration rates. Sustained cardiovascular exercise improves the endurance of your heart and lungs. Twenty to 30 minutes of continuous cardio exercise improves heart and lung functions to more efficiently deliver oxygen to your cells and remove waste products. Running is one of the most effective forms of cardio endurance training. Softball players generally do not run constantly during a game, but can benefit from the improved heart and lung conditioning that cardio exercise provides.