Preparing for Spring Training - The 4 Most Effective Supplements for Baseball Players
While much of the U.S. is still covered in snow and dealing with frigid conditions, baseball players are nonetheless gearing up in preparation for Spring and the upcoming baseball season. For those dedicated lifers to the sport still considered “America’s Pastime,” few questions invoke joy and optimism quite like that magical little query…”When do pitchers and catchers report?”
In Major League Baseball, pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training signals the start of the season, even though the rest of the team doesn’t arrive for about another week. This year, that magical day occurs on Feb. 12, but many amateur baseball teams, such as high school and collegiate, have already begun their preparations for the upcoming season.
Like any athlete, getting a leg up on the competition -- in a legal way -- can be the difference between being a star and being a scrub. Utilizing supplements properly can give you that advantage, as long as you’re putting in the work. No matter what you take, there are no magic pills that will turn you into Aaron Judge overnight. But there are several supplements on the market that can help you reach your goals.
It may sound hard to believe, but it wasn’t too long ago that experts thought adding muscle for baseball was a hindrance. Now, of course, we know better, and if you look at the players currently suiting up for Major League teams, you can clearly see the difference in muscle mass from the 1980s as compared to now. So it’s no surprise that players of all levels are making their physical health a bigger priority.
So what are the best supplements for baseball players to utilize? We’ll examine some of the most beneficial and most popular supplements for ball players in the modern age. But please remember, as with any supplement use, to discuss it with your physician first. If you’re playing organized baseball, you might also want to check with your team’s trainer and/or the league to ensure there are no banned ingredients in your supplement.
- Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine is essential to fat-free muscle growth and keeps your cells energized to help you push through difficult conditioning exercises and muscle training. Increasing muscle mass is vital to offseason workouts, but in season, creatine monohydrate also has the ability to preserve that lean muscle. Research has also shown that creatine can improve explosiveness, reduce muscle soreness and boost stamina. For best results, it’s important to use creatine monohydrate as opposed to just plain old creatine. Optimum Nutrition's Micronized Creatine Powder is a very strong choice, with 5 grams of creatine monohydrate. Muscletech Platinum Creatine and MusclePharm Creatine also contain 5 grams per serving each and are very highly rated and recommended.
- Protein powder (Whey protein): For any athlete, protein powder is an essential supplement due to its ability to repair muscle fibers and prevent muscle breakdown following workouts or games. Protein powders are critical for maximum muscle repair and is key to muscle growth as well. Baseball players usually have very challenging game schedules, where they’re playing a game every day, and those protein powders can really help speed up your muscle recovery and will help you gain more explosiveness as well. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein is among the best selling and top rated whey protein supplements along with Syntha-6, Dymatize Natural Iso-100 and NitroTech Whey Gold.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Baseball can be brutal on your joints and ligaments, especially for pitchers and catchers. For a pitcher, throwing at full velocity for a long period of time puts immense strain on the elbow and shoulder. If you’re throwing a lot of breaking pitches, such as curveballs and sliders, that strain becomes even worse from the torque generated to put the proper spin on the ball (as a side note, if you’re under 16 years of age, you really should keep breaking pitches like these to a minimum. It can do permanent damage to your arm). Catchers have to stand and squat constantly, and over a 9-inning game, that can mean repeating that motion over 100 times which can really leave you knees feeling sore and inflamed. Look for a joint supplement that uses glucosamine sulfate as opposed to glucosamine HCI. Glucosamine sulfate is considerably better at reducing joint pain and inflammation. Flexacil Ultra is far and away the best joint supplement on the market.
- Nootropics: Baseball is a sport that favors players who are in “the zone.” The concentration required by baseball players is significantly more than most other sports require. When you’re standing in the batter’s box, it’s just you, your teammate can’t hit for you, so you have to be able to stay focus and locked in. Nootropics, while still relatively new in the supplement marketplace, can have a very positive impact on concentration, allowing you to stay locked in and focused. You might not be able to count the number of stitches you hit with the bat like Ted Williams, but it could help you pick up the spin on the ball faster or help you recognize those little nuances of the game that can be critical. Pyroxamine from Myokem is a thermogenic fat burner with stimulants that has some really innovative nootropic effects. It can give you a laser-like focus, keeps you in the zone and helps your mental game stay sharp. Neuro FX, Purus Labs Muscle Marinade and Nutrakey Tru Pre also have some good attributes when it comes to focus and energy.