By Tony Burtt of Cutting Edge Training for Athletes
A baseball training
program should incorporate a strength training component. Strength is
crucial for baseball success. The two primary reasons for this are to
develop explosive power and to protect against injury (especially arm
Many players neglect
to develop explosive power. The reasons for this are varied. Some don't
know how. Some have tried lifting weights, and become injured (doing the
wrong kind of baseball weight training). Some don't think it's important
In baseball training,
little things add up to make a huge difference. If you add even a small
increase in your power, your game will improve in all areas.
Here are some general guidelines for baseball training:
1. Use a variety of weight training methods such as free weights, body
weight, medicine ball, kettlebells and surgical tubing exercises.
2. Avoid pressing movements with heavy weights (risky for the shoulder).
3. Train your lower body with heavier weights.
4. Train your upper body with lighter weights.
5. Never forget to train the core of the body (hips, buttocks, lower back).
6. You must take special care to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles
using light (3-5 lb) weights.
Your aim with baseball training is to build functional strength. Baseball
is a sport that requires you to stop, start, and explode. It's a sport
dependent on explosive bursts of power, and reactions. You must train
your body to be strong at a variety of angles and planes. Every player
bends, twists, and throws.
If you're a baseball pitcher, there's three keys you must master to dominate
the competition. You can learn more about them here:
Keys To Pitching Dominance
Medicine balls are an excellent baseball
training tool. A solid medicine ball routine builds explosive power, and
teaches your muscles to work together as one tightly knit unit. I'd start
with an 8 or 9 pounder. Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Find a place where you have a solid wall and about 10 feet of ceiling
height. Hold the medicine ball in both hands at chest height like a basketball
player about to make a chest pass. At the same time, squat down and leap
off the ground. Jump up in the air and push the ball up as high as you
can against the wall. Quickly retrieve the ball and continue the drill
for 30 seconds. See how many you can complete.
2. Grab the medicine ball with your hands underneath. Squat down so that
your thighs come parallel with the ground (the ball is held with your
arms dangling in front of your body. When you squat down, they almost
touch the ground). Leap up off the ground, and at the same time, thrust
the ball up in the air (watch that you don't get hit by the ball as it
comes down!). Do as many as you can in 30 seconds.
Both of these above drills will build incredible strength and power. They
are excellent for baseball training.
Find out more about medicine balls and routines at: Medicine
Balls for Baseball Training
routines for baseball can be tricky. Many baseball players make the mistake
of trying to lift too much weight with various overhead lifts. This can
lead to a potential injury to the rotator cuff (the muscles in the shoulder
that basically keep your arm in the shoulder socket - pretty darn important
for a baseball player).
Let's get something really clear right now. If you can't throw a baseball
(or you can't throw it very well), then you're not much use to your team.
I don't know of many designated hitters being recruited by colleges or
signed to Major League contracts.
So, baseball weight training should avoid any overhead lifts with heavy
What do I recommend for baseball training? Let's start with lower body.
Exercises such as the squat, deadlift, and leg press for lower body. Heavier
weights are okay here, but get a spotter! Learn to do the lifts correctly!
And, there are some other exercises you can do that will really make a
try doing body weight lunges (at different angles), and single leg
squats (these are very difficult). These two lower body exercises build
excellent strength and flexibility in the core area. And, that's crucial
for baseball training.
There's an excellent baseball training web site that provides detailed
training programs for baseball players (and other athletes). You owe it
to yourself to take a look at this. There's no doubt you'll find information
that will take your game to a much higher level. It's the best info out
Baseball Training Programs
Take care of
Your baseball career depends on your arm. Don't neglect your rotator cuff
exercises. The rotator cuff is made up of four small muscles. They respond
very well to very light weights (3-5 lbs), and higher reps, say 15-20.
Surgical tubing is one of the best ways to build up your rotator cuff.
You should do exercises several times a week. There are dozens of good
rotator exercises. Check your favorite search engine for "rotator
cuff exercises" and you'll find one you'll like.
Your baseball training *must* include the rotator cuff.
Oh, one more thing. Always stretch out your arm (rotators) before you
start throwing (and afterwards). And, if you're a pitcher, I recommend
you get out the surgical tubing and get a little work in with it too before
you throw. Give yourself every edge and advantage with your baseball training.
Okay. How about your upper body? No baseball conditioning program would
be complete without good old-fashioned push-ups. Hey, I know they're not
high-tech, but they are excellent for baseball. Why you ask
because they strengthen the rotator cuff, and the rest of your shoulder
(arm strength), as well as your chest, and arm muscles. They give you
an awesome return on your "sweat equity." Try a wide variety
see if you can work up to a one-armed pushup. When you can crank off 10
or so one-armed push-ups, then you're getting pretty strong.
Push-ups are better than bench presses. But if you must bench press, only
use dumbbells. And, avoid heavy weights. Again, the risk of injury to
the shoulder is ever-present, especially with a barbell. So, if you're
going to bench press, use dumbbells with a spotter.
Next, you need to do some chin-ups. Do them both with palms facing forward
and towards you. These are difficult (most people can only do 3 or 4),
but again, you get a lot of bang for the buck with this body weight exercise.
Don't underestimate the value of body weight exercises like lunges, push-ups
and chin-ups. Try them. You'll be amazed at what a regular, simple routine
can do for you. And, the risk of injury is minimal.
An alternative to chin-ups are rows. I'd look for a machine that allows
you to do them sitting down. Don't do lat pull-downs in front of your
head (again, to avoid injury to your shoulders).
Kettlebells can be an excellent baseball training device. In particular,
for the lower body. Kettlebell swings build explosive power in the hips,
buttocks, and legs (not to mention stamina). Those muscles generate the
explosive power and speed you're after. I'd avoid the overhead snatches,
and clean and jerks, but the lower body lifts and other core area exercises
would be fantastic. Kettlebells are small and portable. You can take them
anywhere. You can get a fantastic workout in just 10 minutes.What's that?
You've never heard of kettlebells? No problem! Elite combat troops have
known about them for a while
and many athletes are using them to
gain an edge on the competition. Here's an excellent resource to learn
for Baseball Speed and Power!