Baseball Strength Training – The Right Way

Baseball strength training is one area of the sports world that’s a bit behind in terms of training methodology. Thoughts of training with light weights, emphasizing stretching only and performing long slow bouts of endurance training are still around today. It’s my opinion this idea leads to more opportunity for injury and reduced performance. This article’s focus is not on giving out a cookie cutter program, but about providing ideas for improving your baseball strength training program.

On that note, baseball is considered a power sport and should be trained as such. This means focusing on improving the power capabilities of the athlete through various strength/power training methods. Power cannot be achieved without a base of strength so more of this quality should always be sought after. Often this requires lifting heavy loads coupled with plyometric (jump training) and sprint-type activities for conditioning.

Weight Training for The Baseball Athlete

A baseball strength training program should look similar to training programs of other athletes. Sport specificity is the big term used today, but really should only apply to conditioning. The idea of sport specific strength training implies the use of loading movements associated with the sport. I feel mimicking sport skill under load is inherently dangerous to the athlete and the load (weight) used during these activities is typically too low to produce any real result.

The Baseball training program should center around strength improvement. In my experience most, if not all, baseball players need more strength. Strength is the foundation of speed, power and endurance. The best way to accomplish this is through focusing on big compound movements like squats, deadlifts, chin ups, lunges, various pressing movements, etc. Single joint movements should account for 20{15aeb35eec840799df247626cfa6821cb9499241e90aba7a245c8546144fd8f4} or less of the total training volume to achieve maximal progress. A few possible contraindicated exercises for the baseball athlete are as follows:

Overhead Lifting

Some Olympic Lifting Variations

Barbell Pressing Movements

By making strength improvements alone, most baseball players will see significant performance improvements in one or more

A Word On Unilateral Exercise

Baseball is a sport that promotes unilateral strength dominance/imbalance. This is because one side does most of the work at the expense of the other, leading to a potentially large strength imbalance between left and right sides. This significant imbalance predisposes the athlete for injury.

Training one limb at a time will reduce the strength differential. This applies for all aspects of the body including the rotator cuff and scapula. I use this specific example because many pitchers only focus on their throwing side shoulder. They feel there’s no need to train the opposite side because it’s not used for throwing the baseball. This still, however, makes the athlete susceptible to injury.

In Conclusion

I hope this helps you get a better idea of what a baseball strength training program should look like. Just remember, baseball is a power sport and needs to logically/safely be trained as such. Good luck!

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