Baseball is a great American treasure, but it is also tough on the body. Baseball requires power, speed, mobility, and explosive performance, and exercises for baseball players must achieve all. Those demands require intense training, trips to the gym, and yes, pain comes with it too. Don’t battle injury so you can excel when you hit the field.
Create a plan that prevents injury and makes you the best player. It is possible to train without pain, and the experts can tell you how. Here are the greatest exercises for baseball players.
What Makes Great Exercises for Baseball Players?
Before we get started, let’s explore what makes great exercises for baseball players. You need to know which exercises are blunders so you can pick the best for your performance and your body. Great exercises for baseball players do the following:
- Train the entire body
- Improve explosive power
- Strengthen and protect the shoulder
- Improve mobility of the thoracic spine
- Improve ankle, trunk, and shoulder mobility
What exercises should not be are painful. Don’t shy away from soreness, but don’t fall victim to the ridiculous myth – “no pain, no gain.”
Exercises for Baseball Players
When it comes to finding the best exercises for baseball players, take advice from baseball players and professionals who have experience training athletes. The body-building guy does not have the advice you need. You need expert direction.
Just remember, the best exercises for anyone are individualized based of a personal training sports assessment.
1. Rotational cable row
The rotational cable row is a great exercise for baseball players because it improves power and develops hip rotation. This is good for throwing and batting. Make sure the feet are a little more than shoulder-width apart. Reach across your body and grab the cable. The body must be in the batting position. When you pull the cable up and rotate, the movements mimic batting.
Coach Sean Herrin and Coach Yohei Arakaki
2. Alternating lateral lunge with overhead reach
The alternating lateral lunge is a way for baseball players to correct and address muscle and training imbalances. It’s all about mobility. The lateral lunge is ideal for pitchers and field players because it mimics the transfer of power and mechanics of catching. The overhead reach improves shoulder strength and thoracic spine extension. This also improve hip mobility, kep for all baseball players, especially catchers.
Coach Eric Cressey
3. Prone planks
Planks are great exercises for baseball players. Planks build stability and a strong core, and they aid in balancing and increasing overall body strength. Planks support the back and the hips, too. Planks are more difficult than crunches, but they are favored because they work more muscles than just the abdominals. New research suggests having a posterior pelvic tilt and scapular adduction increases overall core activation (Cortell-Tormo 2016).
READ MORE: Look at this impressive plank guide for baseball pitchers.
4. Standing cable baseball swing
The standing cable swing improves trunk rotation, ab stability, and core strength with resistance training. The standing cable swing is one of the greatest exercises for baseball players because it advances the power behind the bat and protects the back and shoulders. Make sure to rotate from the hips, not being stiff in the hips.
5. Medicine ball overhead stomp
The medicine ball overhead stomp is one of the best exercises for baseball players because it mimics the power necessary to produce ground power. This is critical for pitchers and players in the field who need to generate extra power when getting the ball to a base.
Coach Tony Gentilcore
6. Glute bridge
The glute bridge builds power and stability in the glutes and the hips, and it promotes glute activation. The glute bridge is essential for a strong and stable swing. As baseball players build power, weight can be added to increase strength.
Trainer Shane Miller
7. Single-leg and single-arm cable row
This exercise achieves many strength-training goals for baseball players by working the lower body and the upper body simultaneously and demanding balance while doing so. When done properly, the single-leg and single-arm cable row activates the glutes, hamstrings, back muscles, and core muscles. Where this can get tricky for baseball players is the arm extension that occurs. Baseball players must keep the back straight and not fully extend the arm. Doing so stresses the shoulders.
Coach Nick Tumminello
8. Standing trunk rotation
Rotation, rotation! That is one of the biggest goals for baseball players. Rotation occurs during pitching, throwing, and batting. Poor rotational movement impedes power, causes back pain, and leads to shoulder injuries. The standing trunk rotation exercise can be done with a bar, resistance band, medicine ball, or barbell. Remember to move from the upper spine, do not twist from the lumbar spine, which increases lumbar stress (a common concern for baseball players).
9. Medicine ball side throw
This is one of the greatest exercises for baseball players because it focuses on rotational power and it relieves pressure on the lower extremities on the field. This exercises also promotes better form and stability.
Dr. John Mullen
10. Front-to back-lunge
Adding front-to-back lunges to a baseball player’s workout because it increases stability and flexibility in the lower extremities. The lunge combination allows baseball players to experience from both front and lunge benefits. The lunge requires the activation of the core muscles, glutes, and thigh muscles.
Southern Virginia University Athletics
Any variation of hops, such as lateral and mini hops, accomplish many training goals. The simple exercises make baseball players lighter in their feet, improve directional movement, and improves side-to-side transferal. This allows players to improve hip and knee flexion, agility, and coordination. Hops are a great tool for fielders, particularly the infielders.
Here is a good example of a hop progression for baseball players.
12. Reverse dumbbell lunge
There is a lot of debate about the best lunge, forward or reverse? For baseball players, the reverse lunge is the most effective. When baseball players add weight to the exercises, the benefits result in better performance and power on the field. The benefits of the reverse lunge include developing the lower body, improving forward momentum, and developing optimum leg power. It also reduces pain in the knees and ankles.
13. Heiden jumps
Heidens are common exercises for hockey players, but they provide great value to baseball players too. Haidens improve stamina, balance, and flexibility in the ankles and knees. Thus, baseball players will be able to get off the ground quicker when hitting or throwing the ball across the field.
14. Push-up variation
Baseball players need pushups to improve trunk stability and shoulder strength, but pushups must be done properly. Pushups are great exercises for baseball players because they build strength in the player’s throwing arm. Bad and compromised pushups can cause back problems and stress on the shoulders.
15. Long toss
The long toss routine is one players use to improve strength, maintain rhythm, and improve position and accuracy. The goal here is not to throw the ball as hard as you can, but to make the most accurate throw that you can. Use the body’s momentum to get the ball across the field, not the shoulder.
Do 10 throws close, and then have the throwing partner move back further each time to increase the throwing distance.
Infielder Ryan Roberts
16. Hexbar deadlift
The deadlift is one of the best exercises to target and activate the glutes. The glutes are one of the greatest contributors to optimal hip rotation, power, and running agility. The deadlift fires them up and helps strengthen the back, too.
Do 2 or 3 reps of 8 deadlifts.
Pitcher Tim Collins
17. Baseball for mobility
Use the baseball for more than throwing. Baseball players can use the baseball for mobility, too. Use the baseball for SMR techniques on the glutes, IT band, triceps, and trapezius.
Dr. John Mullen
Conclusion: Advice from Dr. John
Baseball players need to focus on balance, explosive power, agility, and rotational power. Strength-training helps baseball players achieve these results, but only if the exercises are done properly and with the mechanics of the game in mind. What baseball players need to avoid are exercises that exhaust only certain muscles, such as muscles in the shoulder. Doing so causes significant imbalances and leads to injury instead of success on the field. Baseball is a full-body sport, so the greatest exercises for baseball players must address all the muscles, not just a select few. Baseball exercise plans must also be created and monitored by strength-training and performance coaches who have experience working with youth athletes, especially youth baseball athletes, in the San Jose area.
Cortell-Tormo JM, García-Jaén M, Chulvi-Medrano I, Hernández-Sánchez S, Lucas-Cuevas ÁG, Tortosa-Martínez J. Influence Of Scapular Position On The Core Musculature Activation In The Prone Plank Exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Oct 17. [Epub ahead of print]