How To Create An Effective Baseball Lifting Program

It is common knowledge that baseball exercises often follow agility and speed training programs, however not many people are aware that weight training is essential for a player’s development. Highly effective at increasing muscle strength, power, and overall fitness, lifting weights or using a medicine ball must be done strategically throughout the baseball season, to avoid causing stress and injury to the body.

Baseball players need to exert maximum power when pitching, running and batting. They require intense stamina to sustain such movements, and following an effective weight training program can ensure that they reach their maximum potential as an athlete.

workout for baseball players

Essential Baseball Exercises

These baseball workouts have been selected as they cover the most used and important muscles which need constant, repetitive training. It is key for players to have a balanced workout, as well as maintaining an even distribution of muscle weight and stamina.

Focusing on upper and lower body exercises in a structured program will show continuous improvement in any player, as long as they execute the training exercises correctly.

Some training programs incorporate the use of a medicine ball, which is great for developing power and strength from the lower to upper body. With varying weights, the medicine ball can be added to a drill to increase challenge, promote core stability and decrease chance of injury when rotating.

Baseball Workout at Home!

Front Squat

The front squat focuses on strengthening the quads rather than the glutes (back squats are more suited for this area). The front squat is a great addition to any strength training program as not only does it increase leg muscle, it also challenges the lower back to stay straight and maintain the torso position.

Place the barbell across the front of the shoulders
Position your fingers under the barbell and drive your elbows upwards
Bend at the hips and knees, lowering into the squat
The thighs should be parallel to the ground before slowly straightening up into the starting position again

Barbell Hip Thrust

This glute exercise is used in baseball training to improve power, speed, and strength, as well as developing hip extension.

To execute a barbell hip thrust, follow these steps and take caution when positioning the bar:

Start by bracing yourself against the bench, having positioned the bar directly on your upper thigh, below the crotch area
Using a pad can help with the pressure if the weights fee; very heavy on the thighs
Keep your feet tucked in closely to your glutes, and flat on the floor
Drive your hips skywards, tensing the abs as you lift up
Hold for a count then slowly lower back down to the starting position

Check Out the Right Way to Do Barbell Hip Thrust:

Blackburns

Blackburns target the shoulders and elbows, helping pitchers with their throwing abilities. Strengthening this area also decreases the risk of injury so it is useful to include in any strength training program.

Position yourself on a table, lying face down with your arms hanging straight down over the sides
With the palms facing down towards the floor, raise the arms out sideways
Hold for a few seconds and then lower back down
Repeat as necessary

Pallof Press

The pallof press stabilizes the core, and increases power, strength, and functional fitness in baseball players. This type of training also improves muscular endurance, making it a key component of any strength training program.

Begin by attaching a resistance band to a fixed anchor at chest height; tension must be maintained on the band at all times
Your body should be positioned perpendicular to the band and your fingers must be interlocked
The knees shouldn’t be locked – allow slight flexion in the joints
Step away from the anchor, increasing tension on the band
With your hands clasping the band, press your fists into the sternum and begin squeezing the shoulder-blades together
Maintain the shoulders, pull the band inwards, feeling the flex in the core of the body and the abs
Pause in this position, and then repeat

Pallof Press Tutorial:

Front Lunge

The front lunge is a functional movement that targets the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. If mixed with side lunges, it will not only power and strengthen the leg muscles, but also help agility when changing and moving direction.

To currently perform a lunge:

Begin by standing up straight
With one foot, step forward until your leg is at a 90-degree angle, but don’t allow the knee to go beyond the toes
The rear knee must stay parallel to the ground
Get to the starting position again by lifting the front lunging leg
Repeat these steps before changing to the other leg

Lateral Sled Drag

The lateral sled drag is highly effective at building strength and power in the core of the body. Similar to a pallof press, this type of training is useful for training lateral movement. It also works the hip’s internal/external rotation component and leg muscles.

When performing the lateral sled drag, it is important to keep moving, otherwise you will lose momentum and hamper the effectiveness of the drill.

Begin with making sure you have a secure grip on the handle to avoid causing stress to the shoulder area
Keep your body low, and use your feet to propel you forward, making sure to not ‘shuffle’ across the floor
Go for a set distance, and then swap direction to ensure that both legs are equally trained

Quick Lateral Sled Drag Demo:

Farmer’s Walks

Farmers’ walks primarily benefit a baseball player by developing and strengthening a strong core brace, which supports the spine. As well as strengthening your shoulders, upper back, biceps, triceps, and forearm muscles, the farmers’ walk also works out your lower body, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

Begin by standing up straight, with the weights held by your sides, and keep your shoulders tight.
Taking quick, short steps, walk a set distance of your choice. If space permits, increase the walking amount to add more of a challenge
Repeat as necessary

How to Perform the Farmer’s Walk:

Strategy for an Effective Weight Training Program

To create an effective, challenging, and balanced baseball weight training program, there are a few factors that need to be considered.

First, decide on the type of weight lifting exercises that will be included, and work out how many sets and repetitions will be completed for each exercise. Keep in mind that the goal is to increase muscle mass whilst also getting the heart beating to burn energy.

Once this stage has been established, work out how much weight can actually be lifted and sustained, as it is highly counterproductive to handle weights that are too heavy. This can result in serious damage; injuries like muscle tears can take a long time to heal.

It is important to be clear on the zones of the body which need to be strengthened, and then incorporate weight training exercises that will target those muscles. Focus on both the upper and lower body; the legs are just as important as having strength in the arms. Some exercises, like the front squat, are great at mixing weight training with core strengthening benefits.

Build Upper Body Strength

The repetitiveness of pitching can put a lot of stress and burden on the shoulders, arm joints, and muscles. Building upper body strength in baseball players is key as they need strong forearms and wrists, especially when executing pitches with precision. Most fielders and catchers will benefit from having strong shoulders, which increases their accuracy when throwing.

An upper body strength training program will also help players avoid injury, by keeping their ligaments, muscles, and joints as strong as possible. Some simple workouts, if done correctly, can positively train the muscles and increase an athlete’s performance.

Check Out This Exciting Video:

Dumbbell Curl

The dumbbell curl is a great way to strengthen the muscles which are used when the elbows are flexed. Not only are the biceps needed for carrying weight, but they also provide stabilization when using the arms for any type of movement.

With a dumbbell in each hand, let your arms hang by your sides. Your elbows should be close to the torso, and palms must be kept facing forward
Curl the weights up to shoulder level, contracting the biceps and hold for a count.
Slowly release back to the original position

Barbell Curl

This type of pull exercise is aimed mainly at the biceps, but also works the muscles in the shoulders and forearms.

Stand tall, bracing your core whilst holding the barbell with an underhand grip
Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, start by raising your hands whilst maintaining the tension felt in the biceps
Curl the bar up to shoulder height and squeeze the biceps
Slowly lower the bar keeping the biceps tense and engaged
Once the bar is back down, straighten the arms fully to stretch out the triceps and biceps.

Bench Press

The bench press is one of the most effective methods of gaining upper body strength and power, especially in the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Start by lying down on the bench, with your eyes positioned under the bar
Grab the bar, ensuring that your thumbs are around the bar
Straighten your arms to un-rack the bar
Steadily lower the bar to your mid chest
Slowly press back up the bar until your arms are straight again, and hold this position for a few seconds
Lower the bar again and then repeat

Barbell Row

The barbell row is used to strengthen the muscles in the upper and lower back, arms and hips. To properly execute the barbell row, follow these steps:

With a medium stance, stand with your mid- foot under the bar
With your palms facing down, bend over and grab the bar
Unlock your knees and keep your hips high
Straighten your back and lift your chest
The final step is to pull the bar against your lower chest, before slowly lowering down

Learn the Truth About Barbell Rows

Building Leg Strength

Strength training programs would be useless if legs were not a focus as much as upper body strength, especially when performed for baseball training drills. Legs are essential in pitching, as they provide velocity, and as pitchers perform close to 100 pitches a game, having muscular endurance is greatly needed.

There are a number of strength training exercises that incorporate weight training as well. The front squat, alongside deadlifts and calf workouts, is a great way to increase power in the leg muscles as well as strengthening the ligaments and joints.

in-season baseball workout program

Squats

The squat is a common leg work-out used for many purposes. Squats are used to strengthen and build muscles in the thighs, buttocks, hamstrings, and hips, as well as strengthening ligaments and bones. Baseball players can also benefit from the improved core strength, ankle mobility, and stability that come with squatting.

Proper Form

Although squats can be done with or without a barbell, the use of one increases the intensity of the exercise, and will force the athlete to improve on their core balance and endurance. In comparison to the front squat, the bar should be placed one behind the shoulders instead of in front.

Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and the bar on the upper part of your back
Squat down by moving your hips backwards and pushing your knees outwards slightly
Hold this position for a few seconds and breathe
Slowly push up, keeping your knees out and chest up.
Stand up straight and then repeat

To Know More About Squats and Deadlifts, Watch This Video:

Deadlifts

Deadlifts are a useful exercise to work the thighs and hamstrings, in addition to the hips, arms, and forearms. Your back muscles work to keep the spine neutral, however, the legs are the key component in this exercise. Deadlifts work by lifting a loaded barbell up to hip level from the ground, and slowly lowering it down to the ground again.

Proper Form

Start by positioning yourself behind the bar, with the bar almost touching your legs
Put your weight in your heels and keep your feet flat against the floor
Bend down to the lift the bar, arms should stay vertical and your legs shouldn’t bend
Make sure your spine stays straight
Bend the knees and pick up the bar by raising the chest, which keeps the spine straight
Stand up with the weight, and keep the bar against the legs
Slowly release back down to the first position, by unlocking the knees and keeping your back straight as you lower down

It isn’t advised to perform squats and deadlifts on consecutive days as the same muscle groups are worked with both, so some rest is required between these two lifts.

Lower Body Baseball Training

Calf Raises

Calf raises are a simple yet effective way to strengthen the calf. The use of dumbbells can be incorporated to increase the challenge of the exercise and increase pressure on the calf.

Stand up straight, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Push through the balls of the feet until you have raised your heel and are standing on your toes.
Slowly lower down to the first position.

Leg Extensions

Leg extensions are a great way to target the quadriceps, the largest muscles based at the front of the thighs. To develop more balance in the legs, as most athletes exercise the hamstrings but forget the quads, leg extensions can strengthen the overall thigh.

Begin by setting up the leg extensions machine and positioning the pad on top of the ankles. Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle, with your back up against the backrest.
With your hands on the handlebars, use your legs to lift the weight until your legs are close to straight. Make sure to not lock the knees or arch your back.
Lower the weight back to starting position and repeat.

In Season Baseball Weight Training

Weight training during the baseball season needs to be undertaken with caution, as the intensity can cause injury when players are already under stress from throwing and hitting all week. For this reason, players shouldn’t focus on adding too much strength and power during the baseball season, instead, they should focus on a program that maintains their current state of strength.

With that being said, giving up weight training completely isn’t required, rather an altered, well-spaced program should be followed which doesn’t put all the previously hard work to waste. Varying the strength and weight exercises with regular training and practice will keep the muscles engaged, challenged, and ready to be worked hard during games.

When preparing for the next baseball season, it is also important to take time on preparing the equipment to be used. Several brands offer their own unique features, so it’s crucial to know what to look for when searching for any type of equipment, from the best baseball scorebook to the best pitching machine.

Video for Complete In-Season Baseball Workout:

FAQs

Do MLB Players Lift Weights?

Giancarlo Stanton and Robinson Canto are just two examples of the many MLB players who lift weights. It is essential for athletes to maintain core strength, muscle power, and durability. The positions in baseball force players to exert themselves, pushing their muscles to the maximum, and a strength training program can help increase power and endurance.

Should Baseball Players Lift Weights During Season?

Baseball players must continue lifting during the season, otherwise, they would lose a lot of the hard work put in during the off-season. However, the lifting program followed should be adapted to take into consideration fatigue and the possibility of injury as players may over-exert themselves if they lift too much whilst competing.

How Do You Lift Weights for Baseball?

Focus on lifting exercises that train the core muscles needed for baseball. An effective program will provide a comprehensive set of drills that strengthen the upper and lower body, whilst also increasing core body strength in athletes. Weights or a medicine ball can be added to increase the challenge of standard exercises such as squats and hip thrusts.