If you’re serious about your game then include these exercises into your workout program.
Let’s face it, most high school and college baseball players are weak as hell. The problem though lies not in their effort, but with their off season training programs. Too often baseball players are simply performing the WRONG exercises!
High school and college baseball players need to get strong, especially in their lower half, as power is generated from your hips, thighs, and glutes. Which means, without a solid foundation and a solid workout program you’ll never maximize your potential as a player. Look, I understand the inclination to focus on the “core,” as it transmits the power generated in the legs and redirects it throughout the body. If your core can efficiently transfer the power generated from your legs, you will hit the ball further and throw the ball harder! However, without a strong and powerful lower body, the amount of power the core has to transmit is, well, limited.
So before you go crazy training your core, you need to build a solid foundation of strength. And these are the six strength exercises to help build that foundation to carry you through your best season to date.
1) Squat Variations
Squats are the king of all lower body exercises. The best variation for baseball players are safety bar squats because they force you out of external rotation and reduce stress on the shoulders. If you don’t have access to a safety bar, do front squats instead. Either way, whether you perform them free or as a box squat, go heavy or go home.
2) Deadlift Variations
Deadlifts are the ultimate way to build the posterior chain, which is often the weak link for most baseball players. Deadlifts train every muscle in your body and are an excellent bang for your buck exercise. My top deadlift variations are straight bar deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and rack pulls. Keep in mind that deadlift variations don’t have to be limited to a barbell. Kettlebell and dumbbell deadlifts are completely acceptable too.
3) Push-up Variations
Many baseball players underestimate the power of the push-up. Don’t let this exercise fool you! There are a ton of different ways to make it harder and more challenging. My favorite is to add external resistance via a weighted vest, resistance band, or chains. Performing them on blast straps or gymnastic rings will also dial the intensity up a notch and really challenge your stability. To develop more explosive strength, perform plyo push-ups. As evidenced, the opportunities are limitless.
4) Rowing and Pull-up variations
Pulling exercises are critical to balancing out pressing exercises like push-ups and the dumbbell bench press. Rows and pull-ups are the best way to strengthen the often ignored muscles of the back. Baseball players should perform pull-ups with a neutral grip whenever possible and rows should be performed with dumbbells and kettlebells (as opposed to the barbell). Other variations include one arm rows, see saw rows, bent over rows, and T-bar rows, just to name a few.
5) Farmer Walks
No other exercise addresses the 3 main weaknesses in most baseball players like farmer walks. They will increase your grip strength, core strength and address weakness in the upper back. Perform these by walking with heavy dumbbells, kettlebells or farmer walk handles for a certain distance.
6) Single Leg Exercises
Overcoming muscular imbalances are critical to preventing injuries in not just baseball, but any sport. To overcome the ones caused from pitching, swinging, throwing and running, single leg training is critical. Lunges are excellent for this. Perform them by moving forward or reverse with dumbbells, kettlebells or sandbags. Split squats and step-ups are also great single leg variations. You can make these more challenging by holding them in different positions such as overhead, near your chest (rack position) or by your side (suitcase position), but mix them in and you’ll ensure that you remain healthy throughout the season.
The best approach to designing an off season workout program is to keep it simple. Perform 3-5 lifts per workout. If performing more, ask yourself, “Why am I performing this exercise?” If you can’t answer the question, the lift shouldn’t be in your program.
To simplify the whole process I’ve designed the Real Deal Baseball Training Manual that I’d encourage you to pick up. This ebook includes a complete off season strength and explosive power program, a 6 week speed and quickness program, and individualized athlete worksheets with the exact weight, sets and reps laid out for you. Pick it up and we’ll help turn you in to a BASEBALL BEAST.
To maximize your gains using this approach 1R would recommend the following supplements: