Alex, I’m curious, if you had to pick a couple exercises that all baseball players should do what would they be?
Drew, This is a good question as most of the time when I see players getting ready for their baseball season they completely neglect “results driven” exercises. I’ve decided to provide a list of all-star exercises that have helped us produce the fastest, strongest, and most powerful baseball players in the country. All of these exercises are pretty simple to teach, and WILL produce serious results! Without further ado, here’s my list of the top 7 exercises that should be in your baseball off-season training.
1. Heiden “Skater” Jumps –
Position players and pitchers especially, need to be developing power outside the sagittal plane. Power development is very plane specific, meaning you need to spend more time on improving the particular plane in which your sport demands. When pitching, your exploding off the mound LATERALLY with one leg and finishing on one leg. To improve power output in this plane you need to do more lateral power movements. The Heiden “skater” jump is one of the best exercises you can choose.
Washington Nationals Pitcher, Matt Pirro performs a Heiden “Skater” Jump:
2. Box Squat –
The box squat is a great exercise to pack on muscle, and improve strength in the athletes lower half. I favor box squats, as opposed to full range squats, as athletes can develop more starting strength at the bottom of the lift. Box Squats also distribute the load across the entire posterior chain, and allow the athlete to maintain a consistent depth in their squat pattern.
3. Sprint Start Variations (Push-Up, Falling, Jump Back, Kneeling) –
I like using each of these variations for different reasons. However, universally they all reinforce a good acceleration technique, and put you in a optimal position to sprint (45 degree forward lean).
Youngstown State University Catcher, Anthony Santoro and Saint Rose College Catcher, Joe Deluca perform Acceleration Push-Up Sprints:
4. ANY Rowing Variation –
Overuse of the anterior plane in baseball is evident as we’re throwing, hitting, and fielding constantly. After awhile, this overuse leads to diminished velocity, performance, and injury. To avoid this, we need to focus our training on building a strong upper back to support the shoulder to accelerate and decelerate at more efficient motor patterns.
5. Farmer’s Walk –
The farmer’s walk can dramatically improve your grip and forearm strength, as well as upper back and shoulder strength. This “strong man” exercise also builds tremendous TRUE core strength, which I think is the BEST benefit of this exercise. You can do farmer walks with specialty bars like were using in the video or just dumbbells.
Saint Rose College Catcher, Joe Deluca performs a Farmers Walk with 250 Pounds in each hand for 15 yards:
6. Neutral Grip Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press –
There’s no better exercise to build strength, and muscle mass in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. I like changing the pronated(overhand grip) to a neutral grip(palms facing) as it gets you out of that fixed internally rotated position which can wreak havoc on your shoulders. If you don’t have access to a neutral bar use dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing in).
7. Medicine Ball Rotational Throws (Scoop Toss, Shot Put Throws etc.) –
Medicine ball throws are great because they allow you to train rotational power more specific to your sport, in this case baseball. As I previously stated, power is very plane specific. Having said that, you need to be training power in the frontal and transverse plane more often as opposed to training in the sagittal plane all the time. This will yield greater power outputs more conducive to baseball. You should definitely start throwing the crap out of medicine balls if you aren’t already. The video below is one of my favorite medicine ball variations as it’s a pretty easy exercise to master, and it’s more shoulder friendly than others.
Washington Nationals Pitcher, Matt Pirro performs Medicine Ball Rotational Scoop Toss:
There you have it Drew, those are my top 7 exercises you NEED to be doing! Add these exercises in your workouts, and I guarantee you’ll see some BIG TIME improvements in your speed, strength, and power for your upcoming baseball season!!