Do Baseball Players Need To Lift Weights?

One of the biggest misconceptions in the sport of baseball is that athletes participating in the sport don’t need to strength train. Oftentimes baseball players and coaches propagate these lies and misconceptions. Don’t get big bulky, don’t be a hulk of a bodybuilder, strength training won’t actually help in the world of baseball, and stay away from the weights because it will disrupt throwing mechanics. These are misconceptions that we are stuck with today that has been passed on from generation to generation.

Strength Training for Baseball

Strength training does help with baseball. Let’s look at a few key factors we can focus on to improve the sports performance in the sport of baseball.

4. Joint Integrity

Focusing on joint integrity as baseball players allow athletes to focus on specific co-contractions in the shoulder to throw harder with greater stability, strengthening the elbow, and improving hip mobility for better lateral movement. 

Improved shoulder mobility and stability in the shoulder girdle will lead to longer throws, more powerful throws. Even to a point, working on joint integrity, even throughout the wrist, the athlete will be able to get more revolutions on the ball when throwing the ball or able to get a quicker flick of the wrist when batting. These are all key components behind improving baseball performance.


Resistance-based training focusing on joint integrity by utilizing movements that enhance shoulder strength, the elbow joint, and hip mobility and power output. By doing specific exercises for mobility and specific exercises for strength training in these different joints the overall performance on the diamond will improve.

3. Agility

Baseball players need to be agile. There is a lot of stop-and-go activity within the sport. Athletes in-game are often waiting on the baseline for action to transpire. When that action transpires, athletes need to move very, very rapidly in a side-to-side movement.


Athletes that can be very agile will be able to cover more ground on the field sooner and quicker. They will also be able to react out of the batter’s box faster. All of these components will help athletes become better baseball players.

When focusing on training, athletes can do movements that will increase strength from a lateral perspective and/or a static start, improving agility. These components need to be recognized that can improve the realm of baseball performance.


Strength has a massive impact on agility. The stronger athletes’ legs are, the quicker they can cut. Think about a batter making contact with the ball. The strength from the hips will not only impact bat speed and the force put into the ball, but will also transfer to the power and agility to get out of the batter’s box rapidly.

2. Reactiveness

We typically believe reactiveness will be a key component behind most sports. That it can be lumped in with other components. However, the concept of being reactive is very necessary for the success of an athlete on the baseball field.


Think of a center fielder who has to sit way out in the distance of the field. They have to be patient and aware of what is going on in the game, having a complete understanding of the game situation and where they need to be from a defensive perspective. They also have to react quickly once the ball comes off the bat. This goes for all defensive positions: shortstop, first base, wherever.


There is a lot of rapid reactiveness that goes into baseball. This even goes for a catcher--an opponent stealing second base, for example. So when in the weight room, we can use auditory signals (like the sound of the ball off the bat) and visual signals to trigger reactiveness. Visual signals are an important aspect. Outfielders will see things faster than they will hear things.


Still, both aspects need to be trained. This will improve the players’ reactiveness as a batter and fielder. Think about it like a batter. Seeing quick enough how the pitcher is releasing the ball, they can intuit a little more effectively as to what pitch is coming at them, increasing the odds of making contact with the ball.

Just make sure to train reactiveness in the weight room through different protocols. For instance, use auditory cues to trigger a power clean or use different color templates to trigger movements in a plyometric series to create a reactive protocol. This will transfer really well over to the field.  

1. Explosiveness

Just make sure to train reactiveness in the weight room through different protocols. For instance, use auditory cues to trigger a power clean or use different color templates to trigger movements in a plyometric series to create a reactive protocol. This will transfer really well over to the field.  

What we are saying is don’t shy away from the Olympic lifts. The Olympic lifts will make baseball players more explosive. They will help with bat speed, pitching, get out of the batter’s box quicker, and will help defensively in the field. The Olympic lifts make athletes more explosive.


Being more explosive allows for faster reactions to make plays more effective.

Recap

Being explosive and training the elements of reactiveness, joint integrity, and agility to focus on specific actions to be better on the field, baseball players in the field to react faster to be more effective in making the play.


Focusing on all four of these key elements to improve play out on the diamond. Don’t shy away from the Olympic lifts, instead use them to train explosiveness by simultaneously training reactiveness by using auditory and visual commands. Also, make sure to improve the general strength and mobility to be more agile. And finally, in baseball, it is paramount to focus on joint integrity, particularly in the shoulder, elbow, hips, and wrist to increase the longevity of play and optimize overall performance.

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DANE MILLER

Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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