Sport Specific Training for Baseball

There is no such thing as a sport specific exercise. This doesn’t mean that all exercises were created equal but instead that coaches and players who try to imitate baseball movements such as a swing or a throw in the weight room will actually hurt their performance.  The only way that sport specific training is even relevant is when it comes to conditioning.

These types of exercises in the video above teach improper hitting mechanics and thus will ruin your performance on the diamond. The weight room is meant to build strong and powerful athletes, not to mimic the motor patterns required to play sports. In order to build a strong and powerful base, baseball players should perform compound movements and also address common weak areas including the posterior chain, upper back and grip strength. The best athletes also have great relative body strength.

In order to address these areas baseball players should focus on performing squats, deadlifts, rows, farmer walks, pushups, chins, and presses.  The take home lesson here is to stick to the basics. There is no need to get fancy with sport specific exercises using a cable machine or whatever other b.s some trainers are recommending these days. These training gimmicks will only be detrimental to a baseball player’s performance.

The baseball diamond is where the strength and power gains made in the weight room will transfer over to your performance. Stronger and powerful athletes will have a higher potential to improve in their sport if they can master the technical part of the game. Weak athletes will have to heavily rely on talent if they expect to enhance their game.

Remember that “methods are many, principles are few, methods may change, principles never do”. By sticking to basic principles you will build strong and powerful athletes in the weight room. So this leaves us with one question, should baseball players train the same as football players and other power sports? I will address this question in my next post regarding cross training for baseball. Stay tuned!!

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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  • Joe, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I’ve had the chance to work with thousands of athletes around the world on their mental game and in the process I see so many skilled athletes take advice and coaching from trainers who don’t know what they’re talking about. Which ends up decreasing performance… then they internalize it as their own fault, but it’s directly related to poor fitness and strength coaching.

    It’s a shame.

    A common thread amongst the pro & Olympic athletes I’ve worked with is they all had skilled and competent strength & conditioning coaches plus great technical coaches that understood the needs of their sport.

    All the best,

    Todd

  • Todd,

    Thanks for your comment. It makes a lot of sense! I think were both on the same page.

    In Strength,

    Joe Meglio

  • Isn’t it interesting that Baseball seems to be the sport that is most prone to “sports specific” training? I agree on all points that you make. I think people get hung up on SS Training and neglect the base level of conditioning, which is what they should be concentrating on.

    I would be curious as to your thoughts on weighted baseballs (both overload and overspeed) in a throwing program.

  • Don,

    The reason why its prone to “sport specific” training is because unlike football and basketball, baseball requires more skill than athleticism. Coaches try to improve hitting and throwing skills in the weight room and this isn’t what the weight room was meant for.

    The weight room is meant to build better athletes. The more athletic an athlete is, the more potential he or she has in their sport. Whether or not they live up to this potential is based on their ability to master their skills and learn the mechanics of their sport.

    as far as weighted baseballs go I just wrote about this in my newsletter. You can join by signing up on the right side of this page. I will be doing a post this week going into great detail about my thoughts on weighted bats and balls and the application they have.

    Thanks for your comment,

    Joe

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