Conditioning and Maintenance Workouts for Baseball and Softball Players
Offseason Baseball and Softball Conditioning
Of the 30 million children and teenagers participating in organized sports today, nearly 300,000 youth athletes are injured each year playing baseball alone. Today’s baseball and softball players often play year-round on multiple teams, allowing little time for rest.
This places a strain on the body and makes young athletes more likely to develop overuse injuries in key areas, including:
- Lower Extremities
Stretching is an important part of injury prevention and performance. When stretching, we recommend athletes perform five repetitions of each exercise holding the stretch for 30 seconds. Relax between each repetition and set of exercises. It is also important to stretch the muscle at its end range of motion.
For strengthening exercises, we recommend 8-to-15 repetitions per set. As a general guideline, the athlete should feel the muscle starting to “burn" around the eighth or ninth repetition and feel as though they want to put the resistance band or hand weight down by the twelfth repetition.
Our recommendations for preventative exercises targeted for baseball and softball players are:
- Posterior Capsule Stretch
- Sleeper Stretch
- External Rotation at 90°
- Internal Rotation at 90°
- Scapular Plane Elevation
- Single Arm Row
- Forearm Pronation
- Forearm Supination
- Wrist Flexion
- Resisted Throwing for both baseball and softball
- Front/Prone Plank
Check out these demonstration videos and how-to descriptions for each exercise, and share them with your athletes so they can have a productive and successful offseason.
Strengthening programs are most effective when targeted specifically for the demands of a sport. Based on positions, baseball and softball players should strengthen different areas of the body. For example, Pitchers for example need strong muscular endurance to be able to throw multiple innings. Outfielders need a strong arm to make the cut-off or hit the catcher at home plate. Middle infielders need to be able to throw quickly and accurately to make the double play.
A small amount of muscle soreness and fatigue is normal when starting a workout program, however, if the athlete experiences pain in any joint or the lower back that persists, stop the exercise program and seek medical attention/consultation with a sports medicine specialist
Follow these preseason conditioning and in-season maintenance programs to maximize your performance and minimize baseball-related injuries.
Pre-season Baseball Conditioning
Ideally, begin your preseason conditioning 8 to 12 weeks before your season starts.
Baseball-specific exercises for:
- Rotator cuff
- Shoulder girdle
|Speed and Agility
||2 to 3 times per week |
Exercises to build fatigue-resistant muscle and increase power in the rotator cuff, shoulder, girdle, and forearm; the core; and the lower extremity
- Start with high reps, low intensity
- Progress to low reps, high intensity
- Vary reps and intensity, from exercise to exercise, to address endurance and power within the same workout
|3 to 4 times per week |
- Begin with a good cool down after each workout
- For a more active recovery, institute cross-training or pool workouts 1-2 times per week
|1 full recovery day (complete rest) per week|
In-season Maintenance Training
|Shoulder-specific exercises focusing on the:
- Rotator cuff, all planes, especially internal and external rotation (with arm at side and at shoulder level)
- Forearm and shoulder girdle (around shoulder blade)
- Flexibility of internal rotation
|2 times per week, but not before games or heavy practices|
- Exercises for the core and lower extremity
- Maintenance strengthening of Rotator cuff, all planes, especially internal and external rotation (with arm at side and at shoulder level)
|1 to 2 times per week, but not before games or heavy practices|