Baseball and Softball Conditioning Workouts

Why Baseball and Softball Players Need Offseason Conditioning

Of the 30 million young athletes involved in organized sports today, nearly 300,000 suffer an injury each year playing baseball alone.

Today’s baseball and softball players often play year-round on many teams, allowing little time for rest.

This places a strain on the body and makes young athletes more likely to get overuse injuries in key areas, including:

  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Core
  • Lower limbs

Conditioning exercises for baseball and softball players

Stretching is a vital part of your conditioning routine. It can help prevent injuries and improve performance.

When stretching, we advise athletes to perform 5 repetitions of each exercise holding the stretch for 30 seconds. Relax between each rep and set of exercises.

It's also important to stretch the muscle at its end range of motion.

For strengthening exercises, we suggest 8 to 15 repetitions per set.

As a general guideline, you should feel:

  • The muscle starting to “burn" around the eighth or ninth rep.
  • As though you want to put the resistance band or hand weight down by the twelfth rep.

Strengthening programs are most effective when targeted specifically for the demands of a sport.

Based on positions, baseball and softball strengthening exercises should focus on different areas of the body:

  • Pitchers 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.

Preventive exercises 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
  • Front/prone plank

Check out these how-to videos for each baseball conditioning exercise. Share them with your players or teammates so they can have a productive and successful offseason.

A small amount of muscle soreness and fatigue is normal when starting a baseball or softball workout program. But, if you have lower back or joint pain that persists, stop the exercise program and see a sports medicine specialist.

Follow these preseason conditioning and in-season programs to maximize your performance and minimize baseball-related injuries.

Preseason Baseball Conditioning

Ideally, begin your preseason conditioning 8 to 12 weeks before your season starts.

Flexibility

What to Do

Baseball-specific exercises for:

  • Rotator cuff.
  • Shoulder girdle.
  • Forearm.

How Often

  • Daily

Speed and Agility

What to Do

How Often

  • 2 to 3 times per week

Strength

What to Do

  • Start with high reps, low intensity.
  • Progress to low reps, high intensity.
  • Vary reps and intensity from exercise to exercise. This addresses both endurance and power within the same workout.

These will help build fatigue-resistant muscle and increase power in the:

  • Rotator cuff, shoulder, girdle, and forearm
  • Core
  • Lower body

How Often

  • 3 to 4 times per week

Recovery

What to Do

  • Begin with a good cool down after each workout.
  • For a more active recovery, add cross-training or pool workouts 1 to 2 times per week.

How Often

  • 1 full day of complete rest per week

In-season Baseball Conditioning Training

Flexibility

What to Do

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).

How Often

  • 2 times per week, but not before games or heavy practices

Strength

What to Do

  • Exercises for the core and lower body
  • Maintenance strengthening of rotator cuff, all planes, especially internal and external rotation (with arm at side and at shoulder level)

How Often

  • 2 times per week, but not before games or heavy practices

Learn More About Preventing Baseball and Softball Injuries

UPMC's HealthBeat Blog:

From our Health Library:

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment with a physician or other Sports Medicine expert, call
1-855-93-SPORT (77678).

UPMC Rooney
Sports Complex
3200 S. Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
8000 Cranberry Springs Drive
Cranberry Township, PA 16066