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Good Exercies for Baseball Players?


What are good exercises for baseball players who need to strengthen their arms?

I’m not sure what the connection is between baseball players and strong arms.
Too bulky an arm would impeded throwing. And the strength requirements for hitting are not primarily arm strength.
If you want to get strong for baseball I’d suggest the following:
1- Squats and deadlifts: you want a lot of core body strength and posterior chain strentgh
2- good mornings and Glute Ham raises:
also posterior chain strength
3- single leg work: lunges to front, side, back, stepups, etc.
4 - rotational work: this is the most important piece after posterior chain work. It connects that strength to the twisting motion of throwing and hitting. Russian twists, etc. Look up the Tornado Training articles from Chek on this site for more related exercises.
5 - grip strength: strong hands but in multiple directions. grippers for squeezing, pinch stength, rice barrels or bands for finger extension
6 - wrist/forearm strength: wrist curls, rev wrist curls, internal and external forearm rotations
7- absolutely critical for shoulder health, you need to constantly work the rotator cuff muscles in the back of the shoulder. Internal and external shoulder rotation, etc. There are numerous articles on that both here and across the internet.
8- back strength. Shrugs, bent reverse flies, bent rows, lat pulldowns, etc.

Strange but biceps and tricep stength is low on the list. You need some to protect the elbow but not too much as you don’t want either to be prime movers in throwing or hitting. A ‘strong arm’ in baseball means you can throw a ball far/fast. It doesn’t mean big biceps.

First and foremost… do a lot (twice per week & 6-8 sets each day) of different external rotation exercises. Perform scarecrows, cuban press, dumbbels, barbells, cables etc. After you fit these in, you can start benching with a medium/close grip for low reps. Bar push-ups for high (20-30) reps. Lots of triceps work and different types of rowing. Also avoid overhead pressing completely.

You also need to focus on posterior chain exersises. Deadlifts, squats, glute/ham raises, reverse hypers, good mornings etc. Also, strong abs… standing cable crunches on pulldown unit. Stability ball sit-ups with dumbbell on chest, weighted straight leg sit-ups with a plate on your chest etc.

That first reply has some great answers regarding this question. Your power for hitting or throwing, not to mention speed on the base paths or in the field comes from the legs and torso/core. If you look at some great hitters and pitchers, most have tremendous leg size and strength, for example look at Albert Pujols or Roger Clemens, both have legs like tree trunks. I would recommned leg and core work:

  • Different types of squats and deadlifts

  • Glute ham raises

  • Pull Thrus

  • Standing Crunches (w & w/o twist on cable mach)
    -Med ball tosses

  • And, if you can find quality instruction you could incorporate some Olympic lifting and the variants of the classic lifts (clean & jerk and snatch)

Regardless of the sport, it usually comes down to leg work. As I’ve told all the athletes I’ve worked with, great athletes are built from the ground up!

Major Dan made many good points. Throwing is a total body movement where most of the force is created with the legs and trunk. Follow his suggestions. Also it is not necessary to “avoid overhead lifts at cost”. Mel Siff has an excellent review of Special Rotator Cuff Execises in his book Facts and Fallicies of Fitness.

To paraphrase him: “The best program for shoulder strenthening and rehabilitation should include all muscle groups involved in shoulder movement and the complex natural paterns of movement.”

He advocates PNF patterns and Overhead lifts as the best exercises for shoulder stability and health.

Arthur Drechsler also advocates more overhead pressing movements to help prevent shoulder injury in weight lifters.

I work daily with colligate baseball and softball players and spend the majority of the time working with complex total body movements. I have had very few shoulder problems working with many athletes. Several have come to us with pre-existing injuries which after following our rehab protocol have gone on to be very successful in our program.

[quote]JMac10 wrote:
What are good exercises for Baseball players who need to Strengthen their arms?[/quote]

Your post is vague, is I can only give some generalities.

For a better throwing arm, I’d concentrate on strengthening your back, legs and grip strength. Since you do all of your throwing with one arm, there’s a chance you have or will develop an imbalance to that side thus I’d recommend the bulk of your work be unilateral (one arm or leg at a time). If you post some specifics, training age, age, height, weight, totals, etc., I can help a little more.

If you want to throw farther, the best thing to do is long toss. Nothing works as well. Like has been said, do plenty of rotator cuff excercises. I used one arm dumbbell presses (mostly for flat bench) to build torsional strength (torsion as in turning). I’ve heard doing one arm snatches are great too. I did snatches with a kettlebell, but I always had a good arm. I think just swinging a kettlebell around (literally) did the most for my hitting. I would do an under the leg pass in various patterns and also put a towel through the handle swing it.

While the tricep does not play too much of a role in throwing, especially when compared to posterior chain strength. That is where a majority of your power for throwing comes from. However, triceps are important for hitting. Obviously, PC strength plays a huge role here to generate power but you have to transfer that power to the bat. From the PC to the core to the upper back and triceps to the hands. If there is a weak link in there somewhere, power decreases. Unilateral exercises for the triceps are best. Other than Major Dan summed it up quite nicely.

All of the above posts are excellent suggestions. Leg work, core work, rotator cuff and Posterior chain exercises should all be points of focus for your year round training.

One thing that was mentioned that put up a red flag for me is rotational work. Although it can be very helpful to work with clubbells, sledgehammers or even weighted bats, you must be very careful with that sort of training. The danger here is that these weighted instruments may alter your batting technique. Be sure that if you attempt a program that includes rotational work that you have a qualified coach that can identify even slight changes in your technique and be able to help you correct them before they become permanent flaws in your form. CT states in his “Black Book” that the body learns a particular motion after about 500 repetitions. Make sure that your body doesn’t learn bad form with rotational instruments.

Good point by Rugby. Heavy instruments can alter the swing but also change the rate coding of the neuromuscular system, which can lead to you being slower in the sporting movement. When doing rotational work med balls are great.

As several people have mentioned, “arm strength” when talking about throwing is more than just the arm.

A good throwing program is what gets your arm strong for throwing, specificly “long toss.”

As far as developing velocity, velocity is a sum of the parts: explosiveness, leg strength, shoulder flexibility,and posterior shoulder/rotator cuff strength.

My biggest developer of velocity are explosive lifts. Cleans, Jump Squats, Depth Jumps, etc. In fact baseball is the perfect sport to train olympic lifts because the game is 100% about power and recovery. As far as pitching goes, the clean shgould be the most important lift to reinforce the use of the body as one piece when throwing, plus thr recovery period from pitch to pitch is very similar to that of Olympic training. Sqauts, Lunges, Step-Up, Speed Squats and bend-over exercises such as RDL’s, GM’s, and Hyperextensions sholuld be the main focus for lower body strength training.

Upper-body strengthening is important as well, especially pulling motions. Pulling lifts should be used at a 2:1 ratio to ensure upper body structural balance in regards to the amount of throwing. Shoulder stability exercises should also be performed with every workout as well.

In regards to wrist training, this is an area that is commonly misunderstood in baseball. Many think that it’s a necessary component, but research as of late has proven very little transfors over when performing specific wrist curling exercises, especially in hitting where the hands finish rather than snap. My recommendation for wrist strength is to perform heavy pulling exercises without wrist straps to build the grip strength.

Hope this helps.


I agree with the post that say a good throwing program is key. As a former Div I. player the best program I found for arm strength is long tossing. For hand strength, as a baseball player one should never use straps. If you’re looking for a good throwing and forearm program pm me and I can give you the program the Yankees use.


Aren’t overhead lifts not recommended for athletes involved with alot of shoulder rotation? (i.e. swimming, javelin, baseball players…)

I play baseball and I do not do any OH stuff anymore, especially after a shoulder impingement which having one really sucks. My shoulders feel much better. I would not recommend doing OH stuff for any of the other sports you mentioned, and I will include football.


You’re right with respect to the OH lifts. You should check out Defrancos site on this subject. Basically when you lift over head it causes the head of the humerus to come in contact with the acromion causing an impingement.

If an athlete is bothered by OH lifting, it’s not the exercise that is bad but rather the flexability in that the joint that is the problem. Addressing pec and shoulder flexibility as well as strengthening the posterior region will allow for really any type of controlled OH lifting. Once I address flexibility needs with the athlete, the OH lifts are no problem. In fact, out of the entire staff of pitchers I work with, only one player is unable to do OH lifting due to impingement from a rotator injury.

DeFranco has an article on training baseball players in his Q&A column this week.