T Nation


I am a high school baseball player who is currently in the off season. I am not very strong, although I can sprint pretty fast. I know that lifting and gaining strength is important to help me get faster. I was wondering if I should be sprinting right now, along with lifting, or should I just lift and wait until practice starts to start sprinting. Any ideas?

jon, if you’re looking solely to gain strength in the off season, and aren’t worried about losing body fat, then I’d concentrate on a program to help you do just that and mix in some low to medium intensity cardio on your off days.

Yes, this is your off-season and the time to prepare is now.

In faith,

Coach Davies

If your main goal is to get faster, then SPEED TRAINING takes precedence over everything else, including lifting. In other words, sprinting comes FIRST and lifting is a distant second.

Also, I disagree with Mike Mann’s advice about doing cardio. If you are trying to get faster, then you should avoid doing slow, continuous work.

Cardio is the devil, espically for baseball. I was just curious if you need to do both sprinting and lifting to gain speed, or just lifting. I’m sure strength is some what of a limiting factor for me as far as speed is concerned, but I like to do some sprints too, as I feel I lose the form for it if I don’t do them sometimes.

I agree that if speed is his primary goal, then speed training needs to take precedence.

But, jon also said he wasn’t very strong. And he’s “pretty fast” already in sprints. Strength is a huge plus in any athletic endeavor, including baseball which is why I suggested what I did.

Well, if he’s “already fast” then he can train hammies and lower legs hardcore to keep or increase his speed.

During my off season I would 1-2 sprint sessions/wk, the intensity would pick up as the season approached at which time i wouldn’t run anything over 60yrd sprints. However earlier in the off season i would include some “striders” which are like 75% sprints, for longer distances (up to 110 yards) just to keep up some conditioning and keep my running form smooth. Eat some extra cals and don’t run on strength training days.

I am all about lifting right now, as I am interested in all aspects of my game, and I know strength is a big part. The real question is how much does the actual act of sprinting help someone interested in increasing speed. Some say that sprinting is a good way to increase hamstring strength. Well if it provided adequate hamstring strength, everyone interested in speed would just be sprinting and getting faster and not lifting. However we all know this isn’t how it is.

Chad Waterbury outlined a program is his forum recently for a high school thridbaseman. Basically said you should be focusing on maximal and explosive strength training for baseball and not focusing hypertrophy and endurance training. It looked like a good program, check it out.

I would disagree w/ the comment that lifting doesn’t help w/ speed. Of course it does! I would highly reccomend doing both spriniting and weightlifting more on an athletic program. Does your high school have a strength coach? And what program does he or she have you on in the off-session?

In Health,

Silas C.

Weightlifting improves Explosive Speed, Power and strength.

If you want to build a good strength base, concentrate on strengthening the posterior chain. Good mornings, reverse hypers, glute-ham raises, squats, DLs, romanian DLs, snatch-grip DLs, sumo DL’s…you get the picture.

As far as sprinting goes, since your main goal is to get strong, and your already somewhat fast, you should probably lower the volume of your sprinting ( maybe 1 speed day and 1 agility day or 2 light sprint/agility days combined) so that it doesn’t affect your strength gains.

If you train correctly, even with the decrease in sprinting volume, you should find yourself faster/quicker when the season begins. Good Luck!

thanks for the ideas

FITONE: I did not say that lifting does not help with speed; I merely said that speed training takes precedence when the main goal is to improve speed.

With that said, although improving strength can improve sprint performance somewhat, weight training is not an end in iteself and I believe that it is generally overrated with regard improving speed. A lot of athletes wanting to get faster look to the weight room first and this is wrong (in my opinion). Furthermore, although most top sprinters do strength train, you see skinnier, weaker sprinters like Kim Collins, Tim Montgomery and Carl Lewis doing just as well as hulks like Dwain Chambers (recently busted for THG). In fact, Collins recently became world champion in the 100m and he doesn’t lift weights at all.

Remember that strength is merely the ability to produce force without regard to rate of force production… although getting stronger will allow you to overcome a large resistance more quickly, the speed improvement declines as the resistance declines. In other words, you don’t move faster during an unloaded movement.

The biggest contribution that strength improvements make to sprint performance is improved acceleration, because that is the only time the muscles experience any significant resistance. At top speed, the improvment is much less significant.

My intention is not to downplay the role of strength training in a sprint program, but rather just to emphasize that the MOST important thing is to train the CNS to sprint.

Good post belliger


Hey jon;
Good to see you on the forums again.
My 15 year old has his final soccer game this weekend (except for State Cup) and already he’s talking about baseball training. Wednesday he got up with me at 6:00 a.m. and made me throw him some batting practice! Daylight savings time made it too dark at night, but this kid is committed!
So about your training…
Well, if none of the other Renegades are gonna say it, looks like I have to be the one to remind you of the cornerstone of all athletic excellence: The Wheel of Conditioning.
This is the off season. Keep your workouts balanced, varied, interesting and fun. If one aspect of the wheel needs attention, now is the time to do it. Then, come Spring, you’ll be in the starting line-up.

  • Coach Clarke -

Hey coach. Good luck to your son with his baseball training. It’s a great game.

belligerent: I don’t think my comment was toward’s you. I think it was towards Mike Mann.

I think you were intending to refute my post whether it was addressed to me or now