Complete Baseball Conditioning Guide (Workouts and Drills)

Improving your speed and conditioning in baseball is oftentimes a game changer. Stealing bases, getting that double or triple, and being in better shape than the other team is sometimes the difference between a win or a loss.

I am a big believer in sport-specific conditioning. During a game, in most plays in Baseball, it is all about being fast and explosive. We also need to work on our general work capacity and being in shape throughout the off-season and at practice (2-4+ hours).

This is important because once the season starts, you need to be able to consistently perform at your position and in the lineup when you have 4-5 games per week.

In this guide, I will be going over baseball conditioning drills that will help baseball players improve their overall performance, general, and specific conditioning for baseball, and more!

Energy System Development

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)
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There are 3 primary energy systems that deliver ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) to the muscles which fuel our work on the field or in the weight room. These systems all work together. Each system is used primarily in certain time frames of work but at no point are any of the systems completely “off”.

  1. Creatine Phosphate System: Produces quick energy for the first 5 seconds of work. Exhausts after 12-15 seconds. Example: Sprinting from first to second base.
  2. Anaerobic Glycolysis System: Produces energy and peaks at about 15 seconds. Example: Running for a triple.
  3. Aerobic System: As we approach a minute of work, the aerobic system becomes the main producer of energy. Example: Pitchers and Catchers use this system in the field.

I do want to reiterate here that all players use all systems.

For example, a pitcher will use the creatine phosphate system to deliver as hard of a pitch as possible within a very short amount of time. But he will also use the other systems to help recover and repeatedly perform his high-intensity pitches.

It is important for all players to train these systems.

In my opinion, the anaerobic glycolytic systems and aerobic systems can be trained through practice and in the early off-season.

The creatine phosphate system is trained very naturally during the game of baseball because throwing and hitting are all about producing as much power as possible, as quickly as possible. This is also a system that can be trained in the weight room through explosive sport-specific strength training.

Baseball Conditioning Drills

In baseball, you do not need to train long distance running!

Most plays last less than 10 seconds and therefore baseball players need to train to be fast and explosive as that is the primary energy system. With that said, you still need to be in shape for practice and the long, grueling season.

I would recommend the following baseball conditioning drills be done at the end of a weight lifting session, after practice, or on a separate day all by themselves.

These drills are low-impact conditioning drills to help with general work capacity. I think these are great drills to be done during the off-season or in-season if you have a bye week or significant downtime.

1. Tempo Runs

One of the most popular conditioning drills for baseball players, tempo runs focus on building work capacity and running form. These types of runs are generally done at 65-75% capacity for a set interval distance with a predetermined rest period.

You should not feel exhausted here. You should be able to recover from each repetition and have high-quality running technique.

2. Prowler Pushes

Prowler Sled

A low-impact tool that baseball players can benefit from, is the prowler push, also known as sled pushes.

This unique implement allows players to build strength and conditioning simultaneously. You will need a prowler and at least 20 yards of turf. Keep those arms extended, drive the knees, and push through the balls of your feet.

Pro Tip: Use lighter weight to go faster to focus on conditioning. Use heavier weight to slow the movement down and emphasize strength development.

3. Circuit Training

Exhausted Player on Floor After Circuit Training

Circuit training is another great way to build general conditioning for baseball. Circuit training combines conditioning with strength training, core stability and even a little bit of power development depending on the circuit.

Choose 10 movements hitting all the major muscle groups, set a clock for 10-20 minutes, and get as many reps in as you can in that time frame.

Rest as needed between stations but keep that heart rate up!

For example:

4. Tabata-Style Conditioning

Sledgehammer Slams

Tabata-style conditioning consists of high-intensity work where you perform the exercise for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, for eight rounds.

This is a great form of conditioning because it can be done with almost any exercise, is generally low impact, drives the heart rate up, and trains all 3 energy systems efficiently.

Some example exercises for this style of training include but are not limited to:

  1. Incline Treadmill sprints
  2. Medicine Ball Slams
  3. Alternating Sledge Hammer Slams
  4. Kettlebell Swings
  5. Burpees

5. Repeated Sprint Ability Drills

One of my favorite types of conditioning is what’s called repeat sprint ability. There are many different forms and drills here, linear, and multi-direction drills. The idea is that you perform this type of conditioning 2 days per week.

Keep the drills short, within 10 yards, and go all out. Rest 30 seconds between reps, and about 3 minutes between sets.

Pro Tip: Don’t confuse speed training with conditioning drills! Speed training should emphasize maximum speed every rep and allow full recovery between reps. Conditioning drills utilizing sprints are still high effort, but the rest is shortened to tax the anaerobic systems.

For example:

  • Rest 30 seconds between changing exercises
  • Rest 3 minutes between sets
  • Go All Out!
  • 3 Rounds of 10-yard sprints
  • 3 Rounds of 5-10-5 agility shuttle
  • 3 Rounds of 5 Yard Shuffle to 5 Yard Sprint

Off-Season To In-Season Progression

Baseball Pitcher Throwing to a Hitter

Here are some sample weeks for baseball conditioning, from the off-season, pre-season and in-season.

Baseball Off-Season Conditioning
 Practice volume is low, weight room emphasis is high
 Sample Off-Season Week
 Day 1Day 2Day 3
Exercise100 Yard Tempo RunsBody Weight CircuitProwler Push (Conditioning emphasis, light load)
Reps81020 Yards Down & Back = 1 Set
Rest1 minute1 minute rest between sets (min rest between exercises)1 minute

Baseball Pre-Season Conditioning
 Practice/Competition volume is moderate/high, weight room emphasis is moderate high
 Sample Pre-Season Week
 Day 1Day 2Day 3
ExerciseRepeat Effort SprintsTabata Style Sledge HammerProwler Push (Strength-Speed Emphasis, Moderate Load)
Reps3 + 3 + 3AMAP10 Yards Down & Back = 1 Set
Rest30 Seconds Between Reps
3 Minutes Between Sets
:10 Seconds Between Efforts2 – 3 Minutes

Baseball In-Season Conditioning
 Competition volume high, 1 intense weight room day, 1 light weight room day
 Sample In-Season Week
 Day 1 (Mon after Weekend Series)Day 2 (After Midweek Game)Day 3 (Prior to Weekend Series)
Exercise60 Yard Tempo RunsProwler Push (Speed-Strength Emphasis, light load)Body Weight Circuit (Emphasis on Range of Motion)
Reps1210 Yards Down & Back = 1 Set10 Reps Each
Rest1 Minute1 – 2 Minutes1 Minute Between Sets
Min Rest Between Exercises

Final Thoughts

Always keep in mind your goals, position, and time of year when you are conditioning for your sport. High-intensity, low-impact, sport-specific baseball conditioning will be more beneficial to baseball players than just arbitrarily just jogging or riding a stationary bike.

The goal with your baseball conditioning should be to improve athletic performance, not to be prepared to run a 10k!

Make a plan, get after it, adjust, and progress!

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More Links and Info

Looking to take your game to the next level? Check out some of my other articles like theĀ Top 7 Exercises for Pitchers in the off-season!

Baseball Conditioning Guiude

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