Baseball is a fast and explosive sport that requires tremendous strength and power. It is extremely important to have a strong lower half to help with sprinting speed, force generation from the legs to the hips, and then rotating to hit far and throw hard.
To gain strength in the lower half, I think the best implements are barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells. These implements will engage the most musculature, train for upper body stability, and allow the legs to train for power and strength. These are movements that can be trained and overloaded over time.
I recommend these movements in the early off-season, fall ball, winter, and in-season training regimen. How heavy, how often, and what exercises you are using are determined by the game schedule and your training readiness.
In this article, I will be going over the 7 best lower body exercises for baseball players to help you run faster, hit farther, and throw harder!
Table of Contents
Lower Body Exercises For Baseball
The front squat is one of the most important movements an athlete can master. This bilateral squat will help develop strong legs and reinforce the strong anterior core. This is also a great option for baseball players because the front rack position of the barbell strengthens shoulder and upper back stability.
Trap Bar Deadlift
The trap bar deadlift is by far my favorite variation of the deadlift for athletes. Because of the hexagonal shape that allows the athlete to stand inside the implement, you get to benefit from all the benefits of the deadlift with little risk.
The trap bar deadlift is a great lower body exercise for baseball players because it trains the whole body, strengthens the posterior chain musculature (Glutes, hamstrings, back), and challenges your grip.
Dumbbell Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat
It is also very important for baseball players to train in single-leg movements. As athletes, we know we sprint, hit, and throw, pushing off a single leg. Therefore, we need to train and be strong on a single leg. The dumbbell rear foot elevated split squat is one of my favorite movements for training for strength on one leg.
By having one leg behind you and one leg out in the split squat stance, we replicate the shin angle similar to sprinting and pitching/throwing release points. Holding dumbbells will train the grip that we know is tremendously important for our forearms. This movement also reinforces abdominal strength, upper body stability, and upper body posture.
The kettlebell swing is a fantastic movement for all athletes. This exercise reinforces hip flexion and extension and can translate over to the field in our ability to run and jump.
I like this movement for baseball, especially because as baseball players we spend a lot of time in hip flexion. Getting ground balls, bending down in a ready position, and waiting to make a play. The kettlebell swing reinforces the rapid hip extension we need to sprint and jump. This exercise will help increase performance and also act as an injury preventative.
Front Foot Elevated Goblet Reverse Lunge
Baseball is a sport where we stand around for a period of time and then we need to explosively respond to the ball. The front foot elevated goblet reverse lunge helps train this pattern. In this movement lower body absorbs an eccentric load and then transfers that force back into an athletic stable position.
In the reverse lunge, once again we see shin angles that are very specific to baseball. This is also a very knee-friendly movement. Once the reverse lunge is complete, I queue players to “drive” back to the starting position with their toes pulled up and knee pulled up, holding at the top of the rep. This is very similar to how sprinters and jumpers train in track and field.
The goblet hold (using a kettlebell or dumbbell) is good for core strength and upper body stability. This movement can be done with dumbbells at the side. I would recommend that as a progression.
Goblet Lateral Lunge
One of my favorite movements for baseball players, the goblet lateral lunge has many benefits. In baseball, we move laterally on the field constantly. In the field, getting to ground and fly balls. On the bases, changing directions to tag up or get back. Lateral lower body strength is crucial to enhancing performance and decreasing the chances of injury.
In the goblet lateral lunge, we are training flexibility and strength in the adductor, groin, and inner thigh muscles. At the same time, because of the goblet position, we are training upper body posture and stability. Once the bottom of the lateral lunge is met, I queue players to “drive” back to the starting position. I like this movement because of how specific it is to what we see on the field.
Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Another very important movement for baseball players is the single-leg dumbbell Romanian deadlift. In baseball, we are often waiting around for a period of time and then responding to the ball. Whether that’s because you hit the ball or you’re playing the field. With this in mind, hamstring strength is critical.
The single-leg Romanian deadlift helps strengthen those hamstrings. Focus on keeping strong foot tension and a big arch in the foot. With a slight bend of the knee, engage those glutes and hamstrings.
I also love this movement (even slightly more than regular RDLs) as it focuses on balance and stability of the down leg. This movement will keep us healthy and strong and avoid any hamstring issues.
Big arms may look good in a uniform, but a strong lower half is what drives performance on the field.
Utilizing the exercises I’ve listed above as part of a complete strength and conditioning program will help improve your performance on the field (hitting, throwing, sprinting) and reduce your risk of injury.