Mastering the Perfect Baseball Off-Season, Part 1: The Program

October 22, 2012 | Josh Heenan

Must See Baseball Videos

Sacred Heart University's off-season baseball program has yielded tremendous results, dramatically improving team performance on the field. Our methods are based on individualization for each athlete to optimize injury prevention, force production, nutrition and psychology. (Check out STACK's Library of Sport Psychology Tips for Athletes.)

The main goal for each player is to be able to play each time he is called upon. Baseball players are incredibly imbalanced athletes, and they are usually banged up. (Learn how to Eliminate Muscle Imbalances.) Aggressively correcting these imbalances during the off-season is the foundation for durability. Once imbalances have been corrected, we strength-train to protect against injury.

Enhancing force production is highly dependent on the athlete's absolute and relative strength. The great majority of our athletes lack muscle mass and overall strength, so that will be the focus for this series. We need to give them more horsepower in their engine so they can apply more force into the ground, which will allow them to run faster, throw harder and hit with more power.

Nutrition and psychology are also part of the program. Nutritional changes will not stick without proper psychological training. At SHU, we look to maximize our psychology in daily life and in the gym to have direct transfer to the field. This includes creating a culture within our baseball team to expect the best of ourselves and our teammates.

The Off-Season Baseball Program

Our first step in correcting imbalances is to assess each player, including orthopedic, movement and postural screens. Sports coaches show me video of players who have suffered injuries or have been classified as high risk because of their throwing or hitting style.

For the sake of simplicity, I have included just the main portion of our six-week intensive baseball workout program. Our warm-ups are done as a team, and adjustments are made on the fly for athletes with different needs.

  • Roll with PVC pipe: IT bands, quads, upper back
  • Roll with lacrosse ball: infraspinatus, glutes, calf muscles
  • Active or ground-based warm-up (similar to the Warm-Up Performed by Georgia Baseball)

Monday

A1) Front Box Squat (light touch, below parallel)

  • Week 1: 4x6 @ 80% 1RM
  • Week 2: 4x6 @ 85% 1RM
  • Week 3: no box, full depth, find 1RM
  • Week 4: no box, work up to 1RM, then 3x6 @ 80%
  • Week 5: no box, post-activation potential: 15-second hold @ 120%, 10x1 @ 90%
  • Week 6: Reverse Barbell Lunges: 3x10
  • Week 7: front Squat max test

A2) Ankle Mobility - 3x10

B1) Single-Leg DB Deadlift - 3x10 each leg

B2) Inverted Rows - 3xmax

B3) Push-Ups (with push-up bars or dumbbells)

  • Week 1: 3x8 (5-second hold at top, 5-second hold at bottom)
  • Week 2: 3x12 (5-second hold at top, 5-second hold at bottom)
  • Week 3: 3xmax
  • Week 4: 3x8 (10-second hold at top, 10-second hold at bottom)
  • Week 5: 3x12 (10-second hold at top, 10 second hold at bottom)
  • Week 6: 3xmax

C1) Eccentric Glute-Ham Raise 

  • Week 1: 3x6
  • Week 2: 3x8
  • Week 3: 3x10
  • Week 4: 3x10
  • Week 5: 3x12
  • Week 6: 3x12

C2) Incline Bench Ys - 3x10

C3) Incline Bench Ts- 3x10

Wednesday

A) Sled Push - 10x1 (max weight for 6-8 seconds, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)

B1) Box Jumps or Depth Jumps

  • Weeks 1-3: Box Jumps - 3x3
  • Weeks 4-6: Depth Jumps - 3x3

B2) Rack Pull/Deadlift

  • Week 1: Rack Pull (work up to 5RM, just below knees)
  • Week 2: Rack Pull (work up to 5RM, just below knees)
  • Week 3: Rack Pull (work up to 3RM, just below knees)
  • Week 4: Conventional Deadlift (work up to 5RM)
  • Week 5: Conventional Deadlift (work up to 5RM)
  • Week 6: Conventional Deadlift (work up to 3RM)

B3) Hip Flexor Mobilization - 3x10 each side

C1) Chin-Ups

  • Weeks 1-3: 3xmax (eccentric)
  • Week 4: 3xmax
  • Week 5: 4xmax
  • Week 6: 5xmax

C2)  Single-Leg Squat to Box - 3x10 each side

Friday

Strongman Conditioning

  • 10 to 14 stations: Med Ball Throws, Farmer's Carries, Sled Pushes, Plyos, Bear Crawls and Mobilization/Stretches thrown in the mix
  • 2 to 4 rounds
  • 30 to 60 seconds at a station with 10- to 60-second rest between stations and 3- to 10-minute breaks between rounds

Stick around for Part 2 of this series, which will present our nutritional plan and the psychological experiment that caused one athlete to gain 15 pounds of lean mass while losing fat.

Josh Heenan
- Josh Heenan a Doctor of Integrated Medicine and a Strength and Conditioning Coach to hundreds of athletes, primarily baseball players. For five seasons, he served...
Josh Heenan
- Josh Heenan a Doctor of Integrated Medicine and a Strength and Conditioning Coach to hundreds of athletes, primarily baseball players. For five seasons, he served...
Must See
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 546,272
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 4,811,110
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 5,941,524

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 68,298
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 6,362
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 127,960
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,654
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,225
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,612
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,718
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,560,472

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

Mobility issues and injury, specifically a wrist injury, can be a huge problem for an Olympic lifter, or any athlete that uses Olympic lifting in their...

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges