A Guide To Baseball Injury Prevention | STACK

A Guide To Baseball Injury Prevention

October 27, 2012 | Gabe Lazzaro

Must See Baseball Videos

Think you should spend your off days pumping iron to get bigger? Settle down there, slugger. Building strength may add yards to your long ball and give you showy beach muscles, but your number one objective in-season should be to stay healthy on the field, so you can consistently perform at your best. Although work in the gym can help you achieve that goal, you won’t get it by pounding out a dozen sets of Bench Presses. Instead, follow these five guidelines to stay injury-free and ensure you’re in top form every time you step on the diamond.

Keep On Rollin’

During the day-in, day-out grind of a baseball season, your body is bound to feel sore or tight in places. When muscle aches strike, your best friend is the foam roller. Lay the tender muscle overtop that tough foam tube (if you want to get really intense, try a PVC pipe or a lacrosse ball) and roll slowly back and forth. When the sensation feels powerful, stop and breathe deeply. Then move on. Ballplayers should pay special attention to their chest, lats, triceps, forearms and glutes. (See muscle-specific foam rolling techniques.)

Mobilize the Troops

There’s nothing wrong with doing the old one-leg-out, touch-your-toes hurdler’s stretch—if you’re a track athlete and it’s 1980. More recent studies support a much more effective way to stay flexible and strong: dynamic mobility exercises. When you perform dynamic mobility drills (like this warm-up), you hold stretches for only a couple of seconds before you change position; so they are great way to get limber, warm and loose before an activity. Make sure to focus on your ankles, hips, t-spine (mid back), shoulders and neck.

Pull, Pull, Pull

Guys with big pecs may look great in tank tops, but for the boys of summer, back muscles are what really matter. Besides being crucial to your swing, a well-developed posterior can help keep your all-important shoulders healthy—and let’s face it, if you can’t throw, you can’t play (unless you’re David Ortiz). Aim for a 2:1 ratio of pulling exercises to pushing movements in your workouts. Great options include rowing exercises, Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups.

Take One Step at a Time

Baseball does a phenomenal job of creating muscle imbalances among its athletes. During the course of a game, players are constantly pushing off of the same leg, whether they’re throwing, hitting or even running the bases (you never steal a base by turning to your left). While Squats and Deadlifts are great for building size and strength, they don't do much to correct the imbalances that inevitably result from playing baseball. Swap out those big double-leg lifts for unilateral variations like Lunges, Single-Leg Hip Thrusts and Rear Foot-Elevated Split-Squats.

Get Hardcore

Most people mistakenly think that because baseball involves a lot of rotational movements, you should train your core the same way, with lots of twists and spins. The truth is that your core is not responsible for creating rotational power; its job is to create stability, resist movement and transfer the force from your legs into your swings and throws. So instead of performing outdated Sit-Ups and Rotational Crunches, build your core training around exercises like Front and Side Planks, Ab Wheel Rollouts and Pallof Holds or Presses. (Learn more about the Pallof Press.)



Training Centers




STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be the fittest you ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

2014 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

Hanley Ramirez's Explosive Sled Row

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

The New Rules for Cryotherapy: Why You're Icing Wrong

How David Ortiz Maintains Peak Performance

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Kettlebell Training for Baseball and Softball Players

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Baseball Conditioning: Why You Need an Aerobic Base

Derek Jeter's Best All-Star Moments

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

Tommy John Surgery 10 Times More Common Than a Decade Ago

The 5 Most Painful Spots to Be Hit by a Pitch

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

Evan Longoria Sharpens His Skills With This Exercise

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

Joe Mauer

Maintaining Your Lower-Body Strength After Tommy John Surgery

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Why Your Shin Splints Aren't Really Shin Splints

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Increase Your Pitching Velocity With These 3 Exercises

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Catcher Technique, Part 10: The Baseball Workout

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

How to Avoid Softball Pitching Injuries

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

How to Protect Yourself From Heat Stroke This Summer

Hanley Ramirez's Overhead Tire Pull

Use These 3 Grips to Throw a Changeup They Can't Hit

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

How Cristiano Ronaldo Can Defeat the Witch Doctor's Curse

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

Baseball Workout for Power Hitting

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

Build a Better Baseball Body With Joe Mauer's Workout

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

3 Tips to Maximize Your Off-Season Baseball Training

Matt Kemp on His Way Back to MVP Form

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

LaTroy Hawkins' Epic Battle Ropes Workout

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

Will Joel Embiid Be Able to Succeed in the NBA?

3 Reasons to Correct Your Weak Links to Prevent Common Injuries

4 Exercises to Fix Bad Posture and Help You Move Better

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

Why a Sports Hernia Won't Ruin Jadeveon Clowney's Rookie Season

Does Loss of Sleep Have Same Effects as Sports Head Injuries?

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

3 Ways to Protect Your Knees and Prevent ACL Injuries

How to Recover After Getting Hit by a Pitch

The Most Protected Players in Major League Baseball