Get Stronger to Improve Your Speed on the Base Paths

April 9, 2013 | Joe Taylor

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Running the bases requires serious lower-body horsepower, allowing you to dig your feet into the dirt and propel yourself at top speed. (See also How to improve base-running speed.)

The key to running the bases faster is to increase your power to bodyweight ratio. To do this, you must focus on the speed of the exercise, not the weight. You want to build faster muscles rather than larger muscles. In the process, you may lose some weight, which can further increase your power to bodyweight ratio.

If you want to become a threat on the bases, start doing this workout. Incorporate it into your program twice per week.

Dynamic Warm-Up: 20 minutes

  • Overhead Squats - 2x10
  • Walking Lunges - 2x20 yards
  • Walking Lateral Lunges - 2x10 yards each direction
  • Stretch and Foam Roll Drills
  • A-Skips - 2x15-20 yards
  • Power Skips - 2x15-20 yards
  • Broad Jumps - 2x15-20 yards
  • Bounding - 2x15-20 yards

Strength: 40 minutes

Front Squat


  • Assume an athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Rest the bar across the front of your shoulders with a clean grip
  • Keeping your back straight and knees behind toes, sink your hips back and lower into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the ground
  • Explode up by driving through your heels and extending your knees and hips to return to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3-5x3-6

RDL

  • Hold a barbell at thigh level with your palms facing your body, your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and a slight bend in your knees
  • Bend at the hips, sit your butt back and lower the bar to mid-shin height, keeping it close to your legs
  • Keep your back straight
  • Extend your hips to stand up
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3-5x3-6

DB Step-Ups

  • Holding dumbbells at shoulder-height, assume an athletic stance in front of a knee-high box
  • Step onto the box with your right foot
  • Explosively extend your right hip and knee to raise your body onto the box
  • Drive up with your left knee so your thigh is parallel to the floor
  • Return your left foot to the ground; repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3-5x4-6 each leg

Upper-Body Exercises

Select one pulling and one pushing exercise. Do 3x5 each exercise.

  • Pulling: Pull-Up, DB Row, BB Row, Inverted Row
  • Pushing: Bench Press, DB Bench Press, Military Press, DB Military Press, Push-Ups

Speed Work: 15-20 minutes


Acceleration Wall March

  • Place your hands against a wall and position your body at a 45-degree angle with your legs and back in a straight line
  • Using a marching movement, lift your right knee to your chest
  • Hold the position for one second
  • Lower your knee to return to start position
  • Perform the same movement with your left knee

Sets/Reps: 3x6-12

L-Drill

  • Assume a starting stance at cone one
  • Sprint five yards to the cone two
  • Decelerate, plant on your right foot and touch the cone with your right hand
  • Sprint to cone one
  • Decelerate, plant on your right foot and touch the cone with your right hand
  • Sprint slightly past cone two, plant on your left leg, turn and sprint to the inside of cone three
  • Plant on your left foot and round the cone
  • Sprint as quickly as possible around cone two to finish at cone one

Sets/Reps: 6-10x1

Sprints

  • 8x20 yards
  • 6x10 yards
  • Curved - 6x10 yards (use cones to create a smooth curve 5 yards deep and 10 yards long)

Post Workout: 5-10 minutes

Foam roll and stretch areas that are routinely problematic, and/or perform the hip and ankle drills again.

Quick Notes

  • Olympic lifts effectively improve power, but are not included because of the complexity of the movements. If you are comfortable with these exercise, feel free to add them to the program.
  • Strength and speed training can be switched and performed in reverse order. Mix it up and see what works best for you.
- Joe Taylor is a writer whose passion and specialty is sports performance. He gained his Bachelor's in sport and exercise science in 201, and is...
- Joe Taylor is a writer whose passion and specialty is sports performance. He gained his Bachelor's in sport and exercise science in 201, and is...
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