Year-Round Shoulder Workouts for Baseball Players

Baseball players: take care of your shoulders all year with this four-part workout program from STACK Expert Brian Smith.

Every baseball player needs a well-designed shoulder workout. In our training facility, we have adopted some ideas from other trainers and coaches to formulate a successful arm care program for baseball players. Before any program is implemented, we evaluate each player to identify shoulder or other issues. If the athlete is healthy and ready to start our program, we break the baseball shoulder workouts into post-season, off-season, pre-season and in-season programs

A. Post-Season

Our post-season program is designed to allow the shoulder to rest following the rigorous stress of throwing a baseball. We encourage players to take a minimum of two weeks off from throwing. Many of our athletes continue their participation in some type of training; we just discourage any overhead action (throwing a ball, spiking a volleyball, serving in tennis, etc.)

B. Off-Season

The off-season program follows the post-season program. This is when we focus on strength, range of motion, injury prevention, and teaching players how to maintain a healthy shoulder.

Here is a sample of our off-season throwing program, inspired by Alan Jaeger, whose clients include Clayton Kershaw, Barry Zito and many more collegiate and professional baseball players.

Weeks 1-4: Foundation

  • Arm Circles
  • Tube Work
  • Stretching out phase of long toss

Weeks 4-6: Strength & Speed

  • Arm Circles
  • Tube work
  • Stretching Out & Pulling Down

Weeks 7-10: Mechanics, Velocity, Endurance

  • Arm Circles
  • Tube Work
  • Stretching out and pulling down
  • Increase intensity and time
  • Mound time begins for pitchers
  • Position players pull down and make several consecutive throws at the average distance for their position (e.g., catchers throw 130 feet, outfielders  220-240 feet.)

C. Pre-Season

The pre-season program includes Arm Circles, tube work, and a longer duration of the stretching out and pulling down phase.

The long toss phase (stretching out and pulling down) is when players start throwing at a short distance to get their arms loose. How a player's arm feels determines the distance and number of throws he makes. Eric Cressey, the premier trainer for professional baseball players, says, "Long toss is an integral part of our throwing programs year-round. We've seen fantastic improvement in arm speed and overall athleticism on the mound since the guys started 'taking their arms for a walk.' We all owe Jaeger Sports a debt of gratitude for their work in getting long toss more and more accepted at all levels of baseball development."

D. In-Season

The in-season program varies by position and by the amount of throwing done on game day. We typically throw every day. Position guys long toss five to seven days a week, and pitchers long toss three to four days a week on average. On many occasions, a player is be told to take the day off from a "false" sense of pain. We advise the athlete to throw through this for a few minutes, and as his arm takes him for a walk, he will know if it's a good soreness or something that must be addressed by the medical staff.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SHOULDERS | WORKOUTS