Kettlebell Training for Baseball and Softball Players

Ten kettlebell exercises baseball and softball players can use to improve their performance on the diamond.

Throwing a baseball or softball at a high velocity places an incredible strain on the arm and shoulder. It's one of the most violent motions in sports. Increasingly, players are using kettlebell training to prevent injury while working their whole bodies.

Here are some kettlebell exercises our staff uses to train baseball and softball players. Maintain good posture throughout each exercise with a balanced stance and an appropriate musculoskeletal alignment.

One-Arm Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Carry

This exercise focuses on grip strength, shoulder stability and engaging the core.

  • Grip the handle, holding the kettlebell upside down.
  • Line up your elbow slightly below your shoulder.
  • Lock your wrist.
  • Walk 20 yards, switch arms and walk back.

Tall Kneeling One-Arm Press

This exercise stabilizes the shoulder, maintains a strong core (by keeping the glutes flexed) and keeps the motion slow and controlled.

  • Hold the kettlebell in a racked position (hold the handle diagonally to fit in your hand with the weight on your shoulder).
  • Brace your core.
  • Press out and up.
  • Keep your ribs down throughout the exercise, maintaining the same distance from ribs to pelvis.

Front Squat

The Squat engages the core, increases flexibility in the hips and develops overall balance.

  • Hold the kettlebell in a racked position.
  • Point your opposite arm straight and forward at shoulder level
  • Sink your hips just below parallel while maintaining heel contact with the ground.
  • Switch the kettlebell to the opposite side and work both sides equally.


The Deadlift engages the core, increases strength in the lower half and improves grip strength.

  • Place the kettlebell between your feet, which are a little wider than hip-width.
  • Hold the kettlebell with both hands.
  • Start with your hips back.
  • Stand up.
  • Push your hips back to touch the kettlebell to the ground before the next rep.

Reverse Lunge

The Lunge works the lower body. The kettlebell involves the arms and core.

  • Hold the kettlebell in your right hand down by your side.
  • Step back with your right leg.
  • When in the down position, switch the kettlebell to your left hand.
  • Stand up and repeat for the opposite leg, transferring the kettlebell to the opposite hand with each repetition.

Wood Chop

This exercise focuses on the abdominal region.

  • Hold one kettlebell in both hands above your right shoulder.
  • Lower the kettlebell to your left ankle, making a diagonal line across the front of your body.
  • Raise the kettlebell from your left ankle back above your right shoulder.
  • Repeat for the opposite side to work each side equally.

Standing Push-Outs

This exercise strengthens the muscles on the front of the body, including the shoulders.

  • Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your sternum.
  • Extend the kettlebell forward until your arms are fully extended.
  • As a challenge, add an isometric hold with your arms fully extended (if form is compromised, that is your cue to stop).

Push-Up Row

The Push-Up Row starts in the high plank position with one kettlebell on the ground in front of your chest.

  • Grip the kettlebell with one arm and perform a row.
  • Keep the other arm and both feet on the ground as you perform the row.
  • Switch hands to work both sides equally.

Figure 8 Twist

This exercise engages the entire body with a twisting action like swinging a bat.

  • Hold the kettlebell in your right hand between your feet in a squat position.
  • Pass the kettlebell to your left hand in a Figure 8 pattern between your legs.
  • As you stand from a squat position, grasp the bell of the kettlebell with your right hand and perform a twist at the top while standing. This replicates the swing of the bat.
  • Alternate starting position to work both sides equally.

Half Get-Up

  • Lie on your back holding the kettlebell in your left hand with your arm fully extended.
  • Bend your right knee with your left hand on the ground out to the side.
  • Raise your hips off the ground without altering placement of the kettlebell.
  • Squeeze your gluteus muscles at the bridge, then slowly return to the ground.
  • Alternate sides to work both sides equally.
Watch all these exercises demonstrated in the video below.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock