15 Baseball Exercises MLB Players Actually Do

Baseball players have a huge number of exercises at their disposal. But which ones work best? Here are some quality options MLB pros include in their routines.

There's a power shift underway in Major League Baseball. Players are becoming faster, stronger and, yes, more powerful through training techniques that grow more intelligent and effective every year.

STACK has sat in on hundreds of these training sessions, and we've seen every move the pros do to make themselves better athletes. Whether it's a kettlebell lift that improves stability at the plate, a hurdle drill that help players cover more ground in the field, or simple warm-up moves that can make a big difference to a player's flexibility and range of motion on the field, Big Leaguers know how to train smart. And now, thanks to this article, you will, too.

Here are 15 moves that MLB standouts actually perform in their workouts, and that you should add to yours. Think of it as an All-Star lineup of exercises that'll help you reach your true potential.

Read More >>

There's a power shift underway in Major League Baseball. Players are becoming faster, stronger and, yes, more powerful through training techniques that grow more intelligent and effective every year.

STACK has sat in on hundreds of these training sessions, and we've seen every move the pros do to make themselves better athletes. Whether it's a kettlebell lift that improves stability at the plate, a hurdle drill that help players cover more ground in the field, or simple warm-up moves that can make a big difference to a player's flexibility and range of motion on the field, Big Leaguers know how to train smart. And now, thanks to this article, you will, too.

Here are 15 moves that MLB standouts actually perform in their workouts, and that you should add to yours. Think of it as an All-Star lineup of exercises that'll help you reach your true potential.

Kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups

Performed by: Steve Cishek

Why he does it: Kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups are a monster of a movement. Some experts have even proposed they may deserve the title of "world's greatest exercise," and it's hard to fault them. The beauty of the Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up is that it's really four or five exercises in one. Transitioning between each of those exercise positions requires excellent functional core strength and mobility in the hips and shoulder. It all adds up to a movement that helps Cishek, who holds the Miami Marlins franchise record for saves in a season, stay sharp and durable. Here's how to perform the move properly.

Sets/Reps: 3x3-5  on each side

Figure-Eight Med Ball Shot Put Throw

Performed by: Tim Collins

Why he does it: The Figure-Eight Med Ball Shot Put Throw builds the type of rotational power that naturally translates to pitching. By performing it from both sides, it helps Collins cutdown on any imbalances that may arise from the thousands of left-handed pitches he delivers throughout a year.

How to do it: 

  • Generate power from ground and transfer through core, shoulders and arms
  • Rotate through hips, not lower back
  • Generate maximum power for each rep

Sets/Reps: 3x3-8 each side

Kettlebell Swings

Performed by: José Bautista

Why he does it: Kettlebell Swings help develop Bautista's posterior chain, allowing him to generate extra power during rotational exercises such as hitting and throwing.

How to do it:

  • Hike the kettlebell like a football to begin the exercise
  • Drive your hips forward to swing the kettlebell, generating power from your glutes
  • Allow that power to transfer up through your trunk and into your arms, floating the kettlebell to about neck height
  • Do not "pull" the kettlebell with your arms
  • Keep your knees over your ankles

Sets/Reps: 3x6-10

Trap Bar Deadlift

Performed by: Tim Collins

Why he does it: Deadlifts are a stellar way to develop glute and hamstring strength and power, which are absolutely critical to pitching velocity and general athleticism. The trap bar allows the athlete to load more weight and also helps taller athletes stay in better positions throughout the movement.

How to do it:

  • Keep weight on heels to ensure you're targeting the right muscle groups
  • Low back slightly arched
  • Explosively stand up by straightening your hips and then your knees, keeping your back flat and core tight
  • Keep chest upright and facing forward and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement

Sets/Distance: 4x3-6

Swiss Ball Cable Rotations

Performed by: Jimmy Rollins

Why he does it: Former MLB All-Star Jimmy Rollins racked up 2,455 career hits thanks to his blend of blinding speed and impressive hitting prowess. This unique exercise builds the rotational strength and power need to drive the baseball to any part of the ballpark.

How to do it:

  • Bend knees slightly with feet at hip width
  • Hold Swiss Ball on sternum with rope handle on opposite side
  • Grip rope with outside hand
  • Let your core do the work, don't cheat by kicking out your tricep

Reps: 4x8-12 reps on each side

Overhead Med Ball Throw

Performed by: Justin Verlander

Why he does it: The source of Verlander's heat-seeking fastballs—he's regularly clocked in triple digits on the radar gun—are exercises such as the Overhead Med Ball Throw, which reinforces the concept of pushing through the ground to generate the force needed to increase the velocity of his pitches.

How to do it:

  • Assume athletic stance, holding med ball in front
  • Lower into squat, then explode through hips, knees and ankles to throw med ball as high as possible
  • Run to med ball, pick it up and repeat

Sets/Reps: 2×10

Backward Weighted Bear Crawl

Performed by: Adrian Gonzalez

Why he does it: By training his total body with exercises like the Backward Weighted Bear Crawl, Gonzalez is able to generate force from his legs up through his core and transfer that energy into bat speed and power.

How to do it:

  • Assume Bear Crawl position
  • Grab two weighted plates (beginners use one plate or no weight)
  • Keep back flat, hips low and core tight
  • Crawl backwards, pulling plates in alternating fashion

Sets/Distance: 3×10 yards for beginners, progress as appropriate

Chair Kettlebell Press

Joey Votto Chair Kettlebell Press

Performed by: Joey Votto

Why he does it: Votto incorporates an element of stability into nearly every aspect of his off-season workouts. These exercises help him transfer more energy from his feet throughout the rest of his body, enabling him to generate peak force to turn on a pitch and drive it out of the park, or explode laterally to field a hard-hit ground ball.

How to do it:

  • Hold kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands in front of shoulders
  • Sit hips back and lower into quarter squat
  • Holding squat position, drive weight forward and up
  • Return weight to start position and repeat

Sets/Reps: 2×8

Banded Lateral Hurdle Hops

Performed by: Daniel Murphy

Why he does it: The three-time All-Star experiences both resistance and overspeed elements during this drill thanks to the dynamic nature of the band, helping him both train lateral explosiveness while also learning the proprioception skills necessary to move efficiently at higher speeds. The result is an infielder than can defend more dirt thanks to his impressive range.

How to do it:


  • Spend as little time with your feet on the ground as possible
  • Land with your knees bent and hips back
  • Hold the landing on opposite side of resistance for 2 seconds
  • If you do not have access to an appropriate resistance band, you can just perform traditional Lateral Hurdle Hops

Sets/Distance: 6-8 total reps, switching the direction you start in on each rep

Weighted Bulgarian Squat

Evan Longoria Weighted Bulgarian Squat

Performed by: Evan Longoria

Why he does it: Longoria doesn't possess a typical power-hitter build, which makes his strength even more special. Longoria's power comes from his core and legs, which is why he uses exercises that strengthen his abdominal muscles down through his lower body.

How to do it:

  • Assume split stance with rear foot elevated on bench or box
  • Keeping chest up and front knee behind toes, squat until front knee is bent at 90-degree angle
  • Drive through front heel to return to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set with opposite foot forward

Sets/Reps: 2×10 each leg

Single-Arm DB Row

Justin Upton Single Arm Dumbbell Row

Performed by: Justin Upton

Why he does it: Upton has one of the best arms in baseball, because he performs exercises that strengthen his shoulders and the stabilizing muscles around the shoulder joint. He uses a full range of motion and controlled movement to increase flexibility and prevent injury.

How to do it:

  • Place right hand and right knee on bench and left leg on floor to side
  • Hold dumbbell in left hand with palm facing in
  • Bring dumbbell to chest while keeping elbow tight to body; hold for one count
  • Lower dumbbell to start position; repeat
  • Perform on opposite side

Sets/Reps: 2×10 each arm 

Rotational Cable Row

Dustin Pedroia Rotational Cable Row

Performed by: Dustin Pedroia

Why he does it: Former AL MVP Pedroia is consistently among the league leaders in on-base percentage and pitches per plate appearance. His ability to extend at-bats is made possible by exercises that develop his upper-body strength and rotational movement.

How to do it:

  • With cable machine to right, assume athletic stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width
  • Reach across body with left hand, turning hips and shoulders to cable machine, to hold handle set at low position
  • Explosively rotate hips left and bring handle across body until it's above and outside left shoulder
  • Return to start position and repeat for specified reps
  • Perform set on opposite side

Sets/Reps: 2×10 each side

Swiss Ball Push-Ups/Rope Face Pulls

Performed by: Daniel Murphy

Why he does it: This move is a superset, so it's really two exercises in one. First, Murphy performs a set of Push-Ups with his feet elevated on a stability ball. Next, he moves to a cable machine for a set of Face Pulls. The superset creates pushing and pulling strength baseball players need to keep their upper-body strong and healthy throughout a season.

How to do it:

  • Start with the Swiss Ball Push-Up
  • Place your feet on the ball and keep your core tight and back flat
  • Lower your chest to the ground
  • Explosively push your body up, focusing on keeping your elbows tight to the body and preventing your shoulders from "shrugging" up towards your ears
  • Once set is complete, move immediately to the Rope Face Pull
  • Pull your shoulders back to initiate the movement
  • Pinch your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement and prevent your shoulders from "shrugging" up towards your ears
  • Pull the rope to eye level
  • Once set is complete, take a short rest and repeat

Sets/Reps: 3x8-10 reps on each exercise

Alternating Lateral Lunge

Craig Kimbrel Lateral Lunge

Performed by: Craig Kimbrel

Why he does it: Kimbrel performs exercises in the off-season designed to correct muscular imbalances and eliminate energy leaks, either of which can disrupt his transfer of power when pitching. The Lateral Lunge replicates the mechanics of a pitcher's delivery more closely other lower-body power lifts, such as the Back Squat.

How to do it: 

  • Assume athletic stance holding plate in front of chest
  • Step left and lower into lateral lunge position; drive back to start position
  • Step right and lower into lateral lunge position; drive back to start position
  • Repeat in alternating fashion for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3-4×8-10 each leg


Topics: BASEBALL | BASEBALL WORKOUTS | POWER | TRAIN | MED BALL | STANCE | BASEBALL TRAINING AND TIPS FROM MLB STARS