Baseball Magazine

It’s Time to Train for Speed!

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

In my neck of the woods, players have about one or two more weeks before their school tryouts begin.  Hopefully, players have been training their bodies over the last several months to prepare.   During these months players usually train to improve their overall size and strength.  With a couple weeks left to go, players should now switch to a more speed oriented workout.

Just before the season, switch to speed workout with very low weight and very high reps!

Just before the season, switch to speed workout with very low weight and very high reps!


When I say “speed oriented workout” I don’t mean running speed. Improving running speed cannot happen in just two weeks.  If players wanted to improve their running speed, it should have been a big part of their workouts all winter.  I’m talking about getting your body ready for the speed of the game and the speed in which your body is going to have to do things when the action begins.

Here’s the problem.  When guys lift heavy weights to build size and strength they often are encouraged to do so with slow reps.  For example, when doing a bench press, it’s best to slowly bring down the weight to the chest (about a three second count) and then slowly push it back up (about a one second count).  This allows the athlete to use his full range of motion during the lift.  It also enables him to have total control of the lift instead of cheating through the use of gravity and momentum to perform most of the rep for them.  But after doing this for several months, the athlete has trained his muscles to move pretty slowly.  With two weeks left before baseball starts, it’s now time to speed them up to get those muscles used to game speed conditions!

The easiest way to do this is to lift with speed in mind.  

First, the athlete drastically increase the number of reps performed for each exercise.  Instead of doing three sets of 10 max reps, switch to one set of 30, 50, or even 100 reps!  No, that is not a misprint.  I’ve done 100 reps in a row many times in this manner.  The athlete performs each rep as fast as he possibly can while still preserving control of the weight and using full range of motion.

Second, in order to do these increased reps, the athlete must drastically reduce the amount of weight he is lifting.  I can remember adding more and more weight to each end of the bar over the course of the winter and then just using the bar or light dumbbells for this speed lifting.

And for those who think this type of lifting doesn’t have much value, just give it a try one time.  Five or six exercises, one set only for each exercise, and 50-100 reps performed for each set.  Do it once and let me know how it feels.  Of course, if you can actually pick up your phone afterwards.  

As you’ll see, lifting this way still strengthens the muscles but it also has the benefit of forcing your muscles to fire quickly which is what you will need them to do on the field.   

Tomorrow’s post:  The importance of learning to run the bases


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