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Show and Go for Baseball Strength and Conditioning?

Written on May 26, 2011 at 8:54 am, by Eric Cressey

In the past few months, I’ve gotten quite a few inquiries about whether Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better is a good fit for baseball players.

While I never wrote the book with the intention of training this athletic population, it can be quickly and easily modified to fit the unique needs of baseball.  The principal changes are going to be:

The big differences are going to be:

1. Use more front squatting, and little to no back squatting (we do use a lot of giant cambered bar and safety squat bar variations at Cressey Performance).

2. Eliminate barbell bench pressing and overhead pressing, instead plugging in some dumbbell bench pressing and pushup variations, as seen here and here.

3. In the off-season, we usually do medicine ball work 2-3x/week.  The medicine ball volume is higher in the early/mid-off-season and lower during the late off-season and in-season phases.  For some exercise ideas, you can check out this post of mine, as well as my YouTube Channel.

Usually, this medicine ball training is incorporated before lifting or movement training.

4. I’d add some rhythmic stabilization work 2x/week – as seen here.

All in all, the program is surprisingly versatile for the baseball player.  In the off-season, the 4x/week template works great.  Then, as the late off-season and pre-season get underway, the 3x/week program is a better fit.  In-season, you’ll see more position players and relief pitchers using the 2x/week approach, whereas starters can get in 3x/week lifting.  Obviously, the volume may be reduced, but the exercise selection, overall training schedule, training stress fluctuations, core training, and warm-up sequences are all very applicable. It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be markedly better than any of the cookie cutter or football lifting programs you’ll see out there.

For more information, check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.

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6 Responses to “Show and Go for Baseball Strength and Conditioning?”

  1. Phil Says:


    So you are against back square for baseball players? Is there a big difference between back square and front square that can hurt a baseball player, primarily pitchers?

  2. Rees Says:

    If you don’t mind Eric, I’d like to take a stab at Phil’s question.

    Front squats, safety bars, and GCB’s leave the shoulder in a more natural/comfortable position. Where as arm placement during a back squat can cause shoulder irritation. Personally if I were working w/ a $multimillion athlete (or any baseball player/over head athlete for that matter) I’d rather be safe than sorry, especially when the risk:reward is as miniscule as the difference between a front and back squat.

  3. Tate Says:

    Sounds like a great case for.. The Ultimate Off Season Training Manual for Baseball.

  4. Rob Phillips Says:

    As a competitive weightlifter (olympic lifting -Snatch and Clean&Jerk) I can attest to the value of a properly done front squat particularly if the athlete builds up the necessary flexibility to perform a full depth front squat. Additionally my son (16 yrs old 83 mph) performs Snatches and front squats in the off-season. The snatch is a great exercise and if properly performed places very little stress in the shoulder capsule. The snatch is particularly beneficial to the entire posterior chain while demanding speed, balance, and flexibility.

  5. Eric Cressey Says:


    The problem is actually less at the shoulder and more at the elbow. There’s a tremendous amount of valgus stress in the catch position, and while you only occasionally see a UCL tear in an O-lifter, this is a very susceptible area to injury in throwing athletes due to repeated exposures to trauma from throwing. Great for most athletes, but not overhead throwers. They’re better off sticking with a high pull.

  6. JP Says:

    What are your thoughts on overhead squats and/or lunges with hands in a neutral grip (eliminating external rotation of humeral head) with moderate loads?

    On your video of med-ball wall tosses, have you ever utilized a slide step (akin to shot putters) or incorporated a crow-hop style of acceleration? Perhaps this might translate to more sport specicivity as opposed to the “kareoke” style seen in the clip. Just asking, as training ball players is new to me; having picked up a few in the last few months. I’ve been enjoying your posts, blogs, and videos; as well as the respect shown for well executed research…keep outworking the rest to stay the best!

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