Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning


Are Your Workouts Making You Better, or Making You Tired?

By Gene Coleman, Ed. D., RSCC*E

Over the years, a lot of players have been given well-designed programs by their strength and conditioning staff and then proceeded to do only the exercises that they enjoyed and omit those that they really needed to do. Usually, the ones they liked were a lot easier than those that they needed to. The programs provided were based on valid, scientific principles and proper exercise progressions. The exercises selected and the order in which they were to be performed were intended to produce a desired outcome. When you pick and choose which exercises to do or alter the order, you can’t expect to get max results.

Training is about achieving a balance between work and recovery. Work is the stimulus needed for improvement, but improvements occur during recovery. To get better, you have to first train hard and then recover properly. If you skip the recovery, you are just making yourself tired. Think back to your last workout and ask yourself, “Did I work out to get better, or did I just workout to make myself tired?”

A well-designed and properly followed off-season program should get you in and out of the weight room in approximately 40 minutes or less. Strength exercises should follow a circuit or super-set program in which you perform one exercise and then, with minimal rest, perform a second exercise for another part of the body. Working with minimal rest between exercises and working opposing muscle groups works the primary energy system used in baseball (anaerobic system). When you take 3-5 minutes or longer between exercises while you check your text messages, walk across the room to change the music, admire yourself in the mirror, stop to watch Sports Center for the 15th time or talk to your teammate, you’re training the wrong energy system. If your running consists of a slow jog or cycle, you’re training the wrong energy system (aerobic system). Baseball is an anaerobic sport, not an aerobic sport. “The energy system used is the energy system trained.” If you are going to work out, train the right energy system?

For max results, train with a purpose and utilize the correct energy system needed to achieve your desired goals. Training without a proper plan makes you tired, wears down your body and provides minimal gains. Make every set, every rep, every run, every jump, every swing and every throw count! Work without a purpose is not training. Work without a purpose will make you tired, but it won’t make you better. Following properly-designed, strength and conditioning programs can help you achieve and maintain the strength, speed and power needed to maximize performance and minimize the risk of injury.

Final thought. Dizzy Dean once said “Throw your best pitcher today, it might rain tomorrow.” If you skip a workout and then get sick or a family emergency occurs, you could end up missing 2-3 workouts instead of just one. Work today. You don’t know what might happen tomorrow. There are no rain checks for a missed workout.

Gene Coleman, Ed. D., RSCC*E, FACSM has over four decades as a head strength and conditioning coach (Astros) and strength and conditioning consultant (Rangers). He is Professor Emeritus in the Exercise and Health Sciences Program at the University of Houston – Clear Lake and Website Education Manager,

About the Author


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.