Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning


Youth Sports 30Day Stuck in Home Challenge

By Matt Krause, RSCC

Now that the baseball season is on hold for at least another month and players are stuck in the house, there is time to refine strengths and correct weaknesses. The following is a day-by-day 30-day exercise program designed to challenge players to be in tip top shape when the season resumes. The program is designed for players to workout out 3 times per week with the option for a fourth workout each week. The fourth workout can be day of rest, body weight exercise or 30-minutes of cardio.  

The program requires no equipment. Rotator cuff / shoulder exercises can be performed with a 3-pound dumbbell or can of soup. A broomstick, golf club or dowel can be used for seated rotations and a string can be attached between two chairs or a door frame for limbos and step overs.

The 30-Day Challenge and a description of each exercise are presented below.

1. Jumping Jacks – Stand with your hands down by your sides and feet about shoulderwidth apart.  With your knees slightly bent, jump a few inches off the ground on both feet and bring your hands over your head until your thumbs touch together. During the jumping phase, our feet should move about 6 inches away from your body.  When your hands are overhead and feet apart, jump your feet back to starting position and bring your hands back to your sides.  This is one rep. Repeat this for the desired number of reps or for time.
2. Glute Bridge: Start on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Place your hands down by your sides with palms down. Tighten your stomach, squeeze your butt cheeks together and then drive your feet into the ground to lift your body up until there is a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.  Keep your head in a neutral position, eyes looking to the ceiling, and the back of your head on the floor. Hold this up position for 1-2 seconds and slowly return to the starting position under control. Control your descent. Don’t let your body drop to the floor. Start with 1-2 sets of 10 reps and gradually progress to 3 sets of 15-20 reps.
3. 3-lb dumbbell Y, T, W’s – Start from an athletic position holding a 3lb DB or can of soup in each hand down by your hip.  Keeping your arms straight, raise your hands up over your head until your arms are even with your ears into a position that looks like a “Y”.  Then lower your arms back to your hips.  Next, raise your straight arms away from your body to shoulderheight with your palms down. Then lower your arms back to your hips.  Finally, raise your elbows away from body up to shoulderheight and your arms bent 900 hanging down.  Next, rotate at the shoulder and bring your hands above your head until they are even with your ears.  Lower your hands back to starting hip position.  Repeat the sequence starting with “Y” exercises.
4. Step ups – Find a box or stable surface that is a 6-18 inches high that safely support your body weight. Ideally, the box should be high enough that your knee forms a 900 angle when you have one foot on the box. Stand and place your right foot fully on the box. Set your core and press into the heel of your right foot to raise your body off the floor.  As you come up, maintain good posture and keep your right knee back behind the toes of your right foot throughout the movement.  Push on your right foot until your right leg is straight.  At the same time, drive your left knee up so that your left knee is above your hip.  Hold for 1-count as you maintain control and balance.  Lower your left foot down to the ground.  Repeat on the right leg for the desired reps or until your form breaks down and then switch legs. You can also alternate stepping up with your right and left leg.
5. Seated Rotations with stick – Sit on the end of a chair or bench with your back straight, feet and knees together and eyes looking forward.  Place a broomstick behind your neck and shoulders with your hands-on top of stick with arms extended.  Keeping your lower body still, with your right hand, rotate in front of your body to the midline and rotate to the right as far as comfortable, pause, return to the starting position and rotate to the left and back. This is one repetition. Continue to rotate with good tempo for the prescribed number of reps or time.
6. Push up – Start by lying on your stomach in a straight line.  Your feet should be about 6-inches apart with your toes touching the ground.  Place your hands next to your chest just under your arm pit palms down.  Keeping your body firm (core tight) or planked.  Push your arms into the ground and your body should rise in a straight line until your arms are fully extended.  Return to starting position by bending your elbows and slowly lowering your planked body back to the ground.  If you need to modify start from knees position instead of toes. Hand placement stays the same.
7. Plank- Start in a push-up position with your weight supported on your toes and elbows instead of your toes and your hands. Your elbows are under your shoulders. Tighten your stomach muscles and extend your toes and arms at the shoulders to raise your body off the ground. You want a straight line through your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.  Don’t let your stomach sag and don’t let your bottom come up like a tent pole. Hold this position for 10 seconds, relax, rest and repeat the exercise two more times. Start with three 10-second holds and gradually increase to three 30-second holds.  If you have trouble keeping your body straight, put your elbows on a bench or box and do an incline plank.  As your core gets stronger, lower the height of the box or bench until you can perform the exercise from the floor.
8. Superman’s – Start by lying face down in a straight line with your toes pointed back and both arms extended overhead.  Raise both arms and legs off the ground about 6-inches at the same time. Your thumbs should be up and slightly above your shoulders and your toes should be slightly above your hips.  Hold this position for a 3count by contracting all the posterior muscles of the body.  Relax,lower your arms and legs back to ground and repeat for the prescribed number of reps.
9. Balance on 1 leg – Stand with your knees slightly bent. Then, raise your right leg off the ground while keeping your left foot flat of the floor.  Keep your core tight and hold this position for the desired amount of time.  Lower your right leg and raise your left leg of the ground.  Add ball tosses or stand on a pad or beam to make the drill more challenging.
10. Mountain ClimbersStart in a pushup position, with both hands on floor slight wider than shoulderwidth apart.  Pull your left foot up toward your left hip untilyour left knee is under your chest. Keep your right leg extended as you pull your left foot forward. Next, rapidly switch your legs so your left leg is extended and right foot is pulled toward your right hip, as if running in place. This is one rep. Continue for time or desired repetitions
11. Jump Rope or Line JumpForward and Backward Jumps.  Stand with your feet together and parallel with a line on the ground. Then jump forward and backward over the line on both feet.  Lateral Jumps. After performing the desired number of reps, repeat the drill jumping side-to-side across the line. Repeat for time or reps. Hops.  Repeat hopping forward and backward and then side-to-side off one foot.
12. Fire Hydrants – Start on your hands and knees with your back straight.  Bring your right knee up to your chest, then lift your leg out to the side of your body.Without losing posture in your back, extend your right leg behind your body, pause and return to starting position.  Repeat on the opposite side.  
13. Side lying DB to straight – Start by lying on your right side with a 3lb dumbbellon can of soup in your left hand and left arm extended across your chest.  Keeping your left arm straight, raise your left arm until it is directly over your left shoulder, pause for 1 sec and slowly lower your left arm back to the starting position.  Perform the prescribed number of reps and repeat using the right arm.
14. Squat – Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes turned slightly outwards.  Retract your scapulae (pull the shoulders down and back).Inhale and engage your core and abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Hold your chest up and out, tilt your head slightly up and shift your weight back onto your heels while pushing your hips behind you. Start the downward phase by first shifting your hips backwards then downwards to create a hinge-like movement at your hips. As you lower your hips focus on keeping your knees behind your toes.  Maintain tension in the core muscles and keep your back flat.  Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or until your heels begin to come off the floor, or your back begins to round.  While maintaining good posture, exhale and extend the hips and knees by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. Continue extending until you reach your starting position.  
15. Quadruped elbow to sky – This is an exercise for the T-spine. Start on your hands and knees, so that your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips.  Then place one hand behind your head and your elbow should be directly below the midline of your chest.  Rotate your body so your elbow is pointing to the sky.  Slowly return to starting position.  
16. Wall Holds T’s and V’s- T position.  Start by sitting on the floor with your back against the wall.  Extend and raise your hands to shoulder height.  Firmly press your head, shoulders, low back and hands against the wall maintaining tension. Hold with tension for the desired amount of time.  Rest and place arms in a V-position against the wall.  Same posture and firmly press your hands into the wall for desired time.  Suggested time is 10-30 seconds.
17. Side Plank: Start by laying of your right side with your right elbow bent and under your right shoulder. Flex your hips and bend your knees so that your weight is supported on your right elbow, hip, knee and leg. Tighten your stomach and slowly raise your hips off the floor until you form a straight line from your head to your knees. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds and then slowly return to the starting position. Do 5 reps and then switch sides. Start with 2 sets of 5 reps on each side and gradually progress to 3 sets of 10 on each side.
18. Pull ups Start off by grabbing a pull-up bar with your palms forward and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.  Stabilize your core, lower back and glutes to keep a strong base.  Make sure your elbows are pointed out to the side, not in front.  Lift yourself up and squeeze your elbows behind you.  Keep your head straight and pull until your chin is slightly over the bar.  Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting point.  The bar height should be just out of your reach when you are standing on your toes.  
19. Side Limbo or Hurdle Unders – Hang a string on a doorway just under chest height.  Stand with your right side perpendicular to the string.  Step laterally with right foot under string and slowly lower your hips until your head is lower than the string.  Continue to shift your weight laterally until your entire body is on the right side of the string. Repeat coming back under the string to your left.  
20. Burpees – Stand with your feet hips shoulder-width apart.  Drop into a squat position and place hands on floor under your shoulders.  Keeping both arms straight, kick both legs out at the same time until your body is in a push-up position. Then, do a pushup.  At the top of the push-up position, tuck in your knees into your chest return to a squat position.  From the squat position, jump as high as you can off both feet, land and repeat for desired reps or time.
21. High knees / Butt kicks – High knees: Start standing with feet hip-distance apart. Lift your right knee as high as it will go and raise the opposite arm, then switch quickly so that your left knee is up before your right foot lands. Continue pulling your knees up quickly for the recommended amount of time. Butt kicks: Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with your arms at your sides. Slowly bring your right heel to your buttocks by contracting your hamstrings. Place the ball of your right foot back on the ground and slowly bring your left heel to your buttocks. This is one rep. Continue alternating your heels and gradually increasing speed for the prescribed amount of time. Pump your arms while performing the butt kick movements. When your left heel is kicking your buttocks, pump your right arm forward and vice versa.  Focus on quick turnover.
22. Step Overs or Hurdle Overs – Hang a string across a doorway just above kneeheight. Stand in facing the of string about one foot away.  Step forward and over the string with your right foot without losing your balance or shifting your weight to one side.  The movement should be with your right hip.  Next, step over the string with left foot without shifting your weight to one side.  Once you have stepped across the string with both feet, return to the starting position by stepping backwards across the string with one foot at a time.  
23. 3-lb Lateral raise – Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend your hips and knees. Hold 3-lb dumbbells or cans of soup at your sides with your palms facing in and bend your elbows slightly. Tighten your core and raise the dumbbells to the side until your upper arms are no higher than shoulder height. Lower the dumbbells or cans with control to return to the starting position. Repeat for the prescribed number of reps.
24. Lunge – Stand erect with your feet about hip-width apart. Place your hands at your sides or on your hips.  Keeping your back straight and trunk upright, step forward with your left foot.  Lower your right knee to the ground slightly behind your right hip (hip extension). Pay attention to your posture. Maintain a straight spine by keeping your core tight and looking straight ahead.  Both knees should be in a 90-90 position. Your left knee should be over your left ankle forming a 900angle and your shoulders should be over your hips.  Now, exhale and push your left heel in the ground to raise your body up until your legs are straight (front leg on heel and back leg on toes).  Pause for one second, Stay balanced.  Then bend the back leg at the knee and lower your body back down to floor to the starting position, while keeping your shoulders over your hips
25. Book openers (torso rotation) – Lie down on your right side, bend your knees and place your feet under your buttocks.  There should be a straight line from you head, spine, buttocks and feet.  Extend your arms in front of your body with palms together.  While keeping your right hand (bottom hand, shoulder and hip on the floor, rotate your left (top and) hand across your body into a Tposition.  Rotate and try to touch the top shoulder and hand to opposite side of the floor.  Take a deep breath, relax for three seconds, exhale and rotate back to starting position.  Repeat on opposite side.
26. Dead Bug: Start on your back with both arms extended straight up to the ceiling from the shoulders, both thighs flexed 900 at the hip so that your knees point straight up to the ceiling, and both knees flexed 900 so that your calves are parallel to the floor. You should look like a dead bug lying on its back.  Tighten your stomach so that your low back is flat on the floor and then extend your right leg straight out from the hip but don’t let your foot touch the ground. At the same time, extend your left arm (opposite arm) straight back, but don’t let it touch the ground. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds and then slowly return to the starting position. Perform 5 reps, rest 2-3 seconds and repeat with the left leg and right arm. Start with 2 sets of 5 reps on each side. When you can do 5 reps on each side perfectly, alternate reps on each side of the body and gradually progress to 3 sets of 10 reps on each side. Make sure that you keep your low back flat on the ground throughout the exercise.  If you can’t keep your back flat, put your hands under your hips, palms down, and perform only the leg movements.  
27. Ball squeeze – Wrap your fingers and thumb around a tennis ball, rubber ball or baseball.  Then squeeze and hold for 2 seconds.  Repeat for time or reps.  Youcan also hold ball in throwing grips and squeeze.
28. Crunches – Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your head so that your thumbs are behind your ears. Do not lace your fingers together. Keeping your elbows out to the sides, tilt your chin slightly, gently pull your abs in and curl-up forward so that your head, neck and shoulder blades lift off the floor. Pause at the top for 1-2 seconds, slowly return to the starting position and repeat for the recommended number of reps or time.
29. Step taps – Start with your right toe on the edge of 6 to10-inch box and left foot on the floor.  Then, quickly jump up and switch your feet so that you left foot is on the edge of box and your right foot is on the floor.  Make this exchange as quicklyas you can. Repeat for time or reps.


Matt Krause, RSCC is the President of the Professional Baseball Strength Coaches Society (PBSCCS) and former Director of Strength and Conditioning for the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds




About the Author


Leave a Reply

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