Plyometric exercises for baseball are designed to increase explosiveness, power, and anaerobic conditioning.
Professional, college, and even some high school baseball pitchers utilize plyometric exercises to develop greater explosiveness off the mound.
Since pitching is purely explosive, plyometric training is one of the best ways to achieve the necessary explosiveness and speed for developing increased pitching velocity.
Plyometric training combined with a legitimate weightlifting program can significantly increase your explosiveness and power.
Use the exercises below to create your very own plyometric routine and start increasing your explosiveness today.
Lower Body Plyometric Exercises for Baseball
Depth jumps are one of the most effective plyometric exercises for developing explosiveness and strengthening the fast-twitch muscles. Before you attempt this exercise, you need to ensure that your muscles and joints are properly warmed up.
This exercise can be strenuous on the knees if performed incorrectly, so please take the necessary precautions before attempting it.
Depth jumps can be performed through a variety of methods. Depending on your level of athleticism, you will need to select a platform height that allows you maintain proper form.
Plyometric Exercise Boxes or Platforms:
Many of the most popular plyometric exercises are performed on differentiating platforms depending on your athletic ability. Depth jumps require some type of platform to properly perform the exercise. It is recommended that beginners start out using a 12 inch platform to develop strength.
Some plyometric platforms include a 12, 18, and 24 inch. I’m going to show you four different variations of a depth jump.
1. Platform Depth Jumps:
Once you have acquired some type of platform, you will then be ready to perform this great exercise.
- Starting position is on top of a smaller platform
- You will then step, not jump, off the platform
- You want to land softly on the balls of your feet and toes
- You knees will only be slightly bent
- Once your feet hit the ground, you will then immediately explode upward jumping as high as possible or onto another platform
- Step off, hit the ground, and explode up.
- Get back on top of the platform and perform this process again for 8-10 repetitions. There should be no rest in-between reps
2. Vertical Depth Jumps:
Similar to platform depth jump except, you will simply step off and jump straight up as high as you can:
3. Staircase Depth Jumps:
You will utilize a larger platform for this exercise. Stand on top of the platform, facing a set of stairs. Then step of the platform, and explode forward landing on a set of stairs. To be safe, only go as high as you can.
4. Long Depth Jumps:
This exercise is similar to a long jump except you will step off a platform, and explode forward as far as possible.
This is another great plyometric exercise for developing explosiveness in another direction. Athletes must be able to maintain multi-directional explosiveness, instead of just straight up.
5. Barrier Lateral Jumps
Similar to depth jumps, you will need some type of platform to jump over. I would recommend using a 12 inch beginners plyometric platform until you have developed greater plyometric strength.
- Start on the left or right side of whatever platform you’re using
- You will then slightly blend your knees into jumping position
- Explode sideways over the top of the box
- Tuck your knees to your chest when you’re jumping
- Once you land on the other side, immediately explode back to the starting position
- There is no rest between each jump
- Make sure that you land softly on the balls of your feet and toes on each jump
- Explode back and forth until you complete 8-10 repetitions
6. Box Lateral Jumps
This is like the previous exercise except you will begin by standing on the platform. You then drop down to the left or right, exploding back to the top, and down to the other side of the platform.
7. Lateral Shuffle on Box
Start with one leg on the platform and the other off. Using the leg that’s on the platform, you will forcefully explode upward. You will land on the other side with the opposite leg touching the platform. Repeat this motion 8-10 times back and forth without any rest.
For multiple jump plyos, you will perform many jumping movements without any rest time. You will not need any equipment for these plyometric exercises.
8. Vertical Jumps
While standing, slightly bend your knees and explode upward. Land softly, and immediately explode back up. Perform 8-10 repetitions
Once you complete your first set, you will then perform the same exact steps, except you will use only one leg. Perform 8-10 repetitions with each leg. Don’t be discouraged if it feels like you’re not getting very high.
9. Long Jumps
Find an open area. You then squat down, and explode forward. Upon landing, you will then explode forward once again. At least three jumps in a row is optimal.
Upper Body Plyometrics Exercises for Baseball
Plyometric Push Ups
These plyometric exercises are designed to build explosiveness in the upper body, and to make the traditional push-up movement much more difficult.
10. Clap Push-Up
There are several variations to this exercise. The first variation is a clap push up.
- Acquire the normal push up position
- Perform the typical negative portion of a push up
- On the positive portion, you will literally push up off the ground
- Your hands and upper body should be in the air
- Land softly, and transition right back into the negative portion
- There is no rest between each repetitions. Perform this exercise 8-10 times
11. Stability Ball Clap Push-Up
Same as the previous exercise except your feet will be balanced on a stability ball. This increases the level of difficulty.
12. One-Arm Plyo Push-Up
You will need a small medicine ball for this exercise. One hand will balance on the ball, and the other will be on the ground. Go to push-up position, and then forcefully explode upward and repeat.
For a complete guide to plyometric training, I recommend High-Powered Plyometrics by James Radcliffe.