Softball Strength Training

Softball strength training develops strong athletes. Strength training is one of the must-have components for a proper fitness program- regardless of who you are. However, it becomes even more important for softball players looking to gain a competitive edge.

Softball strength training work well together for many reasons. Coaches around the world recognize the true need for a solid player who is quick, agile, and focused on his or her sport.

“There are really two goals in this program for softball: improve performance and prevent injury,” explained Coach Jim Lathrop, Purdue’s Head Strength and Conditioning Coach.

“These two goals are then incorporated into the main goal of winning championships. We work on the physical characteristics of an athlete, such as being strong, fast, quick, and agile,” he states.

While softball strength training works primarily the same as strength training for the average person, there are some key differences. These differences are based on a softball player’s specific task.

A proper softball strength training routine will involve a variety of exercises that work all of the muscle groups. That includes the arms, back, chest, core and legs.

Softball is not a sport that requires cardio endurance. A good example of cardio endurance is cross-country track. Softball requires explosive anaerobic actions such as sprinting to first base or running to make the catch.

Almost every task in softball is quick and dynamic. Batting, running, pitching, and throwing all involve the need for an all-around, but specific, softball strength training program.

While this page focuses on softball strength training, it is important to recognize the need for cardiovascular conditioning, proper nutrition and proper flexibility. Be sure that your softball strength training and fitness program involves each of those components.

Softball Strength Training Specifics

Excellent batting and throwing are commonly thought to be the result of strong arms. And that is partly true. Athletic performance will decrease with a weak upper body.

However, a more accurate assessment of the activity reveals the start of the motion is initiated in the legs. Visualize throwing the softball or stepping up to bat.

Your first reaction is a quick step forward with your foot. That movement is the beginning. The power from that step is transferred into our quads, then hips, then torso, then, chest and finally our arms.

So a proper softball strength training program should include exercises to strengthen the legs, the core and the arms!

Failing to realize where the power originates from is one of the biggest mistakes an athlete can make.

Generally a softball strength training program should be performed 2-3 times per week during the off season. Each session should include lifting at 75% of your 1RM. You should aim for 1-2 sets of 8-12 reps for each muscle group.

During the season, you will want to cut your softball strength training program back to about 1-2 days per week and work at a lower intensity. This allows you to focus on sport specific movements.

It is very important to note that before jumping into any softball strength training program, you should have built a decent fitness base.

Another helpful hint is to use free weights when possible. Free weights allow you to move along your natural ROM (range of motion). When performing your softball strength training routine, it is best to use your full ROM. Machines are limiting.

Learn more about free weights -vs- machines.

Here are some exercise ideas for
your softball strength training program:

Quadriceps- Squats, One-Legged Squats, Jump Squats

Hams & Glutes- Lunges, Explosive Lunges, Bridge on Ball.

Hip Adductors/Abductors- Lying Side Leg Raises, Ball Squeeze

Obliques- Oblique Crunch on a ball

Rectus Abdominis- Ball Crunch, 180 Ball Crunch

Erector Spinae- Plank Pose

Deltoids- Shoulder Press, Military Press, Shrugs

Pectoralis Major- Chest Fly, Chest Press

Latissimus Dorsi- Bent Over Row, Reverse Fly

Triceps- Overhead Extensions, Skull crushers

Biceps- Bicep Curl, Hammer Curl


  1. kathrin says

    i have a good idea my coach has us hold 2 pound circle weights and do circles. He would all so have us do wall sits plank sit ups. He would have a bat with a water bottle and in it that was attached to the bat and we have to roll it up and down. he would have us do scowats . He would have us to leg throw downs that is when you hold the coaches ankles and he has to try to throw your legs down as hard as he can and you had to try to keep your legs up it helps with the lower abs. He would have us do these workouts and some others in 11 stations for 45 seconds each time we definitely felt it in the morning.

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