By Brian Smith (@FORTY3TRAINING)

ATP – Generated by the body and is the main unit of energy through the three energy systems.

  • Phosphagen
  • Glycolytic
  • Oxidative

Energy Systems

Duration Intensity Energy system(s)
0-6 seconds Very intense Phosphagen
6-30 seconds Intense Phosphagen and glycolytic
30 seconds-2 minutes Intense Glycolytic
2-3 minutes Moderate Glycolytic
>3 minutes Light Oxidative

Featured Image -- 461

The above information should be the guide for baseball coaches to design their team training. In a typical baseball game the action can vary according to the play. The average collegiate player can run to first base in 4 seconds, therefore most plays last >10-15 seconds. Looking at the chart above the energy system that is used throughout the game would primarily be the phosphagen system.

The phosphagen and glycolytic systems are anaerobic, meaning without oxygen. The oxidative system is aerobic and powers lower-intensity activities. All three systems may be active at any given time, but the intensity and duration of activity determines which system is most dominant.

The discussion that has been evolving almost as long as the sport of baseball has been how to train the body in order to be durable for a complete season as well as ensuring that the athlete has the quickness to react to plays, move around the bases as fast as possible, and of course pitchers to throw the ball with maximum velocity (with control).

Throughout my career as a player we trained with multiple disciplines to incorporate quick muscle fibers as well as slow twitch muscle fibers in order to maintain durability throughout the course of a double header that can last 6 hours or more.

Explosive training incorporating all exercises, sprints, swings, and throwing mechanics is the ultimate goal for baseball players. A player who can swing the bat at a high velocity will be able to create a higher exit velocity, creating more “power”. A pitcher who can create torque at a high velocity can throw at a higher speed. All of the actions in baseball are included in the phosphagen system which is very intense > 6 seconds.

The variable in the baseball training experiments, discussion, and overall conditioning is the athlete. When you see a baseball team at any level you will typically see many different body types. As a 11year old kid I was over-weight and couldn’t run a mile. I was approximately 5 foot tall and weighed over 170 lbs. With that being said I was able to lead the team in every hitting category, as well as be a leader behind the plate. Throwing the ball at a high velocity has always been the strong part of my game. Throughout my high school years I was 6 foot tall and approximately 230 lbs.

I added that information to include the oxidative training that was needed for a player like me as I entered higher level of baseball. In order for me to maximize my bat speed, throwing velocity, and 60 yard time. I needed to train >3 minutes with light intensity which would improve my oxidative energy system in order for me to lose weight. As I entered professional baseball I weighed 212 lbs. and was in the best shape of my life.

Now as a coach, and trainer I understand that not all players are created equal. Each player regardless of hand eye coordination, arm strength, and speed should develop a custom training plan in order to maximize their baseball ability. The key to this is developing a year round program that will enable players to focus on different energy systems throughout the year in order to improve their game. Pre-season training will be focused on “game like” training. In-season training can be determined by position, and overall health of the player; some players feel good after distance runs on “off days” (remember each player has a custom plan). Post-season training should be focused on recovering from the grind of the season. This will be different according to position specific customized program. The off-season program will be designed with physical goals, and the physical demands for each player.





The amount of games, positional demands, and nutrition is the key to designing the appropriate program for in season. A great article from Courtney Hudson for softball / baseball players can be found at




The demands of a player during the season will determine their post-season conditioning program. The focus of post-season will be to get the body ready with rest, and appropriate training to build each appropriate energy system.



The focus during the off-season should be to build an overall

Strong body. An example of off-season baseball conditioning:



  • Walk a mile = improve mobility.


  1. Baseball is full of these very short explosive movements. The overwhelming majority of requirements placed on a baseball player throughout the course of a game are short duration, high-intensity movements. Throwing a pitch, swinging a bat, sprinting to first base, running down a fly ball, diving in the 6-hole for a ground ball etc. The main goal of a baseball conditioning program is to repeat those explosive movements throughout the game. There are usually three different types of conditioning: speed work, agility, and plyometrics. They all have different uses and should be trained differently.

    I have read many articles about baseball exercises and energy systems but this article is the best one I found online. It’s such a great article! It includes all the necessary guidelines to be a good player. What else do you need?

  2. Pitching is as a lot about technique as force. You need to use your legs, your core, your fingers, your wrist and extra with the suitable timing.

    Any one who is comfortably a gifted athelite possibly competent to throw a ball with nice pace. But to do it with good control and without ruining your arm, athleticism will not be enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *