Baseball Toolbox

Resources for Baseball Coaches

Overhead Lifts for Baseball

“Should be baseball players lift overhead?” Some say yes,  some say never. Well…Here is what an expert has to say about this topic.

This post is provided by ONEighty Athletics

By Brain Neal

Coach Neal is the head of Mississippi State University Olympic Sports Strength and Conditioning. He is Certified with the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), the USAW (United States Weightlifting), and CSCCA (Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association), he coordinates strength and conditioning at Mississippi State for baseball. He is also the co-founder of ONEighty Athletics (a sports performance program)

I still get questions every day about “Should baseball players lift overhead”.  And the answer I think parents and coaches want to hear is “No. Absolutely not. Never on God’s green earth should baseball players do anything overhead.”

But here’s the reality…

Look at Dallas Keuchel’s extension at ball release and how high his hand gets (creating tilt). You could look all over MLB and find this exact image with most “over the top” or “3 quarters” MLB Pitchers. But to get to that position, obviously, you body must be able to manipulate itself. To get an upwardly rotated scap the muscles must move the scap into those positions (repeatedly), and your body must have the mobility and stability to get there.

In order to get in these positions while pitching, you HAVE to get in these positions while training. I’m not saying you need to do 3×10 of military press but unlocking the scap to create upward rotation (no more back and down, please!) is a good thing.

The scap is made to move along the rib cage and create movement of the arm. So here are some exercises we do get overhead.

The YouTube videos below have sound, so please make sure that your speakers are turned on and that you have access to the site. Note that some schools block access to YouTube


Landmine Press

Prone Y’s

Side Lying Windmill

Wall Slide


Try mixing in some of these with your athletes (not all in one day!). I gave you some strength, some mobility, some stability, and some more “bang for your buck” exercises for you to sprinkle in next time you’re looking for some exercises.