Developing explosive rotational power is critical for the two of the most valuable skills in baseball—bat speed and throwing power. Both of these movements require a powerful rotation of the hips and core to transfer power from the lower body up to the arms. Try throwing a ball or swinging a bat without rotating your hips and core—the ball won't go very far.
One of the best ways to improve rotational power is with medicine ball rotational exercises that engage the same muscles as the two skills. Each movement should begin with the lower body generating power, transferring it through the core and redirecting it to the med ball with maximum force.
When starting, perform Rotational Med Ball Throws with a two kilogram med ball (about four and a half pounds) to produce maximum power. As you make power gains, work up to a three kilogram med ball (about six and a half pounds).
In the off-season, these five exercises can be performed three times per week for maximum effect. As the season approaches and your throwing and hitting volume increases, drop it to two days per week.
To optimize power gains, perform each exercise for 3-4 sets of 3-8 reps following your warm-up.
Rotational Recoiled Throw
Benefits: Builds rotational power with loaded hips (similar to a swing)
Rotational Scoop Toss
Benefits: Improves transfer of power from lower to upper body
Step Behind Med Ball Throw*
*Note: Only perform in the off-season
Benefits: Improves rotational power with a motion similar to throwing
Rotational Figure 8 Throw
Benefits: Improves rotational power while transferring weight from the rear to front foot, thus increasing bat speed
"Hot Feet" Med Ball Throw
Benefits: Simulates getting into position to field a ball for improved quick throws
Joe Meglio is a strength and conditioning coach at the Underground Strength Gym in Edison, N.J. Mentored by one of the brightest minds in the strength and conditioning industry, Zach Even-Esh, Meglio has worked with athletes at the high school, college and professional level. He specializes in training baseball players. Besides being a strength coach, Meglio competed in his first powerlifting meet in 2010, setting the New Jersey state record for Squat, Deadlift and total in his weight class and division. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in May 2011, following his final season as captain of the baseball team. For more information, please go to MeglioFitness.com.