5 Baseball Exercises That Increase Hitting and Throwing Power

These 5 exercises will help you unlock your sports potential through rotational power and strength.

Sports are played in all three planes of motion, so why do most athletes train in only one direction? Probably because the popular weight room exercises like the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift are performed in the same plane of motion. If you want to tap into your full athletic potential, training in the transverse plane for rotational power and strength is key.

Look at sports like baseball or hockey, rotational power is pivotal for bat speed and shot velocity. Even sports like wrestling and football have a rotational strength aspect as well. For example, when defensive linemen must shed a block they may move through the transverse plane to throw their opponent off balance.

Here are 5 exercises to help you unlock your sports potential through rotational power and strength.

Anti-rotation Landmine Rainbow

Before you can express strength and power through a movement you must be able to control or resist the movement. The primary roll of the core musculature is to resist movement in the spine—in this case rotation. The landmine anti-rotation exercise is a great starting point as an anti-rotation exercise.

The exercise uses a barbell either placed in a landmine attachment or in the corner of a wall. The exercise is performed by holding the weighted end of the barbell in your hands together. Keeping your arms straight you slowly lower the weight to one side then bring it back up to the top and repeat on the other side.

It is important in this exercise to remember the goal is to resist movement through the trunk as the arms move through the arc.

Check out a video of this exercise.

Pallof Press

The Pallof Press is another anti-rotation exercise that can help athletes learn to resist forces in the transverse plane.

The Pallof Press can be used with a cable or resistance band. Here are some keys to remember when performing the Pallof Press.

  • Assume an athletic position, feet shoulder-width apart and shoulders back.
  • Hold cable handle or end of band near the sternum.
  • Step out until there is some resistance from the cable or bands.
  • In a controlled manner, press out and fully extend arms. Hold for 2-3 seconds and return to starting position.

Check out the following demo of the exercise.

Landmine Rotational Press

Rotational strength is more than just "anti-movement." Now it is time for more dynamic movements to integrate the entire body into the transverse plane.

For true rotational power, everything from your feet to your shoulders must transfer the force out typically through the hands. Think about a baseball swing or a punch. The end result is the force being transmitted out through the hands.

The Landmine Rotational Press is a great tool for helping integrate the entire body into the movement. This move can be used as either a strength move or you can speed things up to build rotational power.

Here are a few keys to remember when performing the exercise.

  • Start the movement from the feet.
  • Imagine squashing a bug with the back foot.
  • The end of the exercise should resemble a split stance.

Check out the following demo of the exercise.

Med Ball Scoop Side Toss

Med Balls are one of the best tools to train power and especially in the transverse plane. Their freedom of motion make them a great tool. The Scoop Side Toss and the exercise I will show next are great beginner's exercises and can be progressed further by increasing the dynamic nature of the toss. It is important for the movement to come up from the feet, through the hips and out the arms. The lumbar area should move very little.

Check out the following demo of the exercise:

Med Ball Shot Put

I like the Med Ball Shot Put for baseball players especially. Again, focus on the movement starting at the feet. A good cue with this exercise is the squash the bug with the back leg.

This exercise can be progressed by adding a figure 8 motion to cue proper transfer of weight, or you can even use a step and throw to help mimic push-off.

Check out the beginner version of this exercise:

Here is Chicago White Sox Pitcher Chris Beck implementing a step-behind Med Ball Shot Put.