Every time baseball or softball players swing a bat or throw a ball, they're generating tremendous force in their lower body and transferring that force to their upper body via their core. If the core is weak, this force can easily cause rib cage, abdominal and lower back injuries.
Prevent such common injuries this season with a solid core strength workout. Try the routine below, developed specifically to strengthen the abdominal and lower-back muscles that baseball and softball players use every day for throwing and batting. Perform it two to three times per week at the end of your strength workout.
The Plank is an essential exercise for strengthening the transverse abdominis, a deep core muscle essential for stabilizing the trunk. Increase the challenge by placing your feet on a physioball or in TRX straps.
- Assume plank position
- Roll onto left elbow to assume side plank position
- Return to plank position
- Roll onto right elbow to assume side plank position
Sets/Reps: 2x10 seconds each position
Med Ball Russian Twists
This exercise strengthens the oblique muscles, which power the rotational component of your throw and swing. If these muscles are weak, you'll lose power and be much more susceptible to injury.
- Sit on ground with knees bent and heels just off floor
- Holding med ball at chest, rotate left until ball touches floor outside left hip
- Rotate right until ball touches floor outside right hip
- Repeat in controlled manner for specified time
Sets/Duration: 2x30-60 seconds
Side Lunge with Med Ball Twist
This exercise combines a lower-body and core movement to improve the connection between those two areas of the body. The better they work together, the more power you will have on your throws and swings. You'll also have more stability, helping you avoid unwanted movements that can place excessive strain your body.
- Assume athletic position, holding 8- to 10-pound med ball with arms extended at chest level
- Step right and lower into side lunge with knee behind toes; simultaneously rotate med ball to right
- Drive up out of side lunge and step to right with left leg to assume athletic position
- Rotate med ball to center
- Repeat for specified reps; perform set in opposite direction
Sets/Reps: 2x10 each direction
Med Ball Side Chops
This exercise brings your core training full circle by incorporating the upper body, closely matching a throw or swing. Infielders will find this exercise particularly useful, because it simulates catching a ball overhead and applying a tag to a baserunner.
- Assume athletic position holding 8- to 10-pound med ball with arms extended overhead
- Rise up onto toes
- Bend at hips and knees and slam ball at left ankle
- Catch med ball, set up and repeat on right side
- Continue in alternating fashion for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 2x5 each side
Looking for an even tougher workout? Try adding these baseball core exercises to your training.
Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness director at the Greater Morristown YMCA in Cedar Knolls, N.J.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock