In baseball, hip mobility is key, whether in the form of rotation at the plate or full extension off the mound. Improving the effectiveness of these movements is important for enhancing bat speed as well as increasing pitching velocity.
Yet during the off-season, most baseball players’ time is spent in the weight room and working on mechanics. With that in mind, here are three hip mobility exercises baseball players can squeeze in during their training. They are demonstrated here by Tampa Bay Rays first round pick Richie Shaffer.
Use these exercises as a dynamic warm-up before a lower-body workout. Or, use them as a recovery method on off days or at the end of a workout. Because they are very low intensity, these hip mobility exercises can be performed at any time.
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Simple yet effective, Hurdle Overs/Unders activate hip flexors and internal rotators (over the hurdle) and improve squat depth (sliding under the hurdle). The hurdle itself serves as a marker for how high your foot has to go in order to pass over each time. When sliding under the hurdle, you are forced to squat as low as possible.
To perform Hurdle Overs, set your hurdle to a height that corresponds to the middle of your thigh. Standing beside the hurdle, step over it with your closest leg. As that leg clears the hurdle and contacts the floor, step your trailing leg over in the same manner. Perform this exercise moving left, then perform it moving right.
For Hurdle Unders, adjust the height of the hurdle to just above your waist. Standing beside the hurdle, place your closest foot under the hurdle while gradually squatting down. Squat low enough to pass under the hurdle and slide through to the other side. Perform this exercise moving left, then right.
Hip Wall Slides
Hip Wall Slides require no equipment, which makes them a great tool for activating your hip external rotators, abductors and extensors, all while improving range of motion.
To perform a Hip Wall Slide, lean with your back against a wall. Start with your right leg. Turn your right foot parallel to the wall and rotate your hip so that the outside of your right knee is in contact with the wall. From this starting position, simply raise your knee up to a position that is parallel with the floor. Your back and the left glute should remain in constant contact with the wall. Perform this exercise on both legs.
Lateral Lunge with Overhead Side Bend
This mobility exercise is great for loosening the groin. The adductors/groin can often be injury-plagued muscles, and this exercise allows them to remain active, loose, and injury-free.
To perform a Lateral Lunge with Overhead Side Bend, stand with your feet wide apart holding a baseball bat overhead. Lunge to the left.. Bend your left knee and push your hips back as if you’re sitting into a chair while maintaining the overhead position with the baseball bat. Your right leg stays perfectly straight.
Add the side bend to progress the activation of your groin. Keeping your arms straight and rotating your hips toward the right leg will greatly increase the stretch placed on the groin. Perform this exercise on both legs.
Check out the video player above for additional mobility drills for baseball players, including Side-Lying Windmill and Adductor Mobilization.
Check out more mobility drills for baseball players.