If you really want to turn heads in baseball, you’ve either got to be a power hitter, throw a scorching fastball or blaze around the basepath. Hitting a ball 450 feet with big-time bat speed, or lighting up a radar gun and pumping 90-plus mph would do the trick.
What do launching bombs and throwing gas have in common? Both require tremendous amounts of rotational power.
Your regular workout won’t necessarily improve your rotational power, unless it targets the correct planes of movement. Throwing a baseball and swinging a bat are frontal- and transverse-plane-dominant movements. Exercises that primarily engage the sagittal plane have little carryover. A big-time vertical jump or the ability to Squat 500 pounds won’t necessarily transfer over to increased rotational power.
To help you visualize movements in different planes, here are a few exercises that are plane-specific (keep in mind most exercises operate in multiple planes).
- Sagittal: Vertical jump
- Frontal: Heidens
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- Transverse: Anything rotational in nature, like a Russian Twist.
Unfortunately, many baseball training programs fail to get out of the sagittal plane, relying instead on traditional movements like the Squat, Deadlift, Vertical Jump, etc. But baseball players must also learn to develop force and velocity in the frontal and transverse planes.
Throwing a medicine ball is a great way to develop transverse and frontal power. Here are four great routines to get you started:
Rotational Med Ball Scoop Toss (6-8 lbs)
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Drop-Step Rotational Med Ball Scoop Toss (6-8 lbs)
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Rotational Med Ball Throw (8-10 lbs)
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Step Behind Rotational Med Ball Throw (8-10 lbs)
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When putting these throws into your program, stick to the suggested weights. You want the movements to closely resemble your hitting and throwing motions. Otherwise you violate the principle of specificity.
It’s a good idea to perform throws (choose one variation) three times a week for 3 sets of 6-10 reps per side during the off-season. Once you enter your competitive season, you can cut the throws from your program.
Lehman, Graeme, Eric J. Drinkwater, and David G. Behm. “Correlation of Throwing Velocity to the Results of Lower-Body Field Tests in Male College Baseball Players.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27.4 (2013): 902-08.