By Roger A. Scott
In your preparation for spring, your offseason training program must consist of a wide array of flexibility, resistance, and movement exercises and drills in order to help develop the complete baseball player, physically. This article discusses three different exercises that you can use to help increase hip and glute strength, core and hamstring strength, and finally, lateral movement.
No. 1 – Monster Walks / Lateral Resistance
This is a lateral hip and glute (butt) resistance movement exercise. It is an excellent drill for rotational sports, such as baseball, where hip movement and strength play a key role. Any kind of a theraband or large medium to heavy rubber band will work.
How you do it: Place either just above your knee or around your ankles and slowly move from one cone to another in a 10-15 yard area. Move laterally in a semi squatted position with your knees slightly bent, keeping your feet far enough apart. Keep the repetitions equal for both sides of your body. Each 10-15 yard area, down and back is 1 set. Perform 3-4 sets total.
No. 2 – Physioball Hamstring Curls
This is a three-part progression. Laying on your back, take an air-inflated physioball and place under your ankles with your toes straight up.
- Part 1 requires you to perform an isometric hold for 15 seconds, with hips fully extended, and knees straight.
- Part 2 is 15 leg curls, moving the ball back and forth.
- Part 3 requires you to perform another isometric hold, this time with the knees bent, feet flat on the ball, and hips high off the ground.
This drill focuses on many posterior muscle groups, including the hamstrings and lower back. Perform each three-part set, 2-3 times.
No. 3 – The Star Drill
For infielders, this drill assists in the quick, fast-twitch, lateral movement in a small, contained area. It is best to use nine cones for this drill – one in the center and eight in an octagon format.
How to do it: Begin in an athletic, ready position. Always stay on the balls of your feet, ready to move. Start at the middle cone, and move laterally to an outer cone, and then back to the middle. From there, depending on the direction, you will repeat in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction, one time.
Repeat each set as many times as needed (4-6 total is best). Rest 1-2 minutes between each drill. You may add a resistance bungee around the waist, for added difficulty. Attach the bungee to a wall or have a partner assist you.
By adding these three drills to your training arsenal, you will see positive differences over a period of time. Try them two to three days per week. Think of your body as one functional working unit. It is important to have a balance of strength and movement ability. Understanding these principles will allow you to maximize your athletic ability and become the best baseball player you know to how to be.
Roger A. Scott, MS, CSCS, RSCC, is the strength and conditioning coach for the Cincinnati Reds – AA / Pensacola, Fla. If any questions regarding these or any other baseball training exercises and programs, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.