Editor’s Note: Texas Ranger assistant hitting coach and former Major Leaguer Callix Crabbe shows how strength training gave him a better chance to succeed in the game. Here, Crabbe provides three strength exercises that you should be doing right now to bolster your performance.
Standing at 5 feet 7 inches, I knew I had no choice but to increase my body’s performance capabilities if I wanted to perform at a high level. At a young age I committed to the process of gaining physical strength and it yielded great results.
Due to this level of commitment toward my physical performance, I excelled above the level of expectation others had for me. Before retiring in 2012, I began to gain a much better understanding for human movement and how it related to the baseball swing. As the years moved on, I gained a passion for player performance and the impacts proper physical performance training had on success.
This led me down a path for a deeper understanding on how the body functions in a ballistic environment (repeated swings or throws going high speed). Understanding the requirements of a hitter in the batter’s box or on the mound is paramount for any baseball instructor. I believe this is a simple but an effective start to understanding how a baseball player should train and begin the process toward better performance. A player must have the ability to Dissociate (Separate), Recruit (Create), and Transfer (Utilize) and thus we must train those three phases.
Below are videos of all three with a power statement. Be sure to get with a certified trainer. I’m an instructor who understands these needs, but cannot provide proper programming.
The Dead lift
The deadlift is a multi-joint, resistance movement used to develop maximal concentric strength without the aid of an eccentric counter-movement (pre-stretch). It is the act of lifting a weight off the ground that is “dead” (not moving).
See the video workout here
The biggest benefit of broad jump training is that it improves the reaction of fast-twitch muscle fibers throughout your body. Like other plyometric exercises, effective broad jumps require your leg and core muscles to contract very quickly so you can generate maximal force with each leap. The broad jump is primarily used to measure your short-area quickness and burst. You jump from a standing position. You must land balanced. You cannot move forward or backward after landing. It’s a measure of lower-body balance and strength.
See the video workout
Med Ball Rotational Throws
The Med Ball Rotational Throw is an explosive exercise that trains you to transfer energy via your core. You’re raising the ball overhead while getting triple extension from the ankle, knees and hips, and controlling it with your abs, then forcefully contracting your abs while keeping a rigid torso and slamming the ball down. It’s essentially a total-body movement with a lot of emphasis on bracing your core.
See the video workout here
The weight room is your friend
Baseball is a strength/power sport and strength and power must be trained in the weight room. Like most competitive sports, baseball has its share of aches, pains and injuries. Some of these occur in the posterior chain and are the result of forceful rotational movements of the hip and back and deficiencies in flexibility, strength and mobility. Many of these problems can be corrected or avoided by increasing strength in the muscles of the posterior chain.
Coaches and parents who understand the physical and performance demands of players will better position the athlete for success. Baseball is a sport that requires mobility and stability and as I mentioned above be sure to get with a certified trainer who can provide proper programming and lead to higher performance output.
Remember: Intelligence tops being smart.
Callix Crabbe is an assistant hitting coach with the Texas Rangers. A former Major League Baseball second baseman, he was selected in the 2007 Rule 5 Draft by the San Diego Padres from the Milwaukee Brewers.