There are several elements of training that can contribute to better performance on the baseball or softball field. There is the fine-tuning of skill sets, vision training, speed & agility, reaction time, and of course strength training. When we talk about strength training for diamond sports we always emphasize the importance of core explosiveness.
There are several rotational moves that are paramount to success in baseball and softball. Sadly, I see so many young athletes trying to train core explosion with crunches. Not that I have anything in particular against crunches, but that is not training the correct energy system.
Without getting too complicated let me quickly explain what I mean by an energy system. For us to exert force or contract a muscle our body uses ATP (adenosine triphosphate). The body uses 3 different energy systems to produce that ATP. They are as follows:
- Phosphogen or ATP-PC system – Short duration & high intensity
- Allows for about 12 seconds of max effort
- Glycolytic system – Moderate duration & moderate intensity
- Oxidative system – Long duration & low intensity
I am not going to dive into the details of these, what is pertinent here is to understand that training the oxidative energy system as a baseball or fastpitch player is much less beneficial to our performance than training the Phosphogen/ATP-PC system.
The overwhelming majority of requirements placed on a baseball player throughout the course of a game are short duration, high intensity movements. Throwing a pitch, swinging a bat, sprinting to first base, running down a fly ball, diving in the 6-hole for a ground ball…each of these would access the ATP-PC energy system.
Two of the more critical movements I referred to above are of course throwing a pitch and taking a swing. Both of these moves rely heavily on core strength. In today’s world of measurement and benchmarks, there is an elevated concern around bat speed, exit speed, and arm velocity. To produce higher numbers in all of those categories you must train your core in an explosive manner and access the ATP-PC energy system.
Please understand, I am not discounting training the core with lower intensity, longer duration movements. They can still help to build overall core strength and help prevent injuries, as you will work a lot of the smaller stabilizer muscles. That is an important aspect also, however, the real opportunity for gains lies in the explosive movements.
That being the case, I have provided several different exercises that translate very well to baseball and softball specific movements.
Check out these different exercises and add them into your routines to help you increase bat speed, exit speed, and arm velocity…not to mention a chiseled core.
TAP Slam Ball Rotational Throws:
- RH Side Chest Pass
- LH Side Chest Pass
- RH Side Under
- LH Side Under
- Square to Wall Under
Med Ball Rotational Throws :
- RH Side
- LH Side
- Alternating Sides
- Triceps Rope Rotation (Wood Choppers)
- Extended Arm Controlled Rotation- RH Side
- Extended Arm Controlled Rotation- LH Side
- Extended Arm Shuffle- RH Side
- Extended Arm Shuffle- LH Side
- One Knee Isometric Core Hold – RH Side
- One Knee Isometric Core Hold – LH Side
- Rotational Landmine Press – RH side
- Rotational Landmine Press – LH side
- Landmine 180’s
- Position a bar into a landmine or securely anchor it in a corner. Load the bar to an appropriate weight.
- Raise the bar from the floor, taking it to shoulder height with both hands with your arms extended in front of you. Adopt a wide stance. This will be your starting position.
- Perform the movement by rotating the trunk and hips as you swing the weight all the way down to one side. Keep your arms extended throughout the exercise.
- Reverse the motion to swing the weight all the way to the opposite side.
Continue alternating the movement until the set is complete.