Baseball Core Workout For Strength and Stability
This is a guest post from Rob Smith, owner of 500CalorieFitness.com, a site that promotes the benefits of intermittent fasting and regular exercise as part of a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.
If you’re a serious ball player then you need a great baseball core workout as a part of your strength training program. There’s no two ways about it.
Taking time to build the muscles around your abdomen and lower back will improve your core strength and stability, which will ultimately help you pitch faster, hit harder and sprint quicker.
In this article we’ll look at:
- Why Core Exercises For Baseball Are Important
- The Best Baseball Core Workouts
- The Benefits of Good Balance and a Strong Core
Core Exercises For Baseball - Why Are They Important?
Baseball conditioning drills at the amateur level are often too focused on cardio exercises, and long distance runs. This type of workout doesn’t replicate the types of movements you’ll encounter during the game, and will do little to improve your performance.
Focusing instead on different exercises that build strength will have a much greater impact on all elements of your game.
A strong core will improve your balance, and as Ryan has said before when it comes to your batting stance, "balance is your best friend."
Core exercises are also really important for injury prevention.
According to ESPN, straining the oblique abdominal muscles is one of the most common and problematic injuries that pitchers sustain.
A good baseball core workout will help to ensure that you don’t have to sit out the important games through injury.
The Best Baseball Core Workout
Change up your workout with a selection of the exercises below and you’ll notice the difference in no time.
Bat Speed Exercises
- Rotational Push Up – The simple rotational push up is a good way to build upper body strength and core stability. Complete a push up as normal, then once your arms are fully outstretched rotate your torso and extend one arm up towards the sky. Return to the normal position and then do the same on the other side.
- Oblique Crunches – Lie on your side with your knees on top of each other and slightly bent. Perform the “crunch” motion as you would normally, but focusing on the muscles down the side of your torso. Hold for a sec at the top of the crunch before slowly coming back down. See here for more info.
- Cable Rotation With Physioball – Cable rotations are a good way of mimicking bat motion. See the video below for perfect form:
Medicine Ball Exercises For Pitchers
Medicine ball exercises are very effective at building core strength and are a great way to mimic the motions involved in pitching, but with increased resistance. This increased resistance is the key to building the strength that will boost your speed.
This video shows a selection of different exercises with the medicine ball for pitchers:
Balance Drills For Baseball
Balance Board exercises are an excellent way to improve your core strength, your mental focus and of course your balance.
Once you’ve come to grips with the basics of using a board you can start to introduce exercises that will help to improve your game. For example:
- Catching - Stand on the board and as someone to throw the ball to you. Try to catch the ball and throw it back without losing your balance.
- Rotating - Stand in a balanced position, facing forward with your knees slightly bent, and then slowly rotate at your hips, keeping your legs in place but twisting your torso.
- Hitting - Once you are confident on the board, you can start to practice hitting while balanced on it.
There is no need for a purpose built baseball balance board, so you can experiment with the different types of boards and see what works for you. Many of the manufacturers talk specifically about how their products can be used for baseball training including:
This specific type of core and balance training also has the added benefit of improving your hand eye coordination, which is essential for both batting and fielding.
Pictured: The StrongBoard Balance
The Benefits Of Core Training
- Improves your rotational power - The twisting motion that is so important to both pitching and hitting is improved by having strong abdominal muscles that allow you to explosively turn your hips.
- Improves power transfer - A strong core enables you to efficiently transfer power from one part of your body to another. This is particularly important if you want to improve your batting average, but it will also give you great acceleration and sprint speed.
There are several important benefits of the baseball core workout that will also help you in your everyday life:
- Prevents back pain - According to spine-health.com “strong back and abdominal muscles can help heal most types of back pain, especially the most common form of back pain caused by soft tissue injury or back muscle strain.” Proactively building these muscles before you sustain an injury will help to prevent back pain altogether. Even a slight niggling pain can damage your confidence and have a serious impact on your performance.
- Improves Posture - Web MD states that “The best way to improve your posture is to focus on exercises that strengthen your core”. This has the added benefit of taking with pressure off your spine, further reducing any risk of injury. Good posture also allows you to stand tall, with confidence, which can give you an important psychological benefit in any sporting encounter.
- Flattens stomach - Strong core muscles are a key part of achieving the flat stomach that most people strive for in their exercise regime. Looking and feeling good can provide a real boost to self-confidence, which you can carry into your game.
Over To You...
Many of these exercises can be done regularly in the comfort of your own home, and including them in your fitness program will benefit your everyday life, not just your baseball performance.
If you want to take your game to the next level you need to look beyond the traditional strength and conditioning exercises. Including a baseball core workout in your regime, will help you build the balance, stability and explosive power you need to propel you to success.