Baseball is a sport that requires a lot of strength, agility, and explosive movement. However, those traits aren’t innate in the great players we see on TV and in the field. Instead, they had to work their way to these skills, one exercise at a time.
In this article, JustBats.com looks at the best exercises pro baseball players recommend that got the greats where they are today.
These are the five (5) exercises that have been beneficial to Pro Baseball players and, thus, recommended by trainers and professionals.
Forward Lunge Elbow to Instep
The forward lunge elbow to instep is an exercise preferred by Carl Crawford of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The reasons?
- Crawford is a speedster, meaning he has to keep his core tight and make sure he has a full range of motion in his muscles.
- This exercise also helps to generate power in sprints by working on flexibility as well as pillar strength.
To start this exercise, lead with your right foot and take on a lunge position. Then, while you contract your glutes, you are going to want to lower your hips until your back knee is around 2 inches off the ground. Finally, you are going to bring your right elbow to the instep of your foot. It is important that for this part, you don’t let your front knee move past your toes. After that, you just switch to a lunge leading with the left foot and repeat.
This exercise is helpful to both strength and flexibility. To reap its benefits in full, you should complete it in sets of 10 to 15 yards with 2 sets per workout.
Backward Lunge with a Twist
This exercise is favored for two major reasons:
- It protects your lower back from injury by strengthening your hip flexors.
- This, in turn, increases your rotational ability as well.
To do this, you will start by stepping into a lunge with your left leg in the back. Then, lean back a bit and reach up with your left arm. At the same time, twist your torso over your right leg. Repeat this ten times while you are lunged on your left leg and then repeat it ten times on that side.
Med Ball Speed Ladder Drill
This next workout is one courtesy of Jimmy Rollins, who has graced three teams in the past 18 years including the Philadelphia Phillies from 2000 to 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015, and the Chicago White Sox since 2016.
Rollins’ career is dependent on quick moves and precision and he needs to prepare his body for those sorts of movements and he does so with the med ball speed ladder drill. For this drill - as the name suggests - you will need both a ladder and a med ball so it does take some set up.
To start, you are going to put your left foot in the first box of the ladder with your right foot outside the box. You are going to hold the med ball in front of you. Then, lower into fielding position, touching the med ball to the ground gently. You are then going to shuffle your feet quickly, changing your position so that your right foot is in the second box and your left foot is outside the box to the left. Once again, you are going to lower into fielding position as you gently touch the med ball to the ground.
This process is to be repeated down the length of the ladder and backward back up the length of the ladder. Going forwards and backwards down the ladder once counts as a single rep. For a full workout, repeat this with three repetitions.
This exercise is particularly good for your glutes and hips - areas that are crucial when you are playing baseball.
To complete this exercise, you start by lifting your right foot and squatting on just your left leg. Now, pull your right leg to your chest with your right hand under your right knee and your left under your right ankle. Pull your right leg tight against your chest and squeeze your left glute then step forward onto your right foot. Repeat these steps with your left foot. For a full set, do 10 reps on your left and right feet respectively.
Chair Kettlebell Press
Joey Votto is the first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds and a fan of our next exercise. The major reasons are:
- Votto needs stability in what he does and he needs to be able to transfer energy starting in his feet to explode through his whole body, allowing for amazing lateral motion on the field.
- To keep this sort of full body power at peak performance, Votto uses a chair kettlebell press exercise during the offseason.
As the name suggests, you will need some equipment. Luckily, all you need is a kettlebell and you’re good to go. In a pinch, a dumbbell will work just as well. Step one of this exercise is to grab the kettlebell or dumbbell with both your hands and hold it square in front of your shoulders. Then, lower your hips and back into about a quarter squat position. Keep that squat position in place and push the dumbbell or kettlebell away from your chest and up. Finally, return the kettlebell or dumbbell to the position you were originally holding it in. This equals one repetition.
To complete this exercise as Votto does, you are going to want to complete 2 sets of the chair kettlebell press. Each set should contain 8 repetitions of the exercise to give you a true workout during your training.
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