Core Exercises Unique to Baseball and Softball

by Developing the Core
Kinetic Select May 2022

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This excerpt from Developing the Core explains core exercises unique to baseball and softball.

The following is an exclusive excerpt from the book Developing the Core, published by Human Kinetics. All text and images provided by Human Kinetics.

For pitchers, supplementary exercises to maximize power might include one-arm throws that alternate in a two-to-one ratio. Baseball pitchers would alternate between a 7-ounce ball and a standard 5-ounce baseball; softball pitchers would do the same with the weight of the heavy and standard softballs varying according to the level and type of play. A pitcher could perform 3 × 10 maximal effort throws with the heavier ball into a net, with 60 seconds of rest between sets, then perform 1 × 15 maximal effort throws with the standard ball into a net or to a partner. Hitters can perform 15 total sets of 10 bat swings (five sets each with a heavy, light, and standard bat), using first an overweight (heavy) bat, then an underweight (light) bat, and finally a normal-weight (standard) bat. For example, a college baseball player who normally uses a 30-ounce bat would take 1 × 10 swings with a 31-ounce bat, 1 × 10 swings with a 29-ounce bat, and then 1 × 10 swings with a standard 30-ounce baseball bat, resting for 90 seconds between sets. The player would repeat this sequence four more times, either as dry swings performed in the weight room (not hitting a ball) or as batting practice swings performed at the field. Lead tape can be added to the sweet spot of a standard baseball or softball bat to make it heavier. Baseball hitters can use a lighter softball bat for the underweight bat. After two weeks, progress the sequence by increasing the weight of the heavy bat and reducing the weight of the light bat (the college baseball player in our example would progress to 32-ounce, 28-ounce, and 30-ounce swings). After two more weeks, progress the sequence by further increasing the weight of the heavy bat and reducing the weight of the light bat (the player in our example would progress to 33-ounce, 27-ounce, and 30-ounce swings). Players would continue to take 15 total sets of 10 swings, five sets with each weighted bat. Weights should never differ by more than 12 percent of the player’s standard weighted bat. For example, a player who normally uses a 30-ounce bat should not use a bat heavier than 34 ounces or lighter than 26 ounces.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the world’s leading sport conditioning organization, offers its unrivaled expertise in a book perfect for any athlete seeking to strengthen the core and improve athletic performance. Featuring 11 ready-to-use sport-specific programs, Developing the Core provides more than 50 of the most effective exercises along with science-based assessments to help athletes understand their individual needs. The book is available in bookstores everywhere, as well as online at the NSCA Store.

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