Pitching, throwing and hitting a baseball all require core strength. Stronger core muscles will allow you to perform these movements more powerfully. Because baseball is an explosive, power-oriented sport, your training should reflect this. Perform exercises using moderate to heavy loads for low to moderate reps--from six to eight--to develop the kind of strength necessary for success in baseball.
Medicine Ball Rotational Throws
To strengthen your obliques--the muscles essential in swinging a baseball bat--stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a medicine ball in both hands. Extend your arms and raise them to shoulder level. Keeping your arms parallel to the ground and your feet firmly planted, rotate your upper body to the right. Dynamically turn to the left and release the ball, throwing it to a waiting training partner. Use your abs more that you use your arms. Catch the ball as it is returned to you and repeat the exercise. If a training partner is not available, perform this exercise by throwing the ball against a wall and catching it as it rebounds. Perform an equal number of repetitions for both sides.
Three-way Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine ball slams are a powerful exercise that will strengthen your rectus abdominis and obliques and develop explosive strength for throwing. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball in both hands. Lift the medicine ball above your head. Turn your shoulders and throw the ball down at the floor just outside your left foot. Catch the ball as it rebounds and proceed to throw the ball directly between your feet. Catch the ball again, turn your shoulders and throw the ball down just outside your right foot. Continue this pattern until your set is complete.
Cable Wood Chops
Cable wood chops mimic the action you would use if you were swinging an axe to chop down a tree and strengthens your entire core complex. Stand beside an adjustable exercise cable set to shoulder-height. With your feet shoulder-width apart, grasp the cable handle in both hands. With your arms straight, aligned with the middle of your chest and your hands at shoulder height, rotate your upper body through 180 degrees. Your hands should follow a diagonal path and finish up at hip-weight. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. As you become more familiar with the exercise, incorporate a sideways lunging action so that you incorporate your arms, core and legs into the movement.
This exercise will integrate your upper body, lower body and core, and will carry over to throwing and pitching. Attach a strong rubber exercise band to a waist-high anchor. Stand with your back to the anchor and hold the handle of the band in your left hand. Make sure the cable runs beneath your arm. Starting with your feet together and your left hand close to your chest, take a large lunging step forward with your right leg, and simultaneously press your left arm out in front of you. Keep your abs braced, and do not allow your spine to twist or bend as you perform this exercise. Use your right arm for balance if necessary. Push off your front leg and return to the starting position and then perform another rep. When your set is complete, change hands and repeat the exercise using your opposite arm and leg. This exercise can also be performed using an adjustable cable machine.
- "High-Performance Sports Conditioning"; Bill Faran; 2001
- "Complete Conditioning for Baseball"; Steve Tamborra; 2007
- "Stronger Abs and Back"; Dean and Greg Brittenham; 1997