Monday, March 24, 2008

Baseball Players' Core Strength Needs

Every baseball player needs general core strength and sport-specific core strength. About half of the power in baseball swings, throws and speed are generated by your core. So, it is essential that you stabilize and strengthen your core to endure the rigors of high level competition.

Because baseball requires many transverse (twists, turns, rotations) and frontal (lateral movements) plane motions, sport-specific core strength and power is also critical.

Progressing too fast up the core strength ladder will lead to injuries. A strong core will help you stabilize your spine, transfer power while hitting and throwing and protect your trunk while diving, sliding and jumping.

You also need a strong core to maintain a strong upright running posture.

Guidelines For Core Training

Core stabilization training progressions should follow these paths:

1. Slow to Fast
2. Known to Unknown
3. Stable to Controlled to Dynamic
4. Low Force to High Force
5. Correct Execution to Increased Intensity

The athlete can start at the highest level of core stabilization training that she or he can control.

The dimensions of core stabilization training are:

Stabilization - The core exercises at this level involve very little joint motion and are designed to provide optimum neuromuscular control. An example would be the planks, bridges, cobras and supermans.

Strength - At this level of core training, isometric exercises are replaced with dynamic, multi-planar and multi-dimensional exercises with the full range of motion. Examples would be ball crunches, back extensions, reverse crunches, medicine ball trunk rotations and oblique crunches.

Power - At this level, sport-specific core exercises are used in all 3 planes of motion. Examples would be the medicine ball throw, medicine ball rotational throw and medicine ball chops.

Exercises in the power category at performed at full speed. Therefore, if you progress too fast or perform the exercises incorrectly, you are at high risk of injury.

Adequate core strength will maximize your extremity (limbs) strength and prevent injuries during intense competition.

Part 2, Strength and Power for Baseball

Part 1, Strength and Power for Baseball

Download your FREE All-Star Baseball Power Workout Manual and improve your strength, power and explosiveness on the field!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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