Core Training Techniques and Exercises YOU SHOULD Be Doing

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Toronto Blue Jays Outfielder, Nick Sinay performs a Pallof Hold

Baseball is a sport where you need to possess an adequate amount of core strength, rotational power, and core stability to be successful. If you look at most professional baseball players, they posses an above average amount of each. However, the majority of younger baseball players don’t know how to train their core properly to reach certain levels. I see this with younger athletes who are performing high-rep ground base abdominal circuits (crunch variations, sit-ups etc.) in hopes of developing a strong, stable, and more powerful core.

What is the role of the core?

The number one role of the core musculature is to protect and stabilize the spine while the extremities are moving. Knowing that, flexing and extending with the latest crunch variation is not the answer if your goal is to develop maximum strength, power, and stability in your core.

Before I get into my favorite exercises there’s two important things you need to be doing properly to reap the benefits of these exercises: Breathing and Bracing. Let’s start with breathing. When you breathe diaphragmatically (deep in your stomach) you’re strengthening and engaging all the muscles of the inner core. To breathe diaphragmatically, you should be taking a big inhale through your nose and expanding your diaphragm three-dimensionally, filling up your stomach and low back with air. Your stomach should rise before your chest. Breathing properly, lays the foundation for everything we do both in and out of the weight room. I’m only scratching the surface here with proper breathing mechanics. If you would like to learn more about proper breathing mechanics, ways to incorporate breathing techniques into you workouts, etc. send me an email: SimonesBaseballTraining@gmail.com

The next thing you need to be doing correctly is bracing. Proper bracing involves tensing your midsection to make it extremely rigid. For example, if you’re standing in front of me and I try to go and punch you in the stomach you’re going to tense up and almost “squeeze” your abs. When you’re squeezing your abs in this scenario you are bracing. Bracing is so important because it’s involved in pretty much every exercise we do. However, some exercises require a more intense brace than others. If I’m doing a 500 pound squat, it’s obviously going to require much more tension than a plank. This is why squatting and deadlifting are tremendous exercises to develop TRUE core strength!

Now that I went over some foundational core training principles, let’s countdown my favorite exercises for developing strength, stability, and power in the core!

  1. Plank Variations – (Anti-Extension)
Toronto Blue Jays Outfielder, Nick Sinay performs “Stir The Pot” Plank Agitations

Beginner: Basic Plank
Intermediate: Stir The Pot – CLICK HERE to Watch Video of this Exercise
Advanced: RKC Plank

Where in my workout should I perform this exercise? At the end of your workout

How many sets and reps should I perform?
Basic Plank – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 2-4 sets x 30 sec. to 1 min. hold 
Stir the Pot  – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 2-4 sets x 30 sec. to 1 min. 
RKC Plank – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 2-3 sets x 3-6 reps each rep equals 5-10 sec of tension followed by 5-10 sec relaxed. 

3. Pallof Variations (Anti-Rotation) 

Toronto Blue Jays Outfielder, Nick Sinay performs a Pallof Press

Beginner: Pallof Press – CLICK HERE to Watch Video of this Exercise
Intermediate: Pallof Hold – CLICK HERE to Watch Video of this Exercise
Advanced: Anti-Rotation Alphabet

Where in my workout should I perform this exercise? At the end of your workout

How many sets and reps should I perform?
Pallof Press – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 2-4 sets x 10-20 reps each side
Pallof Hold – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 2-3 sets x 30 sec. to 1 min. hold each side
Anti-Rotation Alphabet – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 2 sets x Entire Alphabet  (A-Z) each side

  1. Rotational Medicine Ball Variations 
Toronto Blue Jays Outfielder, Nick Sinay performs a Medicine Ball Rotational Scoop Toss

Beginner: Russian Twist* – CLICK HERE to Watch Video of this Exercise
Intermediate: Medicine Ball Rotational Scoop Toss – CLICK HERE to Watch Video of this Exercise
Advanced: Tornado Ball Variations

Where in my workout should I perform this exercise? At the beginning of your workout before strength training. 
*Russian Twist can be performed at the end of your workout 

How many sets and reps should I perform?

Russian Twist – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 3-4 sets x 10-20 reps each side 
Medicine Ball Rotational Scoop Toss – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 3-4 sets x 6 reps each side 
Tornado Ball Variations – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 4-6 sets x 5-10 sec w/maximum recovery after each set

  1. Loaded Carry’s
Toronto Blue Jays Outfielder, Nick Sinay Performs Imperfect Farmer Carries

Beginner: Farmer Carries
Intermediate & Advanced: Off-Set Carries/Imperfect Farmer Carries/“Stop and Go” Farmer Carries

Where in my workout should I perform this exercise? At the end of your workout. Farmer Carries should be performed towards the end of your weekly training cycle as this exercise becomes very taxing on your grip. You also want to make sure you have between 1-2 days off from hitting after you perform farmer carries as you don’t want the exercise to takeaway from your swing/mechanics. 

How many sets and reps should I perform?

Farmer Carry – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 3-4 sets x 20-60 total yards covered in one set
Imperfect Farmer Carry/Off-Set Carries – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 3-4 sets x 10-20 yards covered w/each arm, each set.
“Stop and Go” Farmer Carries – Example Set & Rep Scheme: 3 sets x 30 sec total time with random vocal cues by coach to which the athlete must react (Stop, or Go)

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