10 Exercises Your Softball Athlete Should Be Doing

Single Leg Landmine RDL

Balance is a form of strength. Being able to complete a unilateral hinge movement while maintaining proper scapula stability will strengthen components necessary for a softball athlete to minimize the risk of injury in their sport. These unilateral movements will also expose to the practitioner or coach just how one-side dominated the athlete is from continuously swingining and hitting from one side.

Landmine Lunge to Power Press

The athlete will begin by kneeling on the ground with both legs at 90/90. The knee in contact with the ground should be on the same side as the arm pressing the landmine. Begin lifting the back knee off of the ground approximately two inches and engaging the glute and midline so that there is a straight line of force from the knee to the shoulder. Then in one motion, simultaneously thrust the landmine forward into an overhead position while achieving a strong standing posture. The athlete should work to achieve knee extension and elbow extension at the same time.

MB Shuffle Throw

The athlete starts the exercise with a light medicine ball by their back hip. Next, while using the lateral momentum garnered from shuffling off of the back side, the athlete drives their back hip forward and throws the medicine ball into the wall. This drill should be used to reinforce backside hip drive opposed to a throwing action with the arms.

Goblet Lateral Lunge

Lateral power and force are a huge component to staying healthy and successful in the sport of softball. In order to maintain hip health with this exercise, complete the lateral lunge to an elevated box height position. The box should be at a height that the athlete can sink her hips below parallel while keeping their chest upright. The goblet weight helps with balancing and ensures the chest stays upright. The weight should not be so heavy that the upper back rounds forward.

Single Arm Renegade Row

The exercise starts with both feet wide in a push-up plank position. The dumbbell should be directly in line with the shoulder. While maintaining a flat back and engaged midline, the athlete should bring the DB up in a row position while keeping the scapula retracted. When rowing during this exercise, it is crucial that the athlete should be working to keep their midline engaged and avoiding hip rotation or shifting.

Split Squat Anti-Rotation Hold with Press

The purpose of this exercise is to resist torque in order to create torque throughout the midline. In a split squat stance with the right knee 2-3 inches above the ground, the athlete will bring the band out in front of their chest with both arms extended. Tension on the band should be enough so that the lateral midline musculature is activating in order to hold the torso and hips centered. Be sure that the tension is not too much so that the shoulders and arms are overactive during this exercise. Repeat this exercise on both sides.

Banded Deadbug

The purpose of this drill is to brace the pelvis and ribcage positioning in order to ensure a bullet-proof midline. This exercise will be instrumental in protecting the lower back from injury with the violent rotations that take place during softball. While trying to keep the base of the lower back in contact with the ground, straighten the legs while maintaining tension on the band with the arms. Once the athlete begins to arch their back, even just slightly, it is important to cue the athlete to return back to their original position. Progress in this exercise should be observed as the distance the athlete can extend their legs without eleviating tension in their mdiline.

High Hang Power Clean

The purpose of this exercise is to teach triple extension of the hip, knee, and ankle. It is critical in sport and athletics to demand eccentric strength capabilities when catching/absorbing weight in order to teach the athlete how to manipulate their lower body to generate power through their upper body. The athlete starts with a barbell in the power hang position. While simultaneously and rapidly extending their hip, knee, and ankles they will thrust their weight upward in a straight line. Once the weight has reached the pinnacle of its height the athlete will then drop underneath the load and catch the barbell in a front rack position in the same power position that they originally launched the weight from. It is important to pick an appropriate load that will tax the athlete enough needed to achieve triple extension. The athlete should avoid pulling the weight upward with their arms and instead launch the weight with their lower half. Additionally, the athlete should be catching the weight in a strong position and not being overmatched by the momentum of the load when landing. 

Banded Sumo KB Deadlift

The purpose of this exercise is to maintain hip health while developing hip extension power.  The athlete starts with a kettlebell on the ground between their legs with a band around their feet and through the handle of the kettlebell. While simultaneously and rapidly extending their hips and knees, they will thrust their hips forward while pulling the banded KB straight up in the air toward their hip. It is important to pick an appropriate load of both the kettlebell and band that will tax the athlete enough to need to achieve rapid hip extension without compromising movement velocity. 

OH Bulgarian Lunge with Pause

This is perhaps one of the most demanding yet most effective exercises an athlete can perform. Sport is predicated on achieving true separation from the front hip to the back shoulder. By requiring the athlete to stabilize overhead during a rear-foot elevated split squat stance, the athlete is stressing the system to stabilize and recruit musculature responsible for this stretch shortening mechanism. The kettlebell or dumbell should be directly in line with the shoulder in the overhead position with the shoulder externally rotated and stable. The athlete will then descend to the bottom position of the Bulgarian lunge while keeping their chest upright and hips engaged in order to ensure proper posture. After a slight pause, the athlete will then extending their hip and drive out of the bottom returning to their original start position.

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