How to Incorporate The “Plank” to Increase Baseball Core Strength
The plank is a core exercise which utilizes an isometric hold to force the abdominal muscles to support the weight of the rest of the body. The plank is an excellent exercise to increase baseball core strength. Baseball players will benefit by being familiar with the plank and how to maintain proper form during the plank. This will allow athletes to perform multiple movements with the arms and legs to further challenge and improve core strength.
To perform a traditional plank athletes will position themselves on the ground with the chest facing the ground. Athletes will place their elbows and forearms on the ground and raise the hips until the body is in a straight line with only the forearms and toes touching the ground. While performing the core exercise it is important athletes maintain their back, hips, and legs in a straight line and do not let the hips sink down. Athletes need to keep their hips parallel to the ground and not allow them to rotate to the side. Keeping the hips pointed at the ground is especially important when performing more challenging movements with the arms or legs.
How Core Exercises Affect Motion In the Transverse (rotational) Plane
There are three planes of human motion:
1) Sagittal, consists of motions like sit-ups or back extensions
2) Frontal, motions such as the lateral raise
3) and the Transverse Plane, which includes motions like swinging a baseball bat. The transverse plane of human motion is important to baseball players and understanding it will help athletes increase baseball core strength.
The transverse plane can be thought of as the rotational plane. It involves any rotational movements made by the body. This relates directly to core exercises since the abdominals play a large part in rotating the body. Adding core exercises to a fitness program will help athletes improve the power they are able to produce while performing rotational movements.
Rotational movements are particularly important in baseball. Batters perform a rotational movement every time they swing at a ball and pitchers and fielders perform rotational movements on every throw. By incorporating core exercises into training, baseball players will be able to increase throwing velocity and accuracy as well as improve fielding and making contact while batting. Increased throwing accuracy and the ability to make contact with the ball while batting results from the stabilizing effect increased baseball core strength can have on an athletes ability to control their body.
Best Ab Combination To Increase Baseball Core Strength
The Kbands Dynamic Trio is made up of three core exercises designed to increase baseball core strength. Resistance is utilized during all three core exercises, so before beginning the core exercises, baseball players will attach a set of Kbands just above the knees.
The first core exercise is the Single Arm Raise in a Wide Footed Position. To begin baseball players will assume a good plank position slightly widening the distance between their feet. Begin by raising and extending the right arm out in front of the body. Once the arm is extended hold in place for 8-10 seconds. The same movement and hold will be executed on the left side of the body for the same duration of time. Baseball players need to be sure the hips do not rotate to one side but stay pointed at the ground while performing the hold during this core exercise. Athletes will force greater stabilization through the abs allowing the athlete to increase baseball core strength by not allowing the hips to rotate.
The second core exercise in the Kbands Dynamic Trio is the Wide Resisted Leg Raise. During this core exercise baseball players will remain in the plank position keeping the distance between the feet. Athletes will raise the right leg and foot up, bring them to the outside of the body, and hold. To optimize the core exercise to increase baseball core strength athletes should hold the leg for 8-10 seconds before immediately rotating and holding with the opposite leg. Be sure the hips remain square to the ground. Do not let them rotate to one side during the core exercise.
The final core exercise in the Kbands Dynamic Trio is the Pike Leg Extension. This core exercise requires the most concentration. Instead of performing a hold baseball players will be performing a dynamic movement with the legs to increase baseball core strength. Baseball players will begin in the same plank position; however arms will be extended and locked out, as in the upward phase of a pushup. After slightly raising the hips into the air, baseball players will take the right knee and push through the resistance toward the left elbow. Be sure the knee gets as close to the elbow as possible, while maintaining good body control. Once the knee has been taken to the elbow athletes will, in a controlled movement, extend the leg back and take the raised leg to a flat position. The core exercise will be performed for 8-10 repetitions per leg to increase baseball core strength.
All of the core exercises should be performed simultaneously to complete one set. In order to increase their baseball core strength, baseball players need to focus on form and body position (particularly the hips) while performing the core exercises. These core exercises can be utilized by athletes of any age or skill level. For younger baseball players 2-3 sets of the core exercise should be performed, older or stronger baseball player should perform 5-6 sets of the Kbands Dynamic Trio. Be sure proper rest of 45-90 seconds is given between sets to allow recovery and full effort while performing the core exercise.
When To Utilize the Kbands Dynamic Trio In Training
During a training session there are three optimal times to execute these core exercises. First, baseball players can perform the core exercises at the beginning of a training session to help prepare the core for the training session. Second, baseball players can wait and execute the core exercises at the end of training. This will really challenge their abdominal strength and increase baseball core strength. Third, baseball players may execute the core exercises while rotating with other teammates while they are performing hitting drills or other low intensity, highly technical training.