It is essential for baseball players to train their cores in respect to their sport. Baseball players must consider their sport for sport-specific rotational movement, time of year, history of injury, and training readiness.
Baseball players need a strong core in all planes of motion, resisting trunk extension, stabilizing the trunk, and rotating powerfully. All of these movements work together. The more a baseball player is able to control and stabilize the core, the more power the player can generate through the hips and shoulders.
I would define the “core” as any musculature from the shoulders to the glutes. With that said, I will be listing exercises that would not be executed with a barbell or dumbbell. These movements are going to be utilizing exercise bands, bumper or iron plates, stability balls, and med balls.
I recommend doing exercises 1-6 as part of the early off-season, fall ball, winter, and in-season training regimen. These are great to do in the weight room as an auxiliary exercise built into the program with a superset or circuit.
I recommend exercises 7-10 as part of the early off-season, fall ball, and winter training regimen. As you are competing in games, I would take a lot of med ball work out, as you are getting a lot more regular live at-bats.
However, I do think med ball work is great for warm-ups prior to practice. Also, if you happen to be on a bye week or have significant downtime. Med ball work can supplement to maintain rotational power.
In this article, I will be going over the 10 best core exercises for baseball players that will help you stay healthy, build your core, hit harder, and throw farther.
Table of Contents
- Core Exercises For Baseball
- 1. Weighted Front Plank
- 2. Side Plank With Disruption
- 3. Med Ball Push Up Hold With Disruption
- 4. Stability Ball Stir The Pot
- 5. Anti-Rotational Pallof Press
- 6. Dragon Flags
- 7. Around-The-World Med Ball Slam
- 8. Split-Stance Med Ball Side Slam
- 9. Med Ball Shot Put
- 10. Med Ball Rotational Toss Into Wall
- Final Thoughts
Core Exercises For Baseball
1. Weighted Front Plank
The weighted plank is one of the best exercises for training the core and stabilizing the trunk. Adding an external load to the exercise is a great way to progressively overload and push your core to the next level.
Lie face down on the ground. Pull your toes in so you’re on the tips of your shoes. Your arms should go straight out. Make fists with your hands and make sure your elbow is under the shoulder. Your weight should be on your forearms. Have a training partner place a bumper or iron plater on your mid-back. Create tension in the abdomen and brace!
Regular bodyweight planks are great exercises as well to do as warm-ups before lifting or field sessions.
2. Side Plank With Disruption
The side plank is a great core exercise for training trunk stability and engages the obliques more than the traditional front plank. The reason this is so important is because of the way we hit and throw the baseball, we know having strong stabilizing obliques and trunks will help us stay healthy, hit hard, and throw far.
Lie on your side. Stack the ankles and make a straight line with your body from head to toe. Bridge the hips up and engage the glutes. Brace abdominal muscles and engage the upper back. Your weight should be mostly on your down forearm.
With the up arm, you have 2 choices. You can put your hand on your hip or straight up in the air. A training partner will be the one disturbing your side plank by pushing or pulling your up arm, making you brace and stay strong in your side plank. It is important here that the training partner does not give too much or too little resistance.
Regular bodyweight side planks are great exercises as well to do as warm-ups before lifting or field sessions.
3. Med Ball Push Up Hold With Disruption
This is a great exercise to train shoulder and core stability. This movement will help engage cross-body tension, shoulder, and upper body stability, while also still training overall body tension and abdominal strength.
Grab a firm med ball (one that has some cushion). Assume a push-up position with one hand on the med ball. Have a training partner hit, tap, and move the med ball. This will challenge you to stabilize and resist the disruption. It is important here that the training partner does not give too much or too little resistance.
Regular bodyweight push-up holds are great exercises as well to do as warm-ups before lifting or field sessions.
4. Stability Ball Stir The Pot
Stability ball stir the pots are great for training the core in all planes. Because you are moving the ball around, you will be stabilizing the core while moving at the shoulder simultaneously. This is great for baseball players that need strong cores while the upper body moves.
Grab a stability ball (A diameter of 55 or 65 works best). Assume a plank position with your forearms on the stability ball. Engage the core and upper back. Maintain a rigid, neutral spine, and brace. From here, move the forearms and make small circles clockwise and counterclockwise.
5. Anti-Rotational Pallof Press
Anti-rotational and bracing movements are very important for baseball players. This will help mitigate overuse injuries and train the core to be strong and resilient. This in turn helps you hit hard, throw far, and do so without getting hurt because of overuse.
Grab an exercise band that provides about 30 pounds of tension. Wrap it around a pole, exercise rack, or perform with a partner. Get into a nice athletic position, slight bend of the knee, hips back.
With good tension on the band, grab the band with two fists interlocked, and press from the breastplate straight out. The band will be pulling you toward the rack. Resist this rotation by bracing the abdominals and upper body. Slowly press out and bring it back to the start.
Anti-rotational Pallof presses are great exercises as well to do as warm-ups before lifting or field sessions.
6. Dragon Flags
An awesome core exercise for training the abdominal to brace and engage the hip flexors, the dragon flag is a movement many baseball players can benefit from. The better a lifter gets at this movement, the more slowly and more controlled they can perform it. This is a great movement for baseball players that need to train their cores and hips in coordination.
Lying down on a bench. Grab the bench behind your head with both hands. Brace the abdominals and extend the legs straight out. From here, lift your hips off the bench, and raise your legs to the ceiling. Slowly and with control, lower your legs back to the starting position. Relax and reengage each rep. Focus on control and quality here.
Similar exercises like 6-inch series, flutter kicks, and scissor kicks are great as well to do for warm-ups before lifting or field sessions.
7. Around-The-World Med Ball Slam
The around-the-world med ball slam and other med ball slam variations do a great job training rapid force development utilizing the whole body. The reason I like this variation the most for baseball is because of the movement at the shoulder. This variation is great for baseball players looking to develop a powerful core.
Standing tall, hold your med ball in front of you. Lift the med ball, rotate it around your head, and slam it to the ground as hard as you can. You will notice your opposite foot (opposite to the side you slam on) pivot similar to the way it would in the batter’s box. Catch the ball and repeat on the other side. Alternate sides until you are done with your set.
8. Split-Stance Med Ball Side Slam
I love the split-stance variation of the slam because it is more sport specific to throwing and hitting.
Take a split stance and try to keep your feet pointed straight ahead. If your right foot is out front, take the med ball overhead and slam it as hard as you can down and to the left. You can catch the ball and repeat. If you have a wall or partner, this will be helpful to get multiple reps in a row without resetting your feet. Try to maintain balance and core stability as you slam the ball.
9. Med Ball Shot Put
This is one of my favorite movements for baseball players because of how specific it is to the sport itself. The med ball shot put helps train rotary power very specific to what we see on the field.
Take a med ball and hold it with both hands. Load the med ball high near the chin. Take a step and throw the ball (or put the ball) as hard as you can into the wall. If you are throwing with your right arm, step with the left foot. Do all your reps on one side and then switch.
Focus on the trunk and hips delivering the med ball into the wall. You should not feel any strain on the shoulder here. You are loading the scapula but you are not “pulling down” down on the shoulder. The main counter-movement would be in the trunk and hips loading prior to the throw.
10. Med Ball Rotational Toss Into Wall
This is by far my favorite movement for baseball players. This is as specific as you can get to the rotary power needed in baseball and therefore very important.
Take a stance similar to the one you would have in the batter’s box. Hold the med ball with open palms. Gain momentum with a counter movement and load the back hip. From here, rotate and toss the ball as hard as you can into the wall. The emphasis here is on the core and hips delivering that med ball to the wall. Do not “throw” the ball.
I would not focus on catching the ball off the wall. Each repetition should be fast and explosive. You’re essentially trying to hit a home run. Take pride in breaking some med balls here!
I must reiterate here:
Med ball work should be a priority in the off-season. When regular at-bats are low, look to gain power with those med ball movements.
When you are in the regular-season focus on those planks, side planks, and anti-rotational movements. These movements will help you stay healthy through the grueling season.
The core is incredibly important for baseball performance in throwing and hitting. It is also important to consider your core work in conjunction with your regular at-bats, throwing program, and game schedule.
A healthy core routine that consists of stabilization, anti-rotation, and med ball power work is important and can take your game to the next level!