A lot of softball players try to get out of conditioning by claiming that the sport is all about mechanics. While there is some element of truth to this, core strength can make a huge difference for your softball performance. A strong core allows for greater transfer of power from the lower to upper body — and ultimately, to the softball pitched in your direction. Core training exercises involve far more than a mere set of sit-ups every time you visit the gym. The ideal core training routine features a variety of exercises that use several muscles and force the trunk area to stabilize. The focus should be not just on the abdominals, but also on the back, hips, and groin. A regular training regimen focused on these areas can quickly lead to an improved swing, so be sure to hit up the gym and complete these essential exercises during the off-season.
Core Training Exercises for Softball Players
Front Planks with a Bosu Ball
Front planks alone are excellent for the core, but to add the stabilization element that is so important for the game of softball, find creative ways to incorporate a Bosu ball. There are many Bosu variations available, but to begin, stabilize either your hands or your feet on the Bosu ball. As your core strength improves, you can add a second Bosu ball so that both your upper and lower body are forced to stabilize at the same time.
Push-ups are typically thought of as a chest and arm exercise, but they also are ideal for working the core. As with planks, push-ups can incorporate Bosu and medicine balls for an extra stabilization challenge. For a challenging core session, alternate ten or twenty push-ups with thirty seconds of holding a forearm plank.
Work the internal and external obliques, the transverse abdominus, and the rectus abdominus all at once with Russian twists. Begin by sitting with your feet flat on the ground and your upper body slightly elevated so that it creates a V shape. Extend your arms out in front of you, and, if you desire an additional challenge, hold a dumbbell in your hands as you twist your upper body side to side. When you twist your torso, your goal should be to get your arms as close to parallel with the floor as possible.
Softball players often neglect to build lower back strength. One of the quickest ways to address this problem area is with the Superman exercise, which involves resting on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched. Lift both your arms and legs two inches off the ground and hold for at least a count of four before returning to a rest position.
The more you develop your core muscles, the better your swing will look when it’s time to return to the softball field. Aim to work your core at least three times a week for tangible results at bat, on the mound, and in the field.