Activating your core in your training for baseball and softball is simple. All you need is two excellent exercises in your arsenal. The first core-engaging exercise is the common plank.
“When we plank, I like a little space in between the hands, and the feet are about hip-width apart,” says Frank Velasquez, director of sports performance for Allegheny Health Network.
When you’re planking, make sure that your head and eyes are facing down toward the ground. This helps to keep your neck in line with your mid and lower back for a long spine and more linear profile. “[Make sure your] hips aren’t too high up,” adds Velasquez. “We don’t want this position where it’s a pike, or we don’t want a saggy back, so it’s a nice, neutral position.”
Make sure to breathe during your plank, too. Holding your breath can put unwanted strain on your core muscles.
To add some variety to your front plank, Velasquez recommends trying a three-point plank. To do this, lift one leg roughly six inches off the ground and hold it for about 10 seconds. Lower back down to a four-point plank before switching to the other leg and repeating.
“Then, to go even a step further, we do a two-point plank,” Velasquez adds. To perform a two-point plank, you’ll simultaneously lift opposite limbs, such as your right leg and left arm. Velasquez notes that you shouldn’t aim to hold this position for any amount of time, “Just a good pause and then switch.”
These planks can help intensify your stability work and keep your training interesting. In all, your common front plank should take about one minute to complete.
Moving on, your next core-engaging exercise should be your side plank. “Make sure the elbow is under the shoulder. [Your] hips, knees and ankles are stacked on top of each other,” Velasquez says on how to position yourself.
Once you’re comfortable, lift your hips up and hold a linear position for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep your eyes fixated forward. To increase the side plank’s difficulty, try adding a leg abduction to your stance. If you have one available, hold an exercise ball between your feet for increased stability work.
Use these Pro Tips to help your core geared up for a full day of work.