Training sessions shouldn’t go from zero to 60 miles per hour in an instant. Dedicating some of your workout to activating key muscles can help your training. A great area to start with is your glutes.
Frank Velasquez, director of sports performance for Allegheny Health Network, says getting your glutes turned on and ready to train is vital in order to keep your hips and knees safe during intense activity. There are a few quick exercises you can perform before your workout to get your glutes activated.
The first glute activation exercise is what Velasquez calls the “glute clam.” Begin this exercise on your side with your hip on the ground. Bend your knees together with one foot on top of the other and rest your upper body on your forearm with your elbow under your shoulder. Lift your top knee toward the ceiling while keeping your bottom knee on the ground, like a clamshell. You can also perform this exercise with a resistance band around your knees for an added challenge. Velasquez suggests completing eight to 10 repetitions of this glute clam exercise.
As you get stronger over time, Velasquez notes you can include a second phase to your glute clam workout. According to Velasquez, “lift [your] hips. So now we’re getting some scapular stability, some core stability, as well as the glute activation. So, it’s all working in unison as it would on the field.” For this phase two of your glute clam, perform eight to 10 repetitions.
Your next glute activation drill for baseball and softball training will be a side plank with leg abduction. Start, again, by lying on your side with your forearm propping up your upper body. Keep your elbow directly under your shoulder. Your ankles, knees and hips should all be stacked in line. From this position, raise your hips and get into a side plank stance.
“Once [you’re] stable there, do a leg lift, or what we call a leg abduction, up toward the ceiling,” Velasquez says. Once you raise your leg, pause at the top of your abduction, a couple of feet off the ground. Then, bring your leg back to your starting position in a controlled motion. Velasquez notes to keep your foot parallel to the floor instead of pointing your toes toward the ceiling.
Repeat this training exercise for eight to 10 repetitions.
Your glutes aren’t the only vital area that could benefit from activation. Targeting your core and your scapulas can help keep your athletic profile in premier shape for your intense baseball and softball training routine.