Having strong rotational power can add to your hitting profile. It can help you put more power behind the ball with each swing. Frank Velasquez, director of sports performance for Allegheny Health Network, recommends seven rotational strength exercises for your hitting-improvement training program. Each exercise requires the use of a medicine ball. Vasquez recommends breaking them up into two sets to keep you moving throughout.
Your first set of rotational power exercises will include chest passes, front rotations and squat presses. For chest passes, face the wall in an athletic stance with your medicine ball about chest height. Toss the ball at the wall and retrieve the rebound in one fluid motion, repeating this for 20 tosses. Velasquez notes to use your total body, including your legs, as you try to throw the ball through the wall.
From your chest passes, you’ll move on to front rotations. Staying in the same athletic stance facing the wall, start with the medicine ball at your side. Swing your arms like a pendulum from your hips up to get the ball to bounce and land on your other side for an easy catch and switch. Velasquez says to go from hip to hip to achieve a proper core rotation as you drive the ball.
After 20 front rotations, your next rotational power exercise should be squat presses. Place your hands underneath your medicine ball, squat and explode upward, driving the ball straight up. Release at the top and let the ball drop in front of you. Don’t try to catch the falling medicine ball. Repeat this squat press for 20 repetitions. Once completed, feel free to grab a drink, catch your breath or hop into another hitting training activity before rounding out your rotational power drills with your final four exercises.
Your last round of rotational power exercises begins with ball slams. Take the medicine ball straight up over your head and drive it down hard into the ground. Use your entire body as you complete 20 reps. “It’s important you don’t take that ball behind your head,” Velasquez says. “You’re taking it straight up.”
Next up on your list is your hitter’s throw. Line up facing the wall in your batter’s stance as if you’re ready to swing for the fences. With your back hand behind the ball, load up as if the pitcher has just delivered a pitch. From here, push the ball toward the wall to simulate your swinging, driving with your legs and hips. Be sure to complete your necessary reps on both sides, too. While you might only swing on one side, Velasquez recommends completing the hitter’s throw exercise on both sides to promote bilateral symmetry in your strength training.
After your hitter’s throw, Velasquez suggests transitioning right into reverse throws. With your back facing the wall, follow the same pendulum-style throwing motion from your hip as before. Drive the medicine ball into the wall. Rotate your hips in conjunction with your rebound. Pause in the middle before throwing to the other side. This backward rotation can be a great way to work your obliques, according to Velasquez.
The final rotational power exercise for your hitting-improvement training program will be your sledgehammer throw. This is also called a sledgehammer slam. Gripping the medicine ball with both hands, make a big circle with your arms as you take the ball over your head and throw it down to the ground. If done properly, it should look like you’re swinging a sledgehammer. Be sure to alternate sides with each slam. Bring the ball up and around on your right, followed by up and around on your left.
In addition to rotational power, there are other specialty strength areas that you can focus on for success at the plate, such as your wrist, forearm and grip. Use these tips and give your swing a boost in the right direction.