Developing Rotational Power: The Key to Baseball Success

Baseball season is coming to an end. For those that feel there were missed opportunities to succeed this season; the key may have been missing out on untapped potential power. The youth athlete seems to focus on general strength building in the wrong manner. When lifting weights and strengh training, one thing not focused enough on is the ability to create rotational power. 

During most athletic movements, motion is occuring in multiple planes. These anatomic planes of movement are the transverse, sagittal and frontal. The sagittal plane can be expressed with a movement from front to back, such as a bicep curl, knee extension, or forward shoulder raise. The frontal plane is expressed through side to side (left to right), such as sidebends, lateral raises, or jumping jacks. As these two planes are predominately utilized in general workouts, the focus will be on the missing piece to developing rotational power, which is the transverse plane.

Through personal experience I was able to see first hand the change in my athletic abilities, as a collegiate baseball pitcher, when I added more exercises in the transverse plane. Simply looking at a batter and pitcher during an at bat, we can notice they stand perpendicular to where they hope to aim the ball following a throw/swing. To have any chance of producing some significant force behind their throw/swing the athlete must optimize their ability to rotate through the transverse plane. 

To be able to effectively produce force through the tranverse plane and deliver a pitch or swing, the athlete needs to work from the ground up to ensure adequete range of motion and stability. While the ankles and knees provide a stable base of support, the hips and trunk must provide the proper range of motion to fire through the transverse plane. This is what allows the arms to transfer that power into a swing or throw. To best accomplish these goals there needs to be a focus on the power produced by the glute muscles to rotate and the range of motion of the mid back (thoracic spine) to allow the full potential energy to be harnessed. Training rotational power with the use of medicine balls, kettle bells and dynamic workouts similar to movements produced in sport are best for developing this power. The range of motion at the thoracic spine can benefit from a good stretch and mobility program as well as the posture arch we provide here at Honsberger Physio Plus.

Always remember a good balance of varied workout types is best for producing a well rounded athlete. Strength, speed, flexibility and stability are needed in a good balance to succeed. If needing guidance our team here at Honsberger would love to be a part of your path to success.

Kulraj Shergill MScPT ATC CSCS PTS NWS

Orthopedic Rehabilitation
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