Written by Coach JT Kotowski
After writing arm care parts 1 and 2 I feel it’s time to talk about building explosive power that’s specific to baseball. The best way to do that is through medicine ball exercises.
Why Do Rotational Medicine Ball Exercises?
You may be wondering “how do medicine ball exercises relate to arm care?” The answer to that is quite simple. Even after doing our rotator cuff exercises and our stabilization routines, it is very important to start moving at maximal velocities, like what is expected on the field.
Building whole-body power through medicine ball exercises is the perfect compliment to the more gentile & direct shoulder strengthening exercises I previously discussed. Not only will these exercises aid in arm care, but they will also create a stronger all-around baseball player.
Baseball is made comprised of more rotational movements than any other sport (Eg. Throwing, Swinging) and if players are not efficient in these movements, they will tend to overuse the arm and shoulder as a means of compensating.
With medicine balls we can essentially mimic & learn the rotations performed on the field, with the benefit of adding extra resistance safely.
How to Perform Rotational Medicine Ball Exercises:
There are a plethora of good rotational exercises that can be performed with medicine balls, and they all have their place, but for simplicity we’re just going to go over my favorite, the rotational scoop toss.
Why is the rotational scoop toss my favorite? Because it is most similar to the swing of a bat, and it is easy to learn and master. Here’s how it’s done:
- Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width, about 3-4 feet away from a wall, and have the side of your body facing the wall.
- Have your arms locked out with a medicine ball (4-8 lbs preferably) in your hands just below your waist.
- Begin mimicking a swinging motion by first rocking to your back foot (loading) and then quickly turn in, pushing off of your back foot, transferring the weight forward while firing the ball into the wall.
- As you fire the ball into the wall, ensure you’re throwing underhand with locked out arms.
- You want to be close enough to the wall that you can catch the ball off the rebound, but far enough away that it doesn’t come back and hit you in the face.
What to Avoid When Doing the Rotational Scoop Toss:
- Avoid letting your arms bend or leave your body. If your arms bend you will place a lot of stress on your bicep and on the front of your shoulder. It can also place extra strain on your shoulders if your arms leave your body and get into a side arm slot. Keep your arms locked out and deliver the ball into the wall using power from your lower body transferred through your core to the medicine ball.
- Avoid using a ball that’s too heavy! Check your ego at the door, start light and master each weight before increasing in resistance.