One of the best ways to see dramatic improvements in your game as a baseball player is training with drills for rotational power.
That’s why today we’re talking about the best exercises to get you hitting harder and throwing faster in your next upcoming season.
Recently I gave you guys my athlete’s guide to in-season training – check that out for my in-depth protocols to maintaining your strength and power throughout your season.
When it’s off-season, some of my favorite ballistic movements for baseball are a rotational toss or a single arm broad toss. These allow you get the entire trunk involved to work on creating rotational forces.
Today I’ll take you through learning and training the phases of this movement starting with the most regressed version and work up the most advanced movement:
Doing this allows an athlete to fully elevate their threshold for rotational power.
The first drill is a half kneeling, single leg drill.
Starting with the most regressed version, we basically eliminate the lower body and isolate the torso.
This allows us to fully engage with the rotation.
- Start in a half-kneeling position facing a wall (choose whatever foot feels natural in front).
- Hold a medicine ball (underhand) to your other side.
- With long arms, twist back bringing the med ball to the pocket or as far back as your range allows.
- Power up through the entire trunk and let the hands fly releasing the med ball at the wall.
This creates a lot of torque which is needed for rotational power.
Single Arm Variation
Another regressed option is a single arm variation where we’re still kneeling but use a “push” movement.
Here we’re actually still able to rotate but are now performing more of a push than a twist.
There’s a reason I take time to differentiate between a push and a twist in baseball training. One movement is a horizontal push paired with a rotation while the other is a complete rotational force.
Both are so relevant to baseball since they are major keys to throwing and hitting respectively.
- Start in the same half-kneeling position facing the wall.
- Hold a medicine ball with a hand on the back of the other on the bottom for support. (The back hand is the one doing the push).
- Load up twisting into that same side as far back as your range allows.
- Simultaneously release from the twist and push, sending the med ball at the wall.
From here I’m having the athlete turn sideways (with their side to the wall). This allows for a bit of extra stretch through the trunk.
- Begin with your half kneeling position.
- Start with the knee that’s further from the wall as the one out in front.
- Holding the med ball at the pocket, release out of the twist so you throw it sideways at the wall.
- Begin with the knee that’s closer to the wall as the one out in front.
- Holding the med ball at the pocket, release out of the twist.
- This time you will throw the med ball slightly higher up to clear your leg.
By adding this sideways rotation drill, the athlete replicates the same kind of separation which occurs in the torso as when hitting or throwing.
There’s a secret I’ve heard about this from lots of pro ball guys. Today I’ll share it with you.
The guys I work with have told me that when they’re hitting or throwing, the biggest thing is to create space or a separation in the body. What they mean by this is to bring your upper body in one direction, while keeping your lower body in the other direction.
This way, as you turn into a hit or a throw, your lower body anchors while the upper body twists and releases. This torque creates a whip-like effect within the trunk region and generates a lot of power.
- Begin standing up with your side turned to the wall.
- In a static stance, load up into the hip with the medicine ball.
- As you begin to turn, explode from the pocket and launch the med ball at the wall.
*To do the push variation of this standing drill, begin in the same start position. Loading up the back hip again, you’ll have one hand behind, and the other on the side for support. Twist through the core and push the ball towards the wall.
Now, in order to get the lower body a little more involved we can add a reactionary component.
For this one, I’m having an athlete “react” or “rebound” off the wall by jumping from one foot to the other then immediately letting go and launching the med ball.
By transferring weight from one leg to another, we have to decelerate in order to absorb the force. This allows for a seamless transition into your lateral toss producing more force and power.
The final progression we’ll go over is more dynamic, where I like to have the athlete generate momentum throughout the exercise.
Adding in some speed leading up to the toss, increases the actual velocity of the movement making for a faster drill.
- Begin standing a few paces away, facing the wall.
- Start picking up some speed moving in towards the wall, then step and turn so that your side is to the wall.
- Transition into your twist and throw with your side toss.
This drill elevates the threshold of your rotational training.
Think of it this way, you want your rotational training to happen at a similar speed in which your game-time plays would be occurring.
Increasing the total velocity of this drill, will help you transfer over that power when you go for a hit or a throw. The same thing applies for any rotational push movements.
DRILLS FOR ROTATIONAL POWER
By starting at the most regressed position, you’re able to strip the movement down and build back up.
In your next off-season, start to introduce these ballistic power movements. Spend time in the half-kneeling position first so you can initially eliminate the lower body and isolate the core.
Once you feel more powerful there, you can move to the standing drills to incorporate a full rotation of the upper and lower body (remember the separation tip from our pro guys).
Finally you can add momentum to start bringing in more speed and elevate your drills so they feel like game-time.
Want more baseball drills and workouts like this?
You should check out my Baseball Power Program.
I’ll share with you the very same approach I take with my professional ball players:
- Steal more bags
- Throw faster
- Hit with more power
- Become more agile on the field
And a whole lot more.
You can read more about it here: