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Softball Conditioning – Core Training is the Secret to More Power

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By Coach Marc

ABDOMINAL TRAINING (aka core training)!

We know that the trunk plays an important role in softball.

More specifically, the trunk and the muscles of the abdominal region are responsible for (1) generating rotational power and (2) stabilizing the trunk which necessary to transfer  a maximum amount of power from the lower body muscles to  the upper body (the trunk links the two).

The power generated by the trunk and the lower body muscles  (transmitted to the upper body through a stable trunk) are  vital for actions such hitting, pitching, and throwing.

As you can see, it’s very important for a softball player to  have a stable, strong, and powerful abdominal region not only  to be successful on the field but also to prevent injuries.

This is why proper abdominal training is so important.

However, too many softball players don’t train their abdominal  region properly. Too often, most of their abdominal training  consists of leg raises and floor-based crunches and sit-ups.

While these exercises help develop a “six-pack” and good-looking abs, they do very little to increase performance and prevent injuries.

The abdominal region is often referred to as the “core”.

However, the “core” is more than just the rectus abdominis  (the “six-pack” muscle).

According to many exercise specialists, the core can be defined as the lower trunk musculature. The major muscles of the  lower trunk musculature are the rectus abdominis (“six-pack”  muscle), the external and internal obliques, the transversus abdominis (deep internal abdominal muscle) and the erector spinae (lower back muscle). absbig.jpg

Now, the problem with leg raises and floor-based crunches  and sit-ups is that they mostly target one muscle: the rectus abdominis (“six-pack” muscle) and while it may help make you feel good about yourself by developing good-looking abs, this muscle doesn’t contribute to the generation of rotational power or the stabilization of the trunk  (transmission of power from the lower to the upper body).

In other words, it is a pretty useless muscle in softball. So,  if your routine consists mostly of leg raises and floor-based  crunches and sit-ups, you are pretty much shooting yourself  in the foot!

Most of the influence in abdominal training comes from  the bodybuilding field where the only goal is to make  the abdominal muscles that you can see (mainly the “six-pack”  muscle) bigger, more defined and good-looking. They really  don’t care about performance but we do and that’s why we need  to do things differently.

To train your core properly, you must integrate into your  routine exercises that will (a) involved many muscles of the  core and (b) force the trunk to stabilize. The key is to  target deeper abdominal muscles such as the transversus  abdominis, a deep internal abdominal muscle that plays a  key role in stabilizing the trunk and transferring power from  the lower to the upper body.

Any exercise that is not a leg raise or a floor-based crunch or sit-up (or a close variation of it) is likely to accomplish these two goals.

Throw away those old-school and ineffective ab exercises and start using innovative, highly effective core training exercises.

 

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