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Softball Conditioning – Core Training is the Secret to More Power


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.


Comments on Softball Conditioning – Core Training is the Secret to More Power »

September 18, 2008

rick @ 2:23 pm

looking for a 20min core strengthening routine for 10 and 11 year old girls select softball team,what do you suggest
thank you

September 19, 2008

Marc Dagenais @ 4:51 pm

Check the following links:


You have a whole set there!!


[…] A couple of months ago, I wrote about how core training is the secret to more power. […]

[…] there are several core exercises to choose from, your exercises should have twisting movements. Softball Conditioning – Core Training is the Secret to More Power | Softball Performance Blog __________________ Coach Lia Softball Peak Performance Coach https://www.softballperformance.com […]

March 23, 2010

Coach Jason @ 11:42 am

I have to disagree a bit here in reference to situps or leg raises not doing much for performance. I study weight lifting and baseball/softball and I can tell you that doing situps or leg raises isn’t a waste of time. Weighted situps, leg raises, cable crunches, and many more help with performance more than you think. Take a look at elitefts.com. These guys are record power lifters and these movements are incorporated into their routine.

If you think you don’t need a strong core to squat, deadlift, or bench then you’re crazy. A strong core is essential in any sport you play, especially powerlifting/bodybuilding.

May 26, 2010

Evelena navajo @ 2:13 pm

i wish i had the strength to be as fast i could i come from a lattle town called grants new mexico. i want to be the first native american femalt ever to make it to the pro’s. in order for me to do that i have to work my butt off even harder. i wish there was a couch out there to help me acjieve my goal.

June 3, 2010

Tasha Howell @ 10:23 am

I realy like how you explained things step by step.
I do have a few questions would it hurt to do the
excercise and do stit ups
What im trying to ask is doy uo think it will build more muscles
to do both??(:

June 4, 2010

Marc Dagenais @ 6:00 am

You can do sit-ups, leg raises, etc. They will not hurt and may help, but they are not optimal for softball. That is all. They will train the rectus abdominis and the hip flexors but they are not challenging the other core muscles the way they should be challenged for softball.

Anything on swiss ball (aka physioball or med ball) is usually a step ahead of these exercises.

Al Tucci @ 11:39 pm

Virtually all comments mention what not to do, with the exception of the comment by Coach Jordyn. Marc, can you be specific about the exercises that build up one’s core?

June 5, 2010

Marc Dagenais @ 5:35 pm

I posted it above but study this series…


This is part 1 (theory) but look up part 2 through 5.


June 16, 2010

Paula @ 7:06 am

My daughter is playing in tournaments miost weekendss this summer in the heat and humidity – she’s having problems with hydration – we start her having lots of water on Wednesday before either a Friday or Saturday game – she does have gatorade about an hour before and during the games – but she’s still having issues – any suggestions?

June 22, 2010

Marc Dagenais @ 9:49 pm

What you do seems to be right. Gatorade should usually work. Try adding a bit of salt to her drinks (not much but a bit), it should help a bit.

If not, go to a local pharmacy, talk to the pharmacist, they have those solutions for dehydrated people that you can buy over-the-counter that works great. That might be a solution for her if the traditional hydration protocol does not work.


March 7, 2011

Losing Stomach Fat @ 4:02 am

My main core exercises are the plank and side plank, also I perform about 4 different exercises with kettlebells targeting the abs, in just one month I already have much better defined abs!

August 8, 2011

Softball Conditioning – Strength or Power? | Softball @ 12:15 am

[…] Overtime with sustained training, you can move the  percentage SLIGHTLY one way or the other based on  the type of training you do (fast and explosive  training will improve slightly the % of fast twitches  over time).You can also train the existing fibers to be  more efficient (even faster and more explosive  for fast twitch fibers). That is done through power training. […]

August 13, 2011

Softball Drills – Appropriate Attitude Do Wonders | Softball @ 9:15 am

[…] not enough. A softball player needs to develop also his mental skills while enhancing them through softball drills. Combining these three aspects, physical strength, appropriate attitude, and right mind-set, you […]

[…] the way, I am actually working on a new DVD for speed, agility, and quickness for softball and will cover all that […]

November 1, 2011

melix_watts @ 4:55 am

The number of injuries can happen anytime and time can be ruined so whenever you sustain an injury get in touch with local medical aid  as your health is the most important concern and you may be able to claim other special damages hence talking to an experienced personal injury claims solicitor is advisable when making personal injury compensation claim

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