Rotational Exercises for In-Season Performance

John Hancock
In SIDE TABLE, focus on pulling abdominals in and press your glutes and hamstrings to the sky.

When planning in-season workouts, the key is to maintain the strength and conditioning you cultivated in the off-season without fatiguing your body too much and sacrificing your performance in competition. Even if you only play on the weekends, you shouldn’t be trying to make physical gains during your season. Instead, focus on maintaining speed, range of motion, and your explosive ability in workouts throughout the week. As the weekend approaches, incorporate lots of dynamic stretching, and after you play, make sure to do plenty of static stretching.

Add the following exercises to your in-season workout plan to develop rotational stability and strength and improve your range of motion throughout your body.

Side Table

Focus: Pull your abdominals in throughout the exercise. Glutes and hamstrings press the hips up toward the sky.

Begin seated with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands shoulder-width apart behind you. Point your fingers in toward your heels.

Press through your feet to elevate your hips toward the sky, pulling your shoulders back and down to create a table with your body.

Turn your left hand so it points away from your body. Reach to the sky with your right hand, reaching straight up until your shoulders are stacked vertically. Your upper body forms a T.

Hold for a few seconds, then return your right hand to the ground behind you. Turn the right hand out and repeat the exercise on the opposite side.

Complete 3 sets of 8 reps per side.

Hip Flare

Focus: Hip extension through the lifted leg, keeping shoulders square to the ground. Heel engagement of the non-rotating leg.

Start in a perfect high-plank position with hands underneath your shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Make sure your abdominal muscles are contracted and pulled in toward your spine. Pull your shoulders back and down.

Bend your right leg, bringing your knee to the inside of your right elbow with the foot elevated off the ground and actively flexed (dorsiflexion).

Rotate the left foot so the entire inside edge presses into the ground. Drive into the ground with the heel to help press your hips forward.

Extend the right leg under your body until it is fully straight and perpendicular to your midline. Hold this position a few seconds.

Return your extended leg to the starting position and complete the exercise on the other side.

Complete 3 sets of 8 reps per side.

Medicine Ball Mason Twist

Focus: Maintain abdominal contraction and a flat back (good posture).

Start on the ground in an upright, seated position.

Place your palms on the floor next to your hips to support your body and bend your knees to place your feet flat on the floor. Hover your feet a few inches off the ground, maintaining dorsiflexion.

Contract your abdominals as if to pull your belly button toward your spine and lean your upper body back about 45 degrees. Avoid rounding your back – keep it flat.

Lift your hands off the floor and balance your weight on your glutes. Pick up the medicine ball and hold it in front of your chest.

Twist your torso to the right side and try to get the medicine ball as close as you can to the floor. Move only your upper body and keep your abdominals engaged throughout the motion.

Twist over to the left side, again moving the medicine ball toward the floor. Avoid using momentum and instead control the motion. Return to center to complete one repetition.

Complete 3 sets of 12 reps.

Medicine Ball Woodchopper Slam

Focus: Movement with posture, abdominal engagement, weight evenly spread through feet during movement, heel engagement.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a squat position. Grasp the medicine ball securely between your hands and hold it on the outside of your left knee.

Begin to stand by extending your hips and simultaneously elevating the medicine ball diagonally across your body toward the outside of your right shoulder. Avoid twisting through your knees—only rotate your trunk—and finish with the medicine ball above your head and off to your right side, legs fully straight.

Explosively, bend your knees, push your hips back, and sit into a shallow squat. As you squat, keep the medicine ball close to your body while lowering it diagonally toward your left side, finally slamming it to the ground just outside your left foot.

Pick the ball up and repeat on the same side until you’ve completed all eight reps. Then, move the ball to the outside of the right knee and do the other side.

Complete 3 sets of 8 reps on each side.

Originally published in August 2014

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