Functional Pillar (or core/power center) Conditioning
A strong base of fitness is crucial for sustained practice of individual technique and participation in a skilled, safe manner in competition. Athletic fitness training must be separate from skill training and geared directly to strengthen and prepare your body specifically and efficiently for the desired sports goal.
Functional conditioning is simply strength training movements that have a high carryover to work and sport. The exercises will have a relative timing profile similar to the activity, like a squat has a similar timing profile to jumping. The exercises are specific, mimicking the recruitment of muscles and of joints of the task/sport or ability lacking in an athlete’s body.
The fitness secret for all successful ball players is functional core conditioning.
At every level these players need a strong center of power to be successful on the field or court. Core stability and power are vital to prevent injuries, correct posture. and ensure more efficient and functional (i.e., practical, usable) movement patterns.
Core exercises build bio motor (life movement) skills to improve strength, power, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, agility and speed. A proper functional core program trains athletes for common movements and for preventing common injury. The objective is to keep players on the field or court and keep them healthy.
The core and its role in ball sports
The power center or core is the trunk musculature*, which is highly involved in all major movements in virtually all sports. In baseball and softball, the trunk plays a key role in the generation of rotational power, essential for powerful hitting, throwing, and pitching.
The core muscles help control movement of the torso, breathing, and balance. If they aren’t in the best shape, other muscles have to help out, taking more energy away from playing and winning ball.
Core stability* is the ability to contract the lower deep ab muscles to help support the trunk in dynamic and static positions.
Core conditioning differs from traditional abdominal training in that it is an integrated and complete approach to train for function and performance versus aesthetics alone. We want to retrain stabilizer muscles* to contract in the right pattern and at the right intensity to meet the high demands ball places on them.
Functional core conditioning
Every action in virtually every sport and activity requires a complex combination of body parts and muscles working together. To achieve top performance, every body part and the interconnected muscles must be used together in seamless synchronization.
Functional conditioning trains the body as a unit. Each muscle is trained to contribute to functional movement pattern versus to act in isolation. Functional exercises** focus on the contribution the nervous system makes in sports. Each exercise must maximize movement efficiency and performance, thereby reducing the waste of energy and maximizing its transfer from the lower body to the upper body.
Functional training addresses 3-dimensional movement: multi-directional, multi-planar. It is proprioceptive enriched and activity specific for speed and agility.
For example, the #1 baseball and softball injury is to the shoulder after ball release. So we must integrate the shoulder into the entire kinetic chain and train the muscles of opposite glute that stabilize and decelerate muscles of posterior rotator cuff.
The goal is to keep players on the field or keeping you in the best condition for a strong and healthy lifestyle.
* rectus abdominis (six-pack)
external obliques (turn torso side to side)
transversus abdominis (deep ab muscle)
erector spinae (lower back)
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