Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning


Bear Holds and Rotational Athletes

By Napoleon Pichardo, RSCC – Texas Rangers

Bear holds are an effective exercise for developing anti-rotation strength and stability in rotational athletes like baseball players. They train the deep core muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis as well as those that assist with lateral flexion and rotation. They are another option for traditional planks which focus primarily on developing strength and stability in the core muscles that prevent flexion. Bear holds also work the shoulders and quads and can be used as a lead up exercise to bear crawls

How to do them.

  • Start by getting onto your hands and knees and digging your toes into the floor.
  • Keeping your back flat (don’t let it sag or arch), pull your stomach in tight.
  • Keeping your toes and hands firmly on the floor, slowly raise your knees up off the floor so that you are balanced on your hands and toes.
  • The higher your raise your knees, the easier the exercise.
  • If they are just barely raised off the floor, your body has to work harder to maintain this position.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds, relax and repeat 3 times.
  • Slowly progress to three 30-second holds.
  • For added difficult, perform the exercise by lifting one knee or hand slightly off the floor
  • This exercise is a good lead up exercise to bear crawls.



Napoleon Pichardo, CSCS, RSCC, USAW, is Senior Director of Performance for the Texas Rangers.

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