Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning

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Box Stepdown for Single-Leg Strength, Stability and Balance

By Gene Coleman, Ed. D., RSCC*E

This is a simple, single-leg, ground-based exercise that requires minimal equipment. It can be used before and after practice and strength training workouts by baseball and softball players of all ages and levels of play to increase eccentric and concentric strength in both your quadriceps and medial glute (outside of your hip). It will also improve single-leg, posterior chain balance and increase the stability in your hip, knee and ankle needed to run, jump, start, stop and change directions.

  • How to do it:

    • Stand on one leg at the edge of 6-12” box

    • True beginners should start using a PVC pole for balance and to ensure proper technique

    • Set your core and lowly lower the opposite leg to the floor as you hip hinge (sit back and project buttocks backwards)

    • Lightly touch the heel to the floor

    • Maintain a slightly forward lean of your trunk to increase stress on glutes and quads and keep your center of gravity over your base of support (foot)

    • Drive through a full foot, extend your hip and knee, return to start and repeat

    • Perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg

  • Coaching points

    • Keep your core tight, head up and eyes forward

    • Keep your support knee in line with your second toe

    • Don’t let the non-support side of your pelvis drop

    • Don’t let your support knee move inward (valgus stress)

    • Don’t let your support foot collapse inward

    • Establish a consistent rhythm of 3-sec down and 3-sec up

  • Progressions

    • Perform exercise without PVC pipe to increase stability and balance

    • Add a weight vest or hold a DB or KB to increase resistance

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Gene Coleman has over 4 decades of experience in professional baseball. He was the head strength and conditioning coach for the Astros (1978-2012) and consultant for the Rangers (2013-2020). He is Professor Emeritus in the Exercise and Health Sciences Program at the University of Houston – Clear Lake and Website Education Manager baseballstrength.org.

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