Injuries of the hip and groin among professional baseball players can result in a significant number of disabled list days. In a four-year period between 2011 and 2014, there were 1823 hip and groin injuries that accounted for approximately 5% of all injuries that occurred among MLB and MiLB players1. The most common activity causing injury (74%) was a noncontact mechanism during defensive fielding, and most of the injuries (34%) occurred to infielders. Research indicates that every stride you take can put a stress on your groin equal to eight times your body weight2. To help prevent an awkward step or lateral movement from sidelining your players with a hip or groin injury, try the following exercises.
#1: Glute Bridge with Adduction. Lie with your knees bent and your arms and heels on the floor. Hold a MD ball between your knees, squeeze your glutes and raise your body into a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds and return to start. Start with one set of 10 reps (1×10) and progress to 3×10 in three weeks. When you can do 3×10 with ease, progress to the next exercise.
#2: Glute-Bridge March. From the previous starting position, push down through your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your body into a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold this position while lifting the right knee to the chest for 5 seconds. Return the foot to the ground and repeat with the left leg. That’s one rep. Don’t let your back hyperextend and don’t let your hips drop as your knee comes to the chest. Start with 2×6 of each leg and progress to 3×10. When you can do 3×10 of this exercise with ease, move to the next exercise.
#3: MD-Ball Glute Bridge. Lie with your knees bent and feet on a MD ball. Raise your body into a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds, lower and repeat. Start with 2×6 and progress to 3×10. Do the next exercise when you can do 3×10 of this exercise with ease.
#4: MD Single-Leg Bridge. Lie with one foot on the MD ball. Raise the knee of the opposite leg toward your chest. Next, squeeze your glutes and raise your body until there is a straight line from the knee that is on the MD ball to your shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds, lower and repeat. Start with 2×6 and progress to 3×10. Repeat on both sides.
Coaching Points. If you are working with athletes or if you are the athlete using these exercises, remember that tension is your friend. While holding at the top of the exercises, attempt to create as much tension as possible in your hips, thighs, and abs. Contract the muscles being targeted and contract them hard. Although, load or resistance may not be duplicated, creating maximum tension will serve as a worthy substitute.
- Coleman, SH., et.al., The epidemiology of hip and groin injuries in professional baseball players. Am J Orthop. 45(3): 168-175, 2016.
Trey Strickland, CSCS is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Cincinnati Reds, minor league affiliate the Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League.