Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning

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Lateral Bounds for Strength, Speed and Power

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

The lateral bound is single-leg plyometric exercise in which you leap off one leg, and propel your body as far as you can in the frontal plane. Lateral bounds target the muscles of the lower body – hips, thighs, claves, ankles and feet – and stabilizer muscles of the core. They can be used as a dynamic warm-up / movement prep exercise or as a part of a high intensity workout to increase strength, power, agility, balance and coordination and teach athletes how to accelerate, decelerate and absorb force while moving in the frontal plane, which is a major skill in sports performance.

How to do it. Beginners should start with a single lateral bound and stick to learn how to produce and absorb lateral force and maintain balance and joint stability

  1. Start by standing on your left foot, set your core, squat slightly and then allow your lead (right) arm and leg to perform a countermovement inward as you shift your weight to load the outside (left) hip

  2. From this loaded position, explode off the ball of your left foot and bound up and to the right trying to cover as much distance as possible

  3. Use your arms and hips to help generate max force to accelerate your body to the right

  4. Land softly on your lead (right) leg, stick the landing and hold for 2 seconds while maintaining a balanced, athletic position

  5. Re-set and repeat the jump in the opposite (left) direction

  6. This is one rep

  7. Perform 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps in each direction

  8. Once you are able to bound, stick the landing and maintain balance and body control, progress to continuous bounding side-to-side

Coaching points

  1. Control your hips, knees and ankles during explosive take-off and have a soft force landing

  2. Do fewer reps at a lower intensity when warming-up or movement prep

  3. Use a higher intensity for fewer sets and reps with a 1: 3 work to rest ratio to improve strength, speed, power, coordination, etc.

  4. Aim for max lateral distance on each bound

Progression

  1. Perform 3-5 consecutive bounds to the right and left

  2. When you perfect exercise technique, progress to continuous bounding side-to-side upon landing for 3 reps; over and back is 1 rep

  3. Next, sprint 10 yards after 3-5 consecutive bounds to the right and left or after a side-to-side bound to add a speed component to the exercise

  4. Add resistance in the form of resistance bands or tubing and perform the single-leg bound and stick; walk back and repeat; bound in both directions

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Gene Coleman, Ed. D., RSCC*E, FACSM has over four decades as a head strength and conditioning coach (Astros) and strength and conditioning consultant (Rangers). 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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