Speed Squats, Alternate Lunges, Eagles and Squat Jumps
Finisher exercises are designed to kick your butt at the end of the workout. A goal for the off-season, spring training and in-season is to “finish strong”. You want a strong finish for each workout, every practice session, every game and the season. Finishers can help improve fitness and develop the metabolic fitness and mental toughness needed to complete a grueling 162-game season.
This series of exercises will help improve work capacity and explosive strength and power in the muscles of the trunk, hips and legs. In addition, they will improve range of motion, balance and coordination. There are four exercises. Do all reps of the first exercise before doing the second exercise and do all reps of the second exercise before doing the third exercise, etc. Do not rest between exercises. Start with 10 reps of each exercise; add two reps per week until you reach 20 reps for each exercise. True beginners might want to start with one exercise per workout and gradually add an additional exercise each week.
Exercise #1: Speed Squats – Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands behind the head, chest, head and shoulders up and core tight. Squat until both thighs are parallel to the ground and return as fast as
possible, but under control, for the prescribed number of reps.
Exercise #2: Alternate Lunges – Stand with feet shoulder width apart, hands behind the head, head and chest up, eyes forward and core tight. Lunge forward with the right leg until the right thigh is parallel to the ground. Push back with the right leg and return to the starting position. Now lunge forward and push back with the left leg. Continue to alternate lunges with the right and left legs. Move as fast as you can, but under control for the prescribed number of reps. Try to get the knee of your back leg as close to the ground on each rep without letting it touch the ground.
Exercise #3 Eagles – Stand in a lunge position with the right leg forward and the left leg back. The head and chest are up, eyes are forward, core is tight and the arms are down at the sides. Drop down into a lunge position until the knee of the back leg almost touches the ground. Then explode up off both feet as high as possible as you bring both arms up to shoulder height. Land with right leg forward and left leg back and arms down by the sides. Immediately explode upward, land and repeat for the prescribed number of reps. Try to jump as high and fast as you can on each rep. Switch the position of the feet (left leg forward and right leg back) and repeat the exercise for the prescribed number of reps. Make it harder by alternating feet on each jump (scissors split-squat jumps).
Exercise #4 Squat Jumps – Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, head and chest up, eyes forward, core tight and hands at the sides. Squat down quickly and then immediately explode upward off both feet. Throw the hands forward and up to help get the body off the ground. Land quietly on both feet and immediately explode upward. Land and jump as fast as possible, but under control for the prescribed number of reps. Try to jump as high and fast as you can and land in the same position on each rep.
When performed properly, this series of exercises can be very taxing and have a tremendous metabolic effect. To ensure maximum recovery perform finishers no more than three times per week with at least one day of recovery between finisher workouts.
Gene Coleman, Ed. D., RSCC-E, FACSM, was the Head S&C Coach for the Houston Astros from 1978-2012 and is currently a strength and conditioning consultant for the Texas Rangers and Professor in the Exercise and Health Sciences Program at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. Adam Noel, MS, RSCC is a Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coaches with the Texas Rangers.