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The following exercise was recommended by Vern Gambetta. I have used it with good success, first with the Mets and currently with the Rangers. This exercise has three movement sequences that emphasize the loading and unloading of the hips and hamstrings in the sagittal, frontal and transverse plane. It can be used as both a conditioning and rehabilitation exercise.

jv1Lunge and Reach to Floor. Emphasis: Stand erect with a DB in each hand. Set the abs, step (lunge) forward on the left leg and reach forward with both hands until the DBs lightly touch the floor. Pause for 2-3 seconds and then push back to the starting position with the lead leg. Perform the assigned number of reps on the left leg and then repeat on the opposite leg. For variety and more balance and coordination, alternate right and left legs and do 10 reps on each side. Keep the abs tight throughout the exercise. As you reach to the floor the hamstrings are loaded at both the origin and insertion. This is functionally similar to the load placed on the hamstrings during running at foot contact. When you touch the floor, push off the ground explosively with the lead leg. This is similar to the load from foot contact to the push off phase. Keep the neck and head in a straight line with the trunk throughout the exercise. Benefits: Eccentric loading of the hamstrings.

jv2Lunge and Reach Overhead. Emphasis: This exercise emphasizes the loading and unloading of the hip flexors and adductors in the sagittal plane. In this exercise both the hip flexors and adductor group are lengthened. This load is necessary to effectively unload the hip creating an explosive knee drive during running. Stand erect with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended and hands overhead with palms facing forward. Set the abs and lunge forward on the left leg until the back knee almost touches the ground. Push back with the lead leg and return to the starting position. Perform the assigned number of reps on the left leg and then repeat on the opposite leg. For variety and more balance and coordination, alternate right and left legs and do 10 reps on each side. Keep the abs tight, arms extended and hands overhead from start to finish. Do not arch the back. Perform the exercise with a MD Ball, DBs or kettle bells to increase the intensity of the movement. Benefits: Eccentric loading of the hip flexor and adductor group and increased range of motion in shoulders and T-Spine.

jv3Lunge and Twist. Emphasis: This exercise emphasizes the loading and unloading of both the hip flexors, adductors and abdominals in the transverse plane. Most baseball movements occur in the transverse plane, making this exercise very appropriate. Stand erect with arms extended and hands together in front of the body at chest height. Keep the palms together, set the abs and lunge forward on the left leg until the back knee almost touches the ground. As the back knee approaches the ground, twist the trunk, arms and hands toward the lead leg. Pause for 1-2 seconds, twist back until the arms are directly in front of the body and then push back with the lead leg to return to the starting position. Perform the assigned number of reps on the left leg and then repeat on the opposite leg. For variety and more balance and coordination, alternate right and left legs and do 10 reps on each side.
Keep the abs tight, arms extended and palms together throughout the exercise. Perform the exercise with a MD Ball, DBs or kettle bells to increase the intensity of the movement. To increase range of motion, balance and coordination, bring both hands up and over the shoulder on the side of the lead leg. Benefits: Transverse training of the hip flexors, adductors, core and T-spine.

Jose Vazquez, PT, CSCS
Head Strength Coach, Texas Rangers

 

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