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Off-Season Recommendations for High School Baseball Players from a MLB Strength and Conditioning Coach

With the high school baseball and summer seasons, and the importance of an effective off-season strength and conditioning program on future performance and risk of injury, we asked Paul Fournier, Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Philadelphia Phillies to recommend one off-season exercise for HS players. Paul has over 20 years of experience in professional baseball including stints with the Expos and Marlins before joining the Phillies in 2014. He was also the National League Strength Coach in the 2014 All-Star Game.

I’m partial to the loaded hip thrust/glute bridge or banded hip thrust/glute bridge. My experience suggests that many players lack appropriate glute strength and become hamstring dominant. The hip thrust/glute bridge, especially the banded versions are great exercises to use as movements to lead into other hinging patterns.”

The hip thrust/glute bridge is also an excellent exercise to stabilize the core and lumbar spine during hip extension which is extremely important in helping maintain spinal alignment and preventing lower back pain.

Beginners can start with body weight to learn the proper technique and then make it more challenging by performing single-leg bridges before working against a resistance band or adding external weight.

To perform the banded hip thrust/glute bridge:

  • Start by lying supine on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  • Wrap a resistance band across your hips and anchor each end to the floor with your hands
  • Set your core, press through your heels and lift your hips up into a bridge until there is a straight line from your knees to your shoulders
  • Slowly lower your hips and return to the starting position
  • Start with one set of 10-15 reps and gradually build to 3 sets of 10-15

For advanced variations of this exercise, see the references below.

References

  1. Peterson, Dwayne, Progressions from glute bride to hip lift to hip thrust. http://baseballstrength.org/progressions-from-glute-bridge-to-hip-lift-to-hip-thrust-by-dwayne-peterson/
  2. Meister, Jeff. Barbell hip thrust. http://baseballstrength.org/barbell-hip-thrust/
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