Exercise of the Week: Heidens with External Rotation Stick
Posted Nov 02 2012 11:04am
For this installment of exercise of the week, I have to give full credit to Cressey Performance pitching coordinator, Matt Blake. A few weeks ago, Matt and I were having a conversation about ways to expand our exercise selection with respect to developing power in the frontal and transverse planes. We have medicine ball work and a host of variations on heidens (also known as "skaters"), but you can never have enough.
As the conversation progressed, we got to talking about some of our young pitchers who struggle with finding the right timing to stiffen up on the front leg. They either stomp down early because they aren't stable enough to ride the back hip out a bit longer, or they stiffen up late and "go to mush" on that front leg. We want to train them to accept force on that front leg - and do so with the right position (a position of hip external rotation/abduction, where the athlete is decelerating internal rotation/adduction).
So, Matt asked if it would be possible to simply open the front leg up to make this a more specific deceleration position. So, the heiden with external rotation stick was born.
One of the key coaching points on this exercise is that you want to jump a bit more "up" than "out," as compared to a traditional heiden. Very simply, this upward movement gives an athlete time to reposition the hip, knee, ankle, and foot correctly to accept this force. If an athlete can't land in perfect technique (knee shouldn't cave in, and the torso shouldn't round over), he or she is jumping too far. Simply reducing the distance of the jump is a great regression. Find a distance that allows the athlete to land without these compensations (or coming up on the toes), and then gradually work to build this up.
This is just another option for developing power in rotational athletes, but certainly one that will add variety and challenge your athletes in new ways, so check it out!
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