2 Exercises to Increase Hip-Shoulder Separation

Written by on October 6, 2016 in Drills / Training, Speed / Strength - 2 Comments

2 Exercises to Increase Hip-Shoulder Separation

In this article, I’m going to go over 2 detailed exercises that can help you increase hip shoulder separation and create more stability at your end ranges of motion in your baseball or softball swing.

Before doing so, let’s go over why being able to dissociate your upper half from your lower half is important. In today’s advanced culture of hitting methodology, movement is heavily studied. You can find breakdowns on pretty much any hitter you want to see somewhere on the internet. In these videos, the person breaking down the hitter will usually get into their movements and the positions they get into throughout their swing. Not every breakdown is of value, but more importantly, some of the movements that are being observed in the breakdowns aren’t teachable.  Most hitters watching these breakdowns aren’t capable of achieving these high level positions due to range of motion deficiencies and/or strength/stability issues.  This is where these very swing specific exercises come into play.

The two Baseball Rebellion exercises I am going to share with you have been created based on positions of rotation in the swing. They aim to create more stability at your end range of motion and groove a better pattern. Sometimes it takes more than doing movement in the mirror to engrain that movement in your swing. Your body allows these positions based on whether or not you are strong and stable in them. If your body is weak (in whatever position you’re trying to get into) you’re never going to get into those positions from a subconscious level unless you be come strong and stable in those positions. Here at Baseball Rebellion, we diligently study movement patterns of the best in the game. With my Strength and Conditioning background and an advanced knowledge of swing related movements (due to using Baseball Rebellion hitting methodology towards the end of my professional career and working as a Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor) these exercises can help you not only get into positions of elite level hitters, but strengthen the muscles used that create those positions.

Exercise 1: Seated Reverse Rotation Isometric Holds

Position yourself on a box or a physioball. Make sure you have an object such as a foam roller or medicine ball squeezed in between your knees (in this video, I’m using a soccer ball) to limit any type of lower back rotation.  Attach a resistance band to the end of a dowel stick. Place the dowel stick on top of your arms squeezing it against your chest. Whatever side the resistance is on, rotate towards that side. Perform 3 sets of 5 reps each side with a 5 second isometric pause at the end of each repetition.

Exercise 2: Standing Reverse Pivot Rotations

Position yourself standing parallel with your attachment point. The band will be attached to a dowel rod or Rebel’s Rack. As you open up towards the wall, you want to focus on turning the tension as much as you can with your upper back while keeping your belly button facing straight ahead. Note: Try, as much as possible, to keep the front shoulder straight and rotate exclusively through whichever shoulder/scap/lat side you are rotating towards.  Also, make sure you are reverse pivoting so that your heels are in line and the front knee has a slight bend in it. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps with a brief isometric pause at the end of every repetition.  Primary focus is creating more range of motion through STRENGTHENING at your end range of motion as opposed to being passively STRETCHED into that position.

I filmed these exercises with both a dowel stick and a Rebel’s Rack. I strongly encourage, if you have one, using a Rebel’s Rack to do these exercises as it is a little easier from a setup standpoint. On top of the numerous movement drills you can do with the Rebel’s Rack, it is also a great tool to attach resistance to so you can practice being strong throughout positions of rotation throughout the swing.

At the end of the day, forcing positions in the baseball / softball swing is counterintuitive. The swing happens EXTREMELY fast and is VERY violent. Your brain doesn’t have time to process individual movements. A lot of what happens in your swing is a product of what your body ALLOWS it to do. Thoracic mobility (upper back extension), scap/lat strength, and rotary stability all play a fundamental role in the baseball and softball swing.  While knowing the actual positions of the swing is of great significance, (and not very common amongst most hitting instructors today), one must be able to create strength and stability in these positions for them to occur, without thought conscious thought.  Adding a bit of resistance in positions your body isn’t accustomed to getting into in the swing is a great way to introduce yourself to better movement patterns.  Use these exercises to improve the functionality of these muscles in your swing.

KC Judge – Baseball Rebellion Director of Performance

About the Author

KC Judge is Baseball Rebellion and ITS Baseball’s Head of Sport Performance and Speed / Strength Coach, from Las Vegas, NV. KC holds a BS in Exercise Science from Cal. Lutheran University, a CSCS certification from the NSCA and is FMS Certified. KC is specialized in speed and agility training, having previously worked at 2 high profile Strength and Conditioning facilities in Las Vegas, Phillipi Sports Institute and TSPT Sports Performance, training many high level major league baseball players. KC played collegiately at Taft College and Cal. Lutheran University. After a record setting season in 2010, which included the single season all time record for batting average (.453), an NCAA All West Region selection, & the SCIAC leader in batting average & on base percentage, KC was named a pre season All American prior to the 2011 season. KC spent 4 seasons playing professionally in the Independent League. With his playing history and knowledge / training with Baseball Rebellion, KC applies his knowledge of speed/strength training directly to the Baseball Rebellion hitting and pitching training systems.

2 Comments on "2 Exercises to Increase Hip-Shoulder Separation"

  1. Garth October 7, 2016 at 7:46 am · Reply

    Is the scap load the most efficient way to gain separation?

    • KC Judge October 7, 2016 at 3:12 pm · Reply

      Hey Garrett
      The scap load is a component in the sequence of separation. It happens secondary to the hips opening. Thank you for reading.

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