My Favorite Exercise Combinations: Installment 5 – Baseball Edition

One of the perks of my current position is to work with a handful of professional baseball players during their off-season.

It’s an awesome mix of laid back chat about what kind of music is best played over the speakers during the first few ping pong matches in the morning, and chirping at each other about their respective seasons. You literally can’t find anything like it anywhere else.

Thanks, Oliver. We miss you too. #cspfamily #cspMA

A photo posted by Cressey Sports Performance (@cresseysportsperformance) on

Much like that combination, there are a few ways to combine a few seemingly random exercises into an amazing concoction of, how do I say it? “Boom.”


One combination that I’ve been using to mucho success in the past few months can be found in the warm-up and cool down aspect of the lifting session. It involves a positional breathing drill aimed at resetting the nervous system, and followed up by a static hold of the glenohumeral (or shoulder) joint to ensure range of motion is kept in line.

1. Deep Squat Belly Breathing – 2×5 Exhales (2 sets x 5 Exhales)
2. Supine ER & IR Hold – 3x5sec hold/side

Note: The order here is important.


Performing a Deep Squat Belly Breathing will reduce extensor tone, which means the latissimus dorsi will hopefully be attenuated as a stabilizing muscle group. The posterior pelvic tilt that is also encouraged will also be included to really emphasize the abdominal musculature and to hit home the idea of ribcage position and diaphragmatic contribution to improving all around movement quality of the individual.

Please Raise Your Right Hand…

Meow* for the individual aspect, brought to you by the supine external rotation and internal rotation hold. I’m of the belief that you should give the individual what they need, making sure to not be subjective with your exercise selection. If this person happens to be a right handed baseball pitcher, doesn’t have any injuries that will limit them from moving appropriately, or just happens to be an individual that needs shoulder internal rotation – this exercise may be the correct one for you.

Meow, this isn’t like the sleeper stretch. The way this combination works is this: the ribcage will be better facilitated to help reinforce anterior core stability, and now the adjacent joint of the scapula AND glenohumeral joint have a more adequate range of motion to move about.


Let’s take advantage of our reduced extensor tone, and improve the range of motion that the glenohumeral joint can meow implement – in both internal rotation and external rotation.

Meow, the real sports specific item to discuss is the lack of glenohumeral internal rotation that is often seen in the throwing hand. If you are a pitcher, constantly looking to stretch “to feel loose” – perform these two exercises INSTEAD in order to improve control, stability, and range of motion.

More importantly, if you’re in season and looking for specific help, perform this drill AFTER you’re done pitching.

Why afterwards and not before?

If you’re pitching, you NEED more layback (which requires more external rotation on the throwing arm/dominant hand).


Doing these drills afterwards will help to reduce the amount of glenohumeral external rotation that you are exhibiting – the opposite of what you need if you’re going to be pitching.

However, you want to have the ability to move into and out of specific positions in order to relax your body after a physically taxing task. Reduce the amount of neurological tone that your body is exhibiting, and reap the benefits of multiple and varied movement qualities in order to excel at your sport!

As always,

Keep it funky.




My Favorite Exercise Combinations – Installment 3

Throughout the fitness industry, utilizing med ball exercises has been a large component of increasing force development, improving neurological activation along the speed-strength continuum, not to mention it is just flat out fun to slam a ball.

No matter if you are into fat loss, improving athletic development, or gaining muscle, there are benefits for everyone when it comes to slamming stuff into the ground or a brick wall.

This week’s favorite sequence of mine comes in the form of slamming a med ball into a wall, and then performing a Turkish Get Up.

A1. Rotational Med Ball Shotput – 3×5/side (6-8lbs)

A2. Turkish Get Up – 3×1/side

Next Level Programming

The purpose of the rotational med ball scoop toss is to improve rotational force production in the frontal and transverse planes. If many exercises are performed in the sagittal plane, we may develop an “overdependence” on these exercises – and if we live in a three-dimensional world, we need to improve the way we interact with the world in a three-dimensional manner – not only sagittal plane, but also frontal and transverse plane.

Now, the funky part of this combination is the Turkish Get Up – to some people, this may not be a surprise of an exercise; others have never even heard of it before.

In fact, if you’ve never tried it before, it is a great combination exercise in its own regard. It targets abdominals, is a checkpoint for glute functioning when you go into the “high bridge” portion (where you squeeze your butt into the air), and then also includes a hip hinge, and lunging pattern.

It’s like those Highlight magazines you did those search puzzles in when you went to the dentist or doctor as a kid – it has some gems in there if you look really hard.

The blind bull is blissfully balancing on one blue boot while wearing a blue belt and a blue blouse.

Now, the integrated portion of this combination is the sweet deal that you didn’t know you had until you rang up your coupon at the cash register:

Let me explain.

If you are throwing a ball, you need to produce force that will attempt to cross midline from sternum, sacrum, and sphenoid bones. In other words, you need to rotate appropriately (and on both sides in this specific drill).

The purple bones will need to move independently of the white bones to create dissociation!

In the medicine ball throw, you need to push off from the ankle, activate the glutes to rotate (reciprocally if I may add), and have the trunk come along for the ride – which activates one set of obliques, and the opposite side of obliques. Further, this rotation of the trunk facilitates scapular motion as you literally throw the ball.

What is an “arm care” exercise that isn’t integrative?

So when you perform a med ball shotput, you integrate the feet, glutes, trunk, scapula, and even the neck and eyes because you won’t be able to hit your target (very effectively) if you could not look at it.

Now, when you perform a Turkish Get Up, you are doing the same exact thing, but slower and with more control.

As you move from the ground up, you are stabilizing both scapula in various positions, stabilizing the trunk in various positions, moving with adequate hip mobility, and improving sensory awareness of the body due to breathing (which means you shouldn’t be grunting or holding your breath), and slowing down the movement for control purposes.

These higher end movements involve utilizing a rolling pattern, that aim to reset and activate certain tonic/phasic musculature.

TGU = Rolling = Throwing

Lastly, the vision aspect is huge. You can improve your sensory awareness by integrating where your eyes are located into the mix – as you move from the “ground upwards” you should be keeping an upward look at the kettlebell as you move from step to step.

Look Up
The one on the right is probably more prepared than the other two for whatever is coming next.

Combine this with a fast paced med ball drill such as the shotput, and you can really enhance the way you exercise and improve force development!

If you liked what you read, please pass on this post! Much appreciated.

As always,

Keep it  funky.