NFL teams have 16 games in their season. In the NHL and NBA, it’s 82 guaranteed days of play. Major League Baseball players, by contrast, have to perform for 162 games. Starting in the spring running through the summer and into fall, these athletes are required to be in peak physical condition to sustain this lengthy season performing at their best and to remain injury free. Major League Baseball Teams rely on TRX Training to help them get ready to play ball.
The TRX Suspension Trainer and the TRX Rip Trainer are popular tools for baseball conditioning among strength and conditioning coaches and players. Adrian Gonzales, Partner and Coach at Elevate Performance Health and Wellness in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says he likes training with the TRX Rip Trainer to lateralize training and add movement specificity relative to the game of baseball. “The Rip Trainer is a dynamic tool that allows athletes to express movement dynamically in a controlled environment, Gonzales explains. “Rotation, core stability, power and strength can all be realized through this tool.”
If you’re not familiar with the TRX Rip Trainer, it’s a 40-inch bar with a sheathed elastic resistance cord attached at one end. That stretchable cord creates an unbalanced, asymmetrical load that forces core muscle activation in order to maintain proper posture and balance. Baseball players can use it both resist rotation, as well to train rotational power, translating to baseball specific skills such as; gaining power to their swings and to practice halting the swing momentum on bad pitches to avoid strikes.
“The Rip Trainer gives our baseball players a tool where they can mimic the movements that directly influence their game,” Gonzales says. “The resistance forces the athlete to control the Rip [Trainer] eccentrically, which in turn creates opportunity to store energy in the tissues and joints that create the powerful movement of swinging. Few tools in the gym are as versatile.”
When you’re ready to add TRX Rip Training to your baseball training regimen, start with a striking motion called the Rip Stack. Gonzales raves that it’s an “incredible exercise for core stability and increasing the durability of the core tissue under dynamic resistance.” Start standing sideways to the anchor with your feet in a parallel stance. Next, rotate your hips, spine and shoulders as a "cylinder" away from the anchor point while holding the bar perpendicular to your body. Pause at the end of range of motion and try to hold the bar (with the cord fully stretched), resisting the urge to rotate, for at least 10 seconds before resetting for the next rep. To balance your movement development, you’ll want to turn around and reverse your grip, repeating the exercise on your other side.
A second useful exercise for improving rotation is the TRX Rip Trainer Chest Press with Rotation. Begin standing sideways to the anchor with your feet in a parallel stance. This time, as you rotate away from the anchor point, you’ll step the foot that’s closer to the anchor point out and away from the anchor. Steady your stance with a light bend in the knees, and push the bar forward, until your arms are fully-extended and the bar is parallel to the anchor point. You could even change up the move to add an overhead press.
To incorporate lower body, try a Rip Stack Lunge. For this move you’ll start standing facing away from the anchor point and step forward into a split squat or lunge. Finish with the bar pressed all the way away from your body, similar to a low chest press.
Whether you’re looking to push, rotate, or lunge, the Rip Trainer is your MVP during baseball season. Step up your challenge level before you step up to the plate, and you’ll see how unbalanced training can be a game changer.