As a [tag]little league baseball coach[/tag], you know that having strong abdominal muscles are essential to almost every move in almost every sport. Having a strong core balances the body during a swing, helps a pitcher throw faster, and keeps a baseman on his/her feet when stretching out to catch a ball. Nearly every move involves the abdominal muscles. It is easy to keep them strong and in shape without using high-priced machinery.
There are several different abdominal work-outs. The exercises that will be forthcoming over the next few days can be done in isolation or combined to create an ab routine. Regardless, the important things to remember with all abdominal work-outs is that slow is better than fast, and that keeping the muscles tight throughout the entire work-out gets much better results than contracting and releasing.
As a [tag]baseball[/tag] [tag]coach[/tag], you must remind your athletes to keep their abdominals as flat as possible during [tag]drills[/tag]. This means that during abdominal crunches, if their hands are behind their heads, they must keep their elbows out straight to the side and their heads facing the ceiling. This helps them keep their backs straight and avoid curling their abdominals. Instead of rolling their backs inward, they will keep the back straight and work on just lifting the shoulders off the ground.
The first abdominal exercise is the basic [tag]abdominal crunch[/tag]. This is done with athletes lying on their backs with their legs bent to the point that their feet are flat on the ground. Their hands should be behind their heads with their elbows out straight. Their heads should be relaxed and flat. Athletes should use their abdominal muscles to lift their shoulders off the ground, pausing at the top to work the muscles just a little bit more. When athletes lower themselves back to the ground, they should keep the muscles engaged just a bit. This exercise works the upper abdominals, the ones just below the ribs.