Open and Close the Gate

Groin strains are one of the most common injuries in a sport like baseball where there’s a lot of running, starting, stopping, changing directions and jumping. The following exercise is a closed-chain, dynamic exercise for the muscles of the groin and lower body that can be used as part of a pre-practice or pre-game warm-up routine to help prepare the hips, groin, legs, ankles and feet for the specific movements that occur in game and practice situations.

Starting position. Stand in athletic position with knees bent, back flat, chest out, shoulders back and head up. The feet are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, both feet are pointed straight ahead and body weight is on the balls of the feet. Hands are together in front of the chest with fingers interlaced and both elbows are down and close to the ribs.

Open the gate. Perform a counter-movement by sinking the hips down slightly to pre-stretch the muscles of the lower body and then jump up off both feet just high enough so that the feet leave the ground approximately 1-2 inches. While airborne, raise both knees up and turn them out away from the mid-line of the body to stretch the groin (open the gate). Land with both feet turned out about 45 degrees and let the elbows sink down inside the knees to increase the stretch. At the bottom of the stretch, quickly jump up off both feet and close the gate.

Close the gate. Jump up off both feet approximately 1-2 inches, bring the knees up and around in front of the body and land in the starting position. This is one rep. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps with 1-2 minutes of rest between sets.

Coaching points. Perform each rep in a rhythmic manner and keep the head up, chest out, shoulders back and back flat throughout the exercise. Start by descending until the elbows are just below knee level. Gradually increase the depth of the descent as dynamic mobility of the hips increases. Wear a weighted vest or hold a KB at chest height to increase the intensity of the effort. See video “Open and Close Gate”.







Ric Mabie, RSCC is the Strength and Conditioning Coach, AAA Round Rock Express, Texas Rangers.


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