This study examined the effect of 12 weeks of medicine ball training on high school baseball players. Forty-nine baseball players (age 15.4 +/- 1.2 years) were randomly assigned using a stratified sampling technique to 1 of 2 groups. Group 1 (n = 24) and group 2 (n = 25) performed the same full-body resistance exercises according to a stepwise periodized model and took 100 bat swings a day, 3 days per week, with their normal game bat for 12 weeks. Group 2 performed additional rotational and full-body medicine ball exercises 3 days per week for 12 weeks. Pre- and post-testing consisted of a 3 repetition maximum (RM) dominant and nondominant torso rotational strength and sequential hip-torso-arm rotational strength (medicine ball hitter's throw). A 3RM parallel squat and bench press were measured at 0 and after 4, 8, and 12 weeks of training. Although both groups made statistically significant increases (p > 0.05) in dominant (10.5 vs. 17.1%) and nondominant (10.2 vs. 18.3%) torso rotational strength and the medicine ball hitter's throw (3.0 vs. 10.6%), group 2 showed significantly greater increases in all 3 variables than group 1. Furthermore, both groups made significant increases in predicted 1RM parallel squat and bench press after 4, 8, and 12 weeks of training; however, there were no differences between groups. These data indicate that performing a 12-week medicine ball training program in addition to a stepwise periodized resistance training program with bat swings provided greater sport-specific training improvements in torso rotational and sequential hip-torso-arm rotational strength for high school baseball players.
(C) 2007 National Strength and Conditioning Association