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Baseball and Softball
Officials’ Offseason
Strengthening Exercises
Presented by:
Bernard L. Fontaine, Jr., CIH, CSP, FAIHA
Member of New Jersey State Federation of Umpires
(NJSFU) and the New Jersey State Interscholastic
Athletic Association (NJSIAA)
Introduction
Baseball and softball athletes are getting faster and
stronger each year and as umpires we must be able to
respond to the improved level of play.
Umpires must commit themselves to personal fitness
level befitting the game and the level of play.
Health and fitness is a personal lifestyle commitment,
not a seasonal endeavor.
Umpires must be prepared in advance before the
season begins, with only a few adjustments needed to
be ready for that first pitch and game of the season.
Fitness – 5 Steps
Are you thinking about starting a fitness program
during the offseason? Good for you! You're only five
steps away from becoming a more proficient umpire.
Assess your fitness level based on age and health
Design your fitness program that works for you
Assemble your resources – shoes, clothes, equipment
Get started – slowly and buildup gradually
Monitor progress of goals every 6 weeks
Starting an exercise program is an important decision.
But it doesn't have to be an overwhelming one. By
planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can
establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
Other Considerations
Some things are essential for you to be successful in
your endeavor maintain a healthy conditioned body.
Get a medical clearance to carry out any exercises
Identify both short and long term goals
Identify your strengths and weakness
Good nutrition
Adequate sleep
Enjoy the routine of exercise with music and dance
As a general guide, strengthening should be done for
20 minutes 2-3 days a week
Strengthening Safely
Strength training can help tone muscles and improve
appearance. Regular strength training program, can
reduce body fat, increase bone strength, increase lean
muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently.
Strength training doesn't take long. For most people,
one set of strength exercises for all the major muscle
groups (12-15 repetitions) and done at least two times
a week is sufficient.
Core-strength exercises strengthen core muscles,
including abdominal muscles, back muscles and the
muscles around the pelvis. You can do many core-
strength exercises with a fitness ball.
Strengthening Safely
Strength training can be done at home or in the gym.
Free weights and weight machines are popular
strength and conditioning training tools, but they're
not the only options.
You can do strength training with inexpensive
resistance tubing or even your own body weight. With
proper technique over time, you may see noticeable
improvements in your strength and stamina.
If you have back problems, osteoporosis or any other
health concern, talk to your doctor first before doing
these core-strength exercises.
Strengthening Safely
To stretch your neck:
Lie on back and place feet on a
wall so that knees and hips are
bent at 90-degree angles.
Tighten abdominal muscles.
Raise head and shoulders off
the floor. Avoid straining neck,
cross arms on chest rather than
locking them behind head. Hold
for three deep breaths.
Return to the start position and
repeat.
Strengthening Safely
Bridge exercise to improve core
strength of several muscles in
combination, try a bridge:
Lie on back with knees bent (A).
Keep back in a neutral position,
not arched and not pressed into
the floor. Avoid tilting hips.
Tighten abdominal muscles.
Raise hips off the floor until
hips are aligned with knees and
shoulders (B). Hold for three
deep breaths.
Return to the start position and
repeat.
Strengthening Safely
Single-leg abdominal press:
Lie on back with knees bent (A).
Keep back in a neutral position,
not arched and pressed into the
floor. Avoid tilting hips. Tighten
abdominal muscles.
Raise right leg off the floor so
knee and hip are bent at 90o.
Rest right hand on top of the
right knee (B).
Push hand against knee while
using your abdominal muscles
to pull knee toward your hand.
Keep your arm straight. Hold for
three deep breaths.
Strengthening Safely
Single-leg abdominal press (alt.):
Opposite hand on opposite
knee. Push right hand against
left knee while pulling knee
toward your hand (A). Push and
pull across the center of body.
Hold for 3 deep breaths. Repeat
using other hand and leg.
Hand on outside of knee. Place
left hand along the side of left
knee (B). Use hand to push leg
inward. At the same time, create
resistance by pushing knee
away from the center. Hold for
three deep breaths. Repeat
using your other hand and leg.
Strengthening Safely
Double-leg abdominal press:
Lie on back with knees bent (A).
Keep back in a neutral position,
not arched or pressed into the
floor. Avoid tilting hips. Tighten
abdominal muscles.
Raise legs off the floor, one at a
time, so knees and hips are bent
at 90o. Rest hands on top of
knees (B).
Push hands against knees while
using abdominal muscles to
pull knees toward hands. Keep
arms straight. Hold for three
deep breaths.
Strengthening Safely
Double-leg abdominal press (alt.):
Opposite hands on opposite
knees. Place each hand on the
opposite knee, toward the
inside of the knee (A). Arms will
cross over each other. Push
hands against knees while
pulling knees toward hands.
Hold for three deep breaths.
Hands on outside of knees.
Place hands along the sides of
knees (B). Use hands to push
knees inward. At the same time,
create resistance by pushing
knees away from the center.
Hold for three deep breaths.
Strengthening Safely
Segmental rotation:
Lie on back with knees bent and
back in a neutral position.
Tighten abdominal muscles.
Keeping shoulders on the floor,
let knees fall slowly to the left
(A). Go only as far as is
comfortable. Feel a stretch, but
not pain. Hold for three deep
breaths.
Return to the start position.
Repeat the exercise to the right
(B).
Strengthening Safely
Quadruped (Parts A and B):
Start on your hands and knees.
Place your hands directly below
your shoulders, and align your
head and neck with your back
(A). Tighten abdominal muscles.
Raise your right arm off the
floor and reach ahead (B). Hold
for three deep breaths. Lower
your right arm and repeat with
your left arm.
Strengthening Safely
Quadruped (Parts C and D):
Raise right leg off the floor (C).
Tighten your trunk muscles for
balance. Hold for three deep
breaths. Lower right leg and
repeat with your left leg.
For added challenge, raise your
left arm and your right leg at the
same time (D).
Repeat with your right arm and
left leg.
Strengthening Safely
Modified plank:
Lie on stomach. Raise yourself
up so you're resting on your
forearms and knees. Align head
and neck with back, and place
shoulders directly above elbow.
Tighten abdominal muscles.
Create resistance by pressing
elbows and your knees toward
one another. Neither should
move from their positions on
the floor. Hold for three deep
breaths
Return to the start position and
repeat.
Strengthening Safely
Modified plank:
Lie on stomach. Raise yourself
up while resting on forearms
and knees. Align head and neck
with back, and place shoulders
directly above elbow. Tighten
abdominal muscles.
Raise right arm off the floor (A).
Hold for three deep breaths.
Repeat with left arm.
Raise right leg off the floor (B).
Hold for three deep breaths.
Repeat with left leg.
More challenging, raise left arm
and right leg at the same time.
Repeat with right arm and left
leg.
Strengthening Safely
Side planks:
Lie on left side, raising yourself
onto your left forearm (A). Place
left shoulder directly above left
elbow, keeping shoulders, hips
and knees in alignment. Rest
right arm along side of body.
Tighten abdominal muscles.
Hold for 3 deep breaths. Repeat
on your right side.
More challenge, balance on left
hand. Raise hips off the floor
and extend right hand toward
the ceiling (B). Hold for 3 deep
breaths. Repeat on right side.
Strengthening Safely
Superman strengthens lower back:
Lie on stomach with a rolled
towel or a small pillow under
hips to support back. You might
also use folded towel to support
head. Tighten your abdominal
muscles.
Raise right arm off the floor (A).
Hold for three deep breaths.
Lower your right arm and repeat
with your left arm.
Raise your right leg off the floor
(B). Hold for three deep breaths.
Lower your right leg and repeat
with your left leg.
Strengthening Safely
Squat and reach:
Hold ball in front and bend
knees. Keep back straight and
arms parallel to the floor (A).
Don't let knees extend beyond
your feet. Tighten abdominal
muscles.
Rotate trunk and reach with the
ball toward your left (B). Hold
for three deep breaths. Return
to the starting position and
repeat to the right.
Vary the exercise by holding the
ball in a downward position (C)
or an upward position (D).
Strengthening Safely
Abdominal crunch:
Sit on the ball with feet resting
on the floor, about hip-width
apart. Keep back straight. Cross
arms on your chest. Tighten the
abdominal muscles.
Lean back, as shown, until you
feel muscles in your midsection
tighten. Hold for three deep
breaths.
Return to the starting position
and repeat.
Strengthening Safely
Bridge:
Lie on back with legs resting on
top of the ball. Tighten your
abdominal muscles.
Raise hips and buttocks off the
floor into a bridge (A). Hold for
three deep breaths. This works
your core muscles and muscles
along backside — gluteal
muscle and hamstrings contract
to keep you in place. Return to
the starting position and repeat.
More challenge, raise right leg
off the ball (B). Repeat with left
leg.
Strengthening Safely
Bridge with heal dig & fitness ball:
Lie on your back with legs
resting on top of the ball. Raise
hips and buttocks off the floor
into a bridge (A). Tighten your
abdominal muscles.
Keep hips off the floor while
pulling ball closer to buttocks
with your feet (B). Dig heels into
the ball for traction and engage
the muscles along the back of
thighs (hamstrings). Hold for
three deep breaths.
Return to the starting position
and repeat.
Strengthening Safely
Planks with fitness ball:
Lie on the ball on stomach, with
feet touching the floor behind
the ball. Lean forward until you
touch the floor with your hands.
Walk hands away from ball until
you feel ball reach upper thighs.
Keep feet suspended above the
floor while balancing on hands
and ball. Keep your shoulders
directly above your hands.
Tighten abdominal muscles.
Hold for 3 deep breaths or
longer for balance/form. Return
to starting position and repeat.
Strengthening Safely
Advanced planks with fitness ball:
Lie on the ball on stomach, with
feet touching the floor behind
the ball. Lean forward until you
touch floor with your hands
Walk hands away from ball until
ball reaches upper thighs (A).
Keep shoulders above hands.
Tighten abdominal muscles.
Push body weight forward until
shoulders are in front of hands
and ball beneath shins (B). Hold
for three deep breaths. Return
to the starting position and
repeat.
Strengthening Safely
Abdominal raise with fitness ball:
Lie on back and rest legs on top
of ball with legs about hip-width
apart. Tighten your abdominal
muscles. Squeeze legs together.
Raise ball off the floor. Protect
lower back by focusing on
pulling bellybutton toward spine
and keeping abdominal muscles
contracted. Hold for 3 deep
breaths. Return to start position
and repeat.
More challenge, raise ball off
floor and let legs slowly fall to
the right. Stop before reaching
floor. Hold for 3 deep breaths.
Return to the start position and
repeat on the left side.
Strengthening Safely
Side exercise with fitness ball:
Lie on your right side, with the
ball between your legs. Support
yourself with your arm along
the floor. Tighten abdominal
muscles.
Keeping ball between your legs,
raise your legs off the floor, as
shown. Hold for three deep
breaths.
Return to the starting position
and repeat. Also try the exercise
lying on your left side.
Strengthening Safely
Reverse crunch with fitness ball:
Lie on the ball on stomach, with
feet touching floor behind the
ball. Lean forward until you
touch floor with hands. Walk
your hands away from the ball
until ball reaches your upper
thighs. Keep shoulders directly
above your hands. Tighten your
abdominal muscles.
Press knees into the ball. Use
abdominal muscles to bring
knees toward chest. Hold for
three deep breaths. Return to
the starting position and
repeat..
References
Program development team consists of experts in
course content development and production, product
management, user experience and design.
Because physicians, scientists and other medical
experts dedicate their clinical time, the following
information, knowledge and experience comes :
Mayo Clinic – Minneapolis, MN
American Heart Association
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney
Diseases
National Institute on Aging
American College of Sports Medicine Physicians
Questions
Thank you for your participation. We hope you learned
how to prepare yourself before the season begins.
These simple strengthening exercises also can be done
before officiating each game to help improve both your
stamina, comfort, and overall performance.

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Baseball and Softball Officials' Offseason Strengthening Exercises

  • 1. Baseball and Softball Officials’ Offseason Strengthening Exercises Presented by: Bernard L. Fontaine, Jr., CIH, CSP, FAIHA Member of New Jersey State Federation of Umpires (NJSFU) and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA)
  • 2. Introduction Baseball and softball athletes are getting faster and stronger each year and as umpires we must be able to respond to the improved level of play. Umpires must commit themselves to personal fitness level befitting the game and the level of play. Health and fitness is a personal lifestyle commitment, not a seasonal endeavor. Umpires must be prepared in advance before the season begins, with only a few adjustments needed to be ready for that first pitch and game of the season.
  • 3. Fitness – 5 Steps Are you thinking about starting a fitness program during the offseason? Good for you! You're only five steps away from becoming a more proficient umpire. Assess your fitness level based on age and health Design your fitness program that works for you Assemble your resources – shoes, clothes, equipment Get started – slowly and buildup gradually Monitor progress of goals every 6 weeks Starting an exercise program is an important decision. But it doesn't have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
  • 4. Other Considerations Some things are essential for you to be successful in your endeavor maintain a healthy conditioned body. Get a medical clearance to carry out any exercises Identify both short and long term goals Identify your strengths and weakness Good nutrition Adequate sleep Enjoy the routine of exercise with music and dance As a general guide, strengthening should be done for 20 minutes 2-3 days a week
  • 5. Strengthening Safely Strength training can help tone muscles and improve appearance. Regular strength training program, can reduce body fat, increase bone strength, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently. Strength training doesn't take long. For most people, one set of strength exercises for all the major muscle groups (12-15 repetitions) and done at least two times a week is sufficient. Core-strength exercises strengthen core muscles, including abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. You can do many core- strength exercises with a fitness ball.
  • 6. Strengthening Safely Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Free weights and weight machines are popular strength and conditioning training tools, but they're not the only options. You can do strength training with inexpensive resistance tubing or even your own body weight. With proper technique over time, you may see noticeable improvements in your strength and stamina. If you have back problems, osteoporosis or any other health concern, talk to your doctor first before doing these core-strength exercises.
  • 7. Strengthening Safely To stretch your neck: Lie on back and place feet on a wall so that knees and hips are bent at 90-degree angles. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise head and shoulders off the floor. Avoid straining neck, cross arms on chest rather than locking them behind head. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the start position and repeat.
  • 8. Strengthening Safely Bridge exercise to improve core strength of several muscles in combination, try a bridge: Lie on back with knees bent (A). Keep back in a neutral position, not arched and not pressed into the floor. Avoid tilting hips. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise hips off the floor until hips are aligned with knees and shoulders (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the start position and repeat.
  • 9. Strengthening Safely Single-leg abdominal press: Lie on back with knees bent (A). Keep back in a neutral position, not arched and pressed into the floor. Avoid tilting hips. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise right leg off the floor so knee and hip are bent at 90o. Rest right hand on top of the right knee (B). Push hand against knee while using your abdominal muscles to pull knee toward your hand. Keep your arm straight. Hold for three deep breaths.
  • 10. Strengthening Safely Single-leg abdominal press (alt.): Opposite hand on opposite knee. Push right hand against left knee while pulling knee toward your hand (A). Push and pull across the center of body. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Repeat using other hand and leg. Hand on outside of knee. Place left hand along the side of left knee (B). Use hand to push leg inward. At the same time, create resistance by pushing knee away from the center. Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat using your other hand and leg.
  • 11. Strengthening Safely Double-leg abdominal press: Lie on back with knees bent (A). Keep back in a neutral position, not arched or pressed into the floor. Avoid tilting hips. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise legs off the floor, one at a time, so knees and hips are bent at 90o. Rest hands on top of knees (B). Push hands against knees while using abdominal muscles to pull knees toward hands. Keep arms straight. Hold for three deep breaths.
  • 12. Strengthening Safely Double-leg abdominal press (alt.): Opposite hands on opposite knees. Place each hand on the opposite knee, toward the inside of the knee (A). Arms will cross over each other. Push hands against knees while pulling knees toward hands. Hold for three deep breaths. Hands on outside of knees. Place hands along the sides of knees (B). Use hands to push knees inward. At the same time, create resistance by pushing knees away from the center. Hold for three deep breaths.
  • 13. Strengthening Safely Segmental rotation: Lie on back with knees bent and back in a neutral position. Tighten abdominal muscles. Keeping shoulders on the floor, let knees fall slowly to the left (A). Go only as far as is comfortable. Feel a stretch, but not pain. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the start position. Repeat the exercise to the right (B).
  • 14. Strengthening Safely Quadruped (Parts A and B): Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands directly below your shoulders, and align your head and neck with your back (A). Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise your right arm off the floor and reach ahead (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right arm and repeat with your left arm.
  • 15. Strengthening Safely Quadruped (Parts C and D): Raise right leg off the floor (C). Tighten your trunk muscles for balance. Hold for three deep breaths. Lower right leg and repeat with your left leg. For added challenge, raise your left arm and your right leg at the same time (D). Repeat with your right arm and left leg.
  • 16. Strengthening Safely Modified plank: Lie on stomach. Raise yourself up so you're resting on your forearms and knees. Align head and neck with back, and place shoulders directly above elbow. Tighten abdominal muscles. Create resistance by pressing elbows and your knees toward one another. Neither should move from their positions on the floor. Hold for three deep breaths Return to the start position and repeat.
  • 17. Strengthening Safely Modified plank: Lie on stomach. Raise yourself up while resting on forearms and knees. Align head and neck with back, and place shoulders directly above elbow. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise right arm off the floor (A). Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat with left arm. Raise right leg off the floor (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat with left leg. More challenging, raise left arm and right leg at the same time. Repeat with right arm and left leg.
  • 18. Strengthening Safely Side planks: Lie on left side, raising yourself onto your left forearm (A). Place left shoulder directly above left elbow, keeping shoulders, hips and knees in alignment. Rest right arm along side of body. Tighten abdominal muscles. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Repeat on your right side. More challenge, balance on left hand. Raise hips off the floor and extend right hand toward the ceiling (B). Hold for 3 deep breaths. Repeat on right side.
  • 19. Strengthening Safely Superman strengthens lower back: Lie on stomach with a rolled towel or a small pillow under hips to support back. You might also use folded towel to support head. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise right arm off the floor (A). Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right arm and repeat with your left arm. Raise your right leg off the floor (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right leg and repeat with your left leg.
  • 20. Strengthening Safely Squat and reach: Hold ball in front and bend knees. Keep back straight and arms parallel to the floor (A). Don't let knees extend beyond your feet. Tighten abdominal muscles. Rotate trunk and reach with the ball toward your left (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat to the right. Vary the exercise by holding the ball in a downward position (C) or an upward position (D).
  • 21. Strengthening Safely Abdominal crunch: Sit on the ball with feet resting on the floor, about hip-width apart. Keep back straight. Cross arms on your chest. Tighten the abdominal muscles. Lean back, as shown, until you feel muscles in your midsection tighten. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  • 22. Strengthening Safely Bridge: Lie on back with legs resting on top of the ball. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise hips and buttocks off the floor into a bridge (A). Hold for three deep breaths. This works your core muscles and muscles along backside — gluteal muscle and hamstrings contract to keep you in place. Return to the starting position and repeat. More challenge, raise right leg off the ball (B). Repeat with left leg.
  • 23. Strengthening Safely Bridge with heal dig & fitness ball: Lie on your back with legs resting on top of the ball. Raise hips and buttocks off the floor into a bridge (A). Tighten your abdominal muscles. Keep hips off the floor while pulling ball closer to buttocks with your feet (B). Dig heels into the ball for traction and engage the muscles along the back of thighs (hamstrings). Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  • 24. Strengthening Safely Planks with fitness ball: Lie on the ball on stomach, with feet touching the floor behind the ball. Lean forward until you touch the floor with your hands. Walk hands away from ball until you feel ball reach upper thighs. Keep feet suspended above the floor while balancing on hands and ball. Keep your shoulders directly above your hands. Tighten abdominal muscles. Hold for 3 deep breaths or longer for balance/form. Return to starting position and repeat.
  • 25. Strengthening Safely Advanced planks with fitness ball: Lie on the ball on stomach, with feet touching the floor behind the ball. Lean forward until you touch floor with your hands Walk hands away from ball until ball reaches upper thighs (A). Keep shoulders above hands. Tighten abdominal muscles. Push body weight forward until shoulders are in front of hands and ball beneath shins (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  • 26. Strengthening Safely Abdominal raise with fitness ball: Lie on back and rest legs on top of ball with legs about hip-width apart. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Squeeze legs together. Raise ball off the floor. Protect lower back by focusing on pulling bellybutton toward spine and keeping abdominal muscles contracted. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Return to start position and repeat. More challenge, raise ball off floor and let legs slowly fall to the right. Stop before reaching floor. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Return to the start position and repeat on the left side.
  • 27. Strengthening Safely Side exercise with fitness ball: Lie on your right side, with the ball between your legs. Support yourself with your arm along the floor. Tighten abdominal muscles. Keeping ball between your legs, raise your legs off the floor, as shown. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat. Also try the exercise lying on your left side.
  • 28. Strengthening Safely Reverse crunch with fitness ball: Lie on the ball on stomach, with feet touching floor behind the ball. Lean forward until you touch floor with hands. Walk your hands away from the ball until ball reaches your upper thighs. Keep shoulders directly above your hands. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Press knees into the ball. Use abdominal muscles to bring knees toward chest. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat..
  • 29. References Program development team consists of experts in course content development and production, product management, user experience and design. Because physicians, scientists and other medical experts dedicate their clinical time, the following information, knowledge and experience comes : Mayo Clinic – Minneapolis, MN American Heart Association U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases National Institute on Aging American College of Sports Medicine Physicians
  • 30. Questions Thank you for your participation. We hope you learned how to prepare yourself before the season begins. These simple strengthening exercises also can be done before officiating each game to help improve both your stamina, comfort, and overall performance.

Editor's Notes

  1. Baseball and softball athletes are getting faster and stronger each year and as umpires we must be able to respond to the improved level of play. With college softball the athletes never get older, but the umpires do, so we must commit to a level of personal fitness that is befitting the game that we have chosen to work. The players have made a commitment to be the best they can be and so must the officials that work the game. This commitment to our health and fitness should be a lifestyle commitment, not a seasonal endeavor. After all, the athletes prepare all year long for their season and so should the umpires. Making a lifetime commitment will assure that we are prepared when the season begins, with only a few adjustments needed to be ready for that first pitch and game. Many umpires spend hours readying their equipment, studying the rules and mechanics of the game, but how much time do we spend preparing our physical selves for the game? The physical preparation for the season must equal the mental preparation that we put forth. If we are overweight and out of shape, are we not showing a lack of respect for the game? When the extra pounds slow us down or being fatigued for the last few innings takes away our focus and we are not able to be at the top of our game, we are compromising the game and that is not fair to your partners or the teams. This presentation will hep prepare umpires during the offseason so that they are ready when assigned. The level of effort is not overwhelming but it must be accomplished to maintain the integrity of the game.
  2. Quick tips to getting started… 1. Get clearance from your personal physician to start a fitness program. 2. Determine your short term and long-term goals. 3. Commit to your program by designating a period of time each day to yourself and your workout. Even if it is only for 30 minutes. 4. Determine what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you know what you need to focus on and what you may need help in accomplishing. 5. Understand that nutrition is a very important component of any fitness program and commit to that part of the program as much as you do the workouts. 6. Find something that you ENJOY doing. If you don’t like to run, don’t force yourself to do that. There are plenty of other cardio options, so find one or two or three that you do ENJOY, or can tolerate and get moving. Actually doing a variety of cardio activities will boost your metabolism as well as help to prevent overuse injuries and help to prevent boredom
  3. Quick tips to getting started… 1. Get clearance from your personal physician to start a fitness program. 2. Determine your short term and long-term goals. 3. Commit to your program by designating a period of time each day to yourself and your workout. Even if it is only for 30 minutes. 4. Determine what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you know what you need to focus on and what you may need help in accomplishing. 5. Understand that nutrition is a very important component of any fitness program and commit to that part of the program as much as you do the workouts. 6. Find something that you ENJOY doing. If you don’t like to run, don’t force yourself to do that. There are plenty of other cardio options, so find one or two or three that you do ENJOY, or can tolerate and get moving. Actually doing a variety of cardio activities will boost your metabolism as well as help to prevent overuse injuries and help to prevent boredom
  4. Strength training can help tone muscles and improve appearance. Regular strength training program, can reduce body fat, increase bone strength, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently. Strength training doesn't take long. For most people, one set of strength exercises for all the major muscle groups (12-15 repetitions) and done at least two times a week is sufficient. Core-strength exercises strengthen core muscles, including abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. You can do many core-strength exercises with a fitness ball.
  5. Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Free weights and weight machines are popular strength and conditioning training tools, but they're not the only options. You can do strength training with inexpensive resistance tubing or even your own body weight. With proper technique over time, you may see noticeable improvements in your strength and stamina. If you have back problems, osteoporosis or any other health concern, talk to your doctor first before doing these core-strength exercises.
  6. To stretch your neck: Lie on back and place feet on a wall so that knees and hips are bent at 90-degree angles. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise head and shoulders off the floor. Avoid straining neck, cross arms on chest rather than locking them behind head. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the start position and repeat.
  7. Bridge exercise to improve core strength of several muscles in combination, try a bridge: Lie on back with knees bent (A). Keep back in a neutral position, not arched and not pressed into the floor. Avoid tilting hips. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise hips off the floor until hips are aligned with knees and shoulders (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the start position and repeat.
  8. Single-leg abdominal press: Lie on back with knees bent (A). Keep back in a neutral position, not arched and pressed into the floor. Avoid tilting hips. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise right leg off the floor so knee and hip are bent at 90o. Rest right hand on top of the right knee (B). Push hand against knee while using your abdominal muscles to pull knee toward your hand. Keep your arm straight. Hold for three deep breaths.
  9. Single-leg abdominal press (alt.): Opposite hand on opposite knee. Push right hand against left knee while pulling knee toward your hand (A). Push and pull across the center of body. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Repeat using other hand and leg. Hand on outside of knee. Place left hand along the side of left knee (B). Use hand to push leg inward. At the same time, create resistance by pushing knee away from the center. Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat using your other hand and leg
  10. Double-leg abdominal press: Lie on back with knees bent (A). Keep back in a neutral position, not arched or pressed into the floor. Avoid tilting hips. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise legs off the floor, one at a time, so knees and hips are bent at 90o. Rest hands on top of knees (B). Push hands against knees while using abdominal muscles to pull knees toward hands. Keep arms straight. Hold for three deep breaths.
  11. Double-leg abdominal press (alt.): Opposite hands on opposite knees. Place each hand on the opposite knee, toward the inside of the knee (A). Arms will cross over each other. Push hands against knees while pulling knees toward hands. Hold for three deep breaths. Hands on outside of knees. Place hands along the sides of knees (B). Use hands to push knees inward. At the same time, create resistance by pushing knees away from the center. Hold for three deep breaths.
  12. Segmental rotation: Lie on back with knees bent and back in a neutral position. Tighten abdominal muscles. Keeping shoulders on the floor, let knees fall slowly to the left (A). Go only as far as is comfortable. Feel a stretch, but not pain. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the start position. Repeat the exercise to the right (B).
  13. Quadruped (Parts A and B): Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands directly below your shoulders, and align your head and neck with your back (A). Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise your right arm off the floor and reach ahead (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right arm and repeat with your left arm.
  14. Quadruped (Parts C and D): Raise right leg off the floor (C). Tighten your trunk muscles for balance. Hold for three deep breaths. Lower right leg and repeat with your left leg. For added challenge, raise your left arm and your right leg at the same time (D). Repeat with your right arm and left leg.
  15. Modified plank: Lie on stomach. Raise yourself up so you're resting on your forearms and knees. Align head and neck with back, and place shoulders directly above elbow. Tighten abdominal muscles. Create resistance by pressing elbows and your knees toward one another. Neither should move from their positions on the floor. Hold for three deep breaths Return to the start position and repeat.
  16. Modified plank: Lie on stomach. Raise yourself up while resting on forearms and knees. Align head and neck with back, and place shoulders directly above elbow. Tighten abdominal muscles. Raise right arm off the floor (A). Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat with left arm. Raise right leg off the floor (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat with left leg. More challenging, raise left arm and right leg at the same time. Repeat with right arm and left leg.
  17. Side planks: Lie on left side, raising yourself onto your left forearm (A). Place left shoulder directly above left elbow, keeping shoulders, hips and knees in alignment. Rest right arm along side of body. Tighten abdominal muscles. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Repeat on your right side. More challenge, balance on left hand. Raise hips off the floor and extend right hand toward the ceiling (B). Hold for 3 deep breaths. Repeat on right side.
  18. Superman strengthens lower back: Lie on stomach with a rolled towel or a small pillow under hips to support back. You might also use folded towel to support head. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise right arm off the floor (A). Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right arm and repeat with your left arm. Raise your right leg off the floor (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right leg and repeat with your left leg.
  19. Squat and reach: Hold ball in front and bend knees. Keep back straight and arms parallel to the floor (A). Don't let knees extend beyond your feet. Tighten abdominal muscles. Rotate trunk and reach with the ball toward your left (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat to the right. Vary the exercise by holding the ball in a downward position (C) or an upward position (D).
  20. Abdominal crunch: Sit on the ball with feet resting on the floor, about hip-width apart. Keep back straight. Cross arms on your chest. Tighten the abdominal muscles. Lean back, as shown, until you feel muscles in your midsection tighten. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  21. Bridge: Lie on back with legs resting on top of the ball. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise hips and buttocks off the floor into a bridge (A). Hold for three deep breaths. This works your core muscles and muscles along backside — gluteal muscle and hamstrings contract to keep you in place. Return to the starting position and repeat. More challenge, raise right leg off the ball (B). Repeat with left leg.
  22. Bridge with heal dig & fitness ball: Lie on your back with legs resting on top of the ball. Raise hips and buttocks off the floor into a bridge (A). Tighten your abdominal muscles. Keep hips off the floor while pulling ball closer to buttocks with your feet (B). Dig heels into the ball for traction and engage the muscles along the back of thighs (hamstrings). Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  23. Planks with fitness ball: Lie on the ball on stomach, with feet touching the floor behind the ball. Lean forward until you touch the floor with your hands. Walk hands away from ball until you feel ball reach upper thighs. Keep feet suspended above the floor while balancing on hands and ball. Keep your shoulders directly above your hands. Tighten abdominal muscles. Hold for 3 deep breaths or longer for balance/form. Return to starting position and repeat.
  24. Advanced planks with fitness ball: Lie on the ball on stomach, with feet touching the floor behind the ball. Lean forward until you touch floor with your hands Walk hands away from ball until ball reaches upper thighs (A). Keep shoulders above hands. Tighten abdominal muscles. Push body weight forward until shoulders are in front of hands and ball beneath shins (B). Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  25. Abdominal raise with fitness ball: Lie on back and rest legs on top of ball with legs about hip-width apart. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Squeeze legs together. Raise ball off the floor. Protect lower back by focusing on pulling bellybutton toward spine and keeping abdominal muscles contracted. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Return to start position and repeat. More challenge, raise ball off floor and let legs slowly fall to the right. Stop before reaching floor. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Return to the start position and repeat on the left side.
  26. Side exercise with fitness ball: Lie on your right side, with the ball between your legs. Support yourself with your arm along the floor. Tighten abdominal muscles. Keeping ball between your legs, raise your legs off the floor, as shown. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat. Also try the exercise lying on your left side.
  27. Reverse crunch with fitness ball: Lie on the ball on stomach, with feet touching floor behind the ball. Lean forward until you touch floor with hands. Walk your hands away from the ball until ball reaches your upper thighs. Keep shoulders directly above your hands. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Press knees into the ball. Use abdominal muscles to bring knees toward chest. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat..
  28. There are many websites and other references and resources that you can access for information, but one that is very user friendly and reputable is: mayoclinic.com/health/fitness/MY00396. Program development team consists of experts in course content development and production, product management, user experience and design. Because physicians, scientists and other medical experts dedicate their clinical time, the following information, knowledge and experience comes : Mayo Clinic – Minneapolis, MN American Heart Association U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases National Institute on Aging American College of Sports Medicine Physicians
  29. If there are any questions regarding the information presented on this topic, please contact the presenter. Thank you for your participation in the course. We hope that you understand how some strengthening exercises can be done during the offseason. Baseball and softball umpires should use this information and knowledge to better prepare themselves and hopefully prevent injury during the season.