Do Donuts Improve Bat Speed?

April 6, 2011

Hitting a baseball is arguably the most difficult task in all of sports. That’s why hitters are willing to do whatever it takes to improve their bat speed, so they can get around on a blazing fastball, like Albert Pujols.

Despite what your friends might tell you, putting a weighted donut on the end of your bat and taking a bunch of hard practice cuts like you’re the Great Bambino himself won’t help you at the plate. In fact, research shows it might even work against your goal of a faster bat.

Subjects were given several different bats—a standard bat, an aluminum bat, a fungo bat and a bat with a donut ring. Each was instructed to warm up with various stretches for one minute, like most batters do in the on-deck circle, then to swing three consecutive times before stepping into the batter’s box. During the experiment, the subjects took three swings hitting a ball off a tee, attempting to reach maximum velocity, and rested for 20 seconds between swings to simulate a game situation.

Researchers found that no warm-up technique proved significantly better than any other. Instead, they pointed to previous studies, which showed that adding a donut ring, or any other weight-altering device, actually slows bat speed and can negatively alter swing mechanics. Since baseball is a highly mental game filled with personal rituals, the study ultimately recommended using whatever makes you feel comfortable.

To be clear, we’re only talking about the practice of placing weight on your bat during warm-up in the on-deck circle—not during pre-season practice. Think of a professional weightlifter Bench Pressing heavy weight for three reps prior to doing Push-Ups. The obvious concern is that the weightlifter will fatigue the muscles necessary to do his best in the Push-Ups. It’s an extreme example, but the same logic applies to a hitter taking a bunch of cuts with added weight before stepping up to the plate.

Again, we’re not advocating burying your donut in the backyard. We’re just debunking a myth about the benefits of adding weight to warm-up swings.

For donut fans, check out this hitting drill from Cardinals 2B Skip Schumaker, who uses a donut while hitting off a tee to improve his grip strength and bat speed.

Tee Drill With Donut

• Focus on hitting line drives up the middle
• Keep head still and eyes on ball

Sets/Reps: 1x50

Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Must See
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 5,843,109
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 7,467,566
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 6,408,434

Featured Videos

James Harden Resisted Euro-Step James Harden Resisted Euro-Step Views: 27,251
Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 22,312
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,074
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,332,792
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,498,870
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,228,339
Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling
Views: 1,174,469
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 890,413

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Training Tool: SKLZ Recoil 360

Training Tool: SKLZ Recoil 360

Pros and Cons of Using a Weightlifting Belt

Pros and Cons of Using a Weightlifting Belt

Your High School Weight Room Is Inadequate

Your High School Weight Room Is Inadequate

12 Must-Have Items in the Athlete's Gym Bag

12 Must-Have Items in the Athlete's Gym Bag

Previewing the Armour39

Previewing the Armour39

8 Training Innovations Shaping the Future of Fitness

8 Training Innovations Shaping the Future of Fitness

Push-Up Equipment That Works

Push-Up Equipment That Works

6 Ways to a Better High School Weight Room

6 Ways to a Better High School Weight Room

Under Armour's Armour39 Helps Athletes Get Better

Under Armour's Armour39 Helps Athletes Get Better

Previewing the New Fitbit Flex

Previewing the New Fitbit Flex

3 Pieces of Inexpensive, Effective Football Training Equipment

3 Pieces of Inexpensive, Effective Football Training Equipment

Guide to Training on Different Surfaces

Guide to Training on Different Surfaces

5 Fitness Trackers That Are Worth the Money

5 Fitness Trackers That Are Worth the Money

New Cirrus Yoga Mats Let You Show Team Spirit

New Cirrus Yoga Mats Let You Show Team Spirit

Best Baseball Equipment for Pitchers

Best Baseball Equipment for Pitchers

Short on Workout Equipment? Try These Tips

Short on Workout Equipment? Try These Tips

VertiMax CEO Mike Wehrell on Life After Football

VertiMax CEO Mike Wehrell on Life After Football

Improve Your Batting Average With a One-Handed Bat

Improve Your Batting Average With a One-Handed Bat

Embrace Contact in Basketball With This Tool

Embrace Contact in Basketball With This Tool

3 Specialty Barbells That Build Strength and Size

3 Specialty Barbells That Build Strength and Size

Common Lifting Accessories and What They Do For You

Common Lifting Accessories and What They Do For You

A Simple Home Gym Setup and Workout

A Simple Home Gym Setup and Workout

Fitbit Surge vs. Charge HR: Which One Is Right for You?

Fitbit Surge vs. Charge HR: Which One Is Right for You?

A Field Guide to Weird Looking Weightlifting Bars

A Field Guide to Weird Looking Weightlifting Bars

Weight Room Debate: Should You Wear Lifting Gloves?

Weight Room Debate: Should You Wear Lifting Gloves?

One Piece of Home Exercise Equipment Every Athlete Needs

One Piece of Home Exercise Equipment Every Athlete Needs

Short on Workout Equipment? Try These Tips, Part 2

Short on Workout Equipment? Try These Tips, Part 2

Nike+ FuelBand Tracks Your Everyday Activity

Nike+ FuelBand Tracks Your Everyday Activity

17 Insanely Expensive College Athletic Training Facilities

17 Insanely Expensive College Athletic Training Facilities

Basketball Workout: Vary Your Equipment

Basketball Workout: Vary Your Equipment

Show Your Team Pride With a Cirrus Stability Ball

Show Your Team Pride With a Cirrus Stability Ball

Short on Workout Equipment? Try These Tips, Part 3

Short on Workout Equipment? Try These Tips, Part 3

Spend Less, Get Stronger

Spend Less, Get Stronger

5 New Game-Changing Fitness Inventions

5 New Game-Changing Fitness Inventions

REVIEW: Harbinger Padded Real Leather Lifting Straps

REVIEW: Harbinger Padded Real Leather Lifting Straps

The Best Home Exercise Equipment For Under $200

The Best Home Exercise Equipment For Under $200

You Need These 4 Fitness Training Accessories

You Need These 4 Fitness Training Accessories

Fitbit Force: They Got it Right

Fitbit Force: They Got it Right

Spark Motion Takes Baseball Training to the Next Level

Spark Motion Takes Baseball Training to the Next Level

Mayfield Wildcats Get a New Training Home

Mayfield Wildcats Get a New Training Home

The Most Overrated Equipment in the Gym

The Most Overrated Equipment in the Gym

The Best Workout You're Not Doing

The Best Workout You're Not Doing

A Better Foam Roller: the enso Roller by EvoFit, Reviewed

A Better Foam Roller: the enso Roller by EvoFit, Reviewed

Battle-Tested Workout Equipment You Can Make Yourself

Battle-Tested Workout Equipment You Can Make Yourself

YardBarker