Baseball Swing Exercises to Improve Hitting Power

July 5, 2012

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Locating and driving a 90-mph fastball is one of the most impressive feats of hand-eye coordination in all of sports. It's the one skill where if you succeed only 30 percent of the time, you are considered elite.

The first step to improving your hitting is simply to practice hitting drills. Once you master making contact, you can add more pop and power to your swing with baseball exercises.

Training the Swing

A powerful swing starts with the lower body, continues up through the core and finishes with the upper-body swinging motion to hit the ball. This all has to occur in a split second while you locate the ball. Since it is so complex, even elite pros can lose their swing from time to time.

When training to increase your swing power, it's important that your exercises don't interfere with your swing mechanics. Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk, famed Olympic hammer thrower and coach, created a classification system for training complex sports movements, which can serve as a guideline for training the swing (1).

  • Competitive exercises are almost identical to the sport movement
  • Specialized developmental exercises break down the sport movement into separate parts
  • Specialized preparatory exercises train the same muscles as the sport movement, but don't imitate it
  • General preparatory exercises neither imitate nor train similar systems involved with the sport movement

Training too far in the specialized developmental or competitive area without guidance can do more harm than good by interfering with timing, mechanics and coordination. For instance, swinging a heavier bat seems like a great baseball swing exercise to improve strength and power. However, a heavy bat causes muscles to fire differently and will affect the timing of your regular swing.

To train in a way that does not interfere with your swing mechanics, it's best to use general and specialized preparatory exercises.

General Exercises

A skillful swing features quick and strong hips and wrists. Exercises that develop strong hips are the classic compound lower-body barbell lifts, such as the Squat, Deadlift and their variations.

As for the wrists, Sledgehammer Rotations and Wrist Curls will make sure you have the desired pop you want in your swing. Rice Digs (Rice Grabs) are another excellent way to strengthen the wrists, elbows and even shoulders.

Specialized Preparatory Exercises

Squats, Deadlifts and Sledgehammer Rotations are performed at a relatively slow speed compared to the actual swing. Specialized exercises transfer your strength into fast, sport-specific movements.

Med ball exercises are a great way to bridge the gap between weight room and on-field work without interfering with mechanics. These specialized baseball swing exercises closely simulate the actual movement, but not enough to cause issues with technique. While variations are nearly endless, the video below features three progressions:

  • The first involves a long load into a fast explosion
  • The second involves a long step back into a long load
  • The third involves a quick step back and a quick load

Keep your normal swing mechanics in mind when performing these exercises; e.g., step with your front foot and keep your front shoulder square. If you want to focus on your wrists, rebound with a light bat to help them fire faster.

Improve your swing with STACK's library of hitting drills.

Weeks 1-3

Day 1

Front Squats - 5x5
Back Extensions - 5x10
Sledge Hammer Rotations and Curls - 3x15

Day 2

Deadlifts - 3x3
Dumbbell Rear-Foot-Elevated Split-Squat - 2x8
Rice Digs - 1x1 Minute

Weeks 4-6

Day 1

Front Squats (lower volume than the above weeks) - 4x3
Back Extensions - 3x10
Med Ball Throws - 4x3 each side
Baseball Bat Rebounds (Up and Down)  - 2x10
Rice Digs - 1x1 Minute

Day 2

Deadlifts (lower volume than the previous weeks) - 2x2
Dumbbell Rear-Foot-Elevated Split-Squats - 2x15
Med Ball Throws (select another variation) - 4x3 each side
Baseball Bat Rebounds (Rotational) - 2x10
Rice Digs - 1x1 Minute

Source:

1) Bondarchuk, A. (2007). Transfer of Training. Ultimate Athlete Concepts.


Anthony Mychal
- Anthony Mychal is a writer, athlete consultant, teacher and coach. He has a M.S. in health and physical education, a B.S. in health and physical...
Anthony Mychal
- Anthony Mychal is a writer, athlete consultant, teacher and coach. He has a M.S. in health and physical education, a B.S. in health and physical...
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