Baseball Players: Use These Exercises to Improve Your Bat Speed

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With the world of scouting and recruiting focused on metrics now more than ever, bat speed matters.

A higher bat speed also means harder contact, so it should be a constant goal for almost any young player. But not every type of strength translates to a higher bat speed. It all starts with the lower half and works its way up the chain.

When it comes to increasing bat speed in the weight room, I believe these are the five big pillars:

  • Lower-Half Strength and Power
  • Core Strength, Stability and Power
  • Anterior Strength and Stability
  • Rotational Strength
  • Transfer of Power

Let's dive into each a little deeper.

Lower-Half Strength and Power

Both strength and power are vital for optimizing athletic ability. Both also need to be trained separately, and at different times of the year. Much like training speed, we need to first work on getting strong. Only then can we learn to apply that newfound strength rapidly to create greater bad speed.

In the early offseason (October through December), we train absolute strength with our ballplayers. This is when we need to put on some muscle mass and increase our max strength. Most movements in baseball (or all sports for that matter) start from the ground up, so strengthening the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings) is crucial. Your lower body is where the biggest, most powerful muscles lie. If you swing with just your upper half, you won't hit the ball very hard or far. Good luck finding a great power hitter in the MLB who doesn't have a respectable Deadlift or Hip Bridge. Here's a good demonstration of the former:

Once we've established a solid base of strength, only then can we start working on power. This is what takes bat speed and power to the next level.

On the other hand, just because you can Deadlift twice your body weight doesn't mean you're automatically going to be explosive at the plate. We need to learn to take that strength and apply it in a manner more specific to the hitting action. This includes things like Med Ball Throws to work on rotary power, as well as sprinting and jumping to incorporate the lower half.

Bottom line: Increasing your bat speed will be an uphill battle unless you're able to apply more force (power) into the ground.

Core Strength, Stability and Power

Contrary to popular belief, the core does not create force during the swing. Its primary responsibility is to transfer force from the lower half to the upper body, as well as create a great stable platform to swing from. In this section, we're going to look at a few key ways to train the core and better "groove" these patterns. When training the core with both our pitchers and position players in our offseason programs, three of the main areas we focus on are:

  • Anterior Strength and Stability
  • Rotational Strength
  • Transfer of Power

Anterior Strength and Stability

When an athlete's core strength and stability is compromised, it often causes alignment issues. This can limit range of motion elsewhere in the body. For example, it's often possible to get quick changes in an athlete's hip mobility just by working on their anterior core strength and stability. The Bear Crawl works on both while teaching the athlete to resist extension in the lower back, as well.

Rotational Strength

This drill allows the athlete to take some of the strength and stability we've developed anteriorly and apply it in a more rotary specific movement.

Transfer of Power

Now it's time to learn to put it all together. Without adequate transfer of power from the lower half to the upper half, we are losing tons of power. This exercise allows the athlete to groove the pattern and "feel" what correct transfer of power feels like while also strengthening key muscle groups at the same time.

If you want to increase your bat speed in the weight room, these are the areas you need to focus on. See ya in the gym!