Grip strength is an under-appreciated attribute. Most baseball athletes spend too little time building up their forearms. It’s unfortunate, because being up to par here has a big carryover to increasing bat speed and control at the plate.
Feel your power as a hitter skyrocket with the following baseball-specific forearm exercises. They will have you walking around with a real pair of man hands in no time. (See how Joey Votto trains for bat control.)
Since all gyms have weight plates, you have no excuse for not incorporating this exercise into your current training program. (Learn all the proper mechanics in STACK’s Exercise of the Week: Plate Holds.)
- Holding a plate like a steering wheel
- Holding a plate in each hand
- Pinching two or more plates together
Increase the intensity by upping either the amount of weight or the length of time you hold it.
The Wheel of Death
This exercise won’t kill you; you’ll just wish it did after you’re done.
- Grab the edge of a plate with both hands
- Begin walking your hands clockwise around the plate for between 10 and 30 reps
- Switch directions and walk hands counter-clockwise for the same number of reps
Most grip training is focused on closing the hand, so I like that the Rice Bucket targets the finger extensors. If they are underdeveloped, it can lead to chronic elbow pain. (Grip and Rip With Rice Bucket Hand-Strengthening Exercises.)
- Dig hands into bucket full of uncooked rice (or sand)
- Start making fists as if you were trying to crush the rice
- If you don’t have a rice bucket (or don’t want to make your own), wrap a couple of rubber bands around your fingers and focus on opening your hands
When done correctly, they help develop a stronger grip as well as a stronger core, upper back and legs. (See STACK’s Exercise of the Week: Farmer’s Walk.)
- Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells or kettlebells
- Start walking, either for a set time or distance
- Maintain tight core and upright posture throughout
Thick Handle Training
This training style will send your grip strength through the roof. A number of products, like Fat Gripz and Grip4orce, allow you to modify a regular dumbbell or barbell by thickening the handle. In my opinion, these are worth the investment. If you don’t feel like dropping the cash, just wrap a towel around a dumbbell or barbell to the point where you can barely close your hand.