Imagine standing at the plate staring down a pitcher with a 90-mph fastball hurdling toward you. You make slight adjustments to your form and positioning before taking a swing. In an instant, your bat connects with the ball, sending it screaming over the shortstop.
Hitting a baseball is one of the toughest skills in all of sport. The entire sequence, from the pitcher’s release of the ball to the contact with the bat, happens in the blink of an eye. This quick series of events combines two of the most important skills for a baseball player: hand-eye coordination and power development. Hand-eye coordination helps the batter locate the ball during its flight and appropriately maneuver the bat. The power element is crucial for adding distance to hits and building a well-rounded batter.
Unfortunately, power training is neglected by many players. Instead, most focus on keeping their shoulders healthy for a long, grueling season. This is not wrong, but neglecting to develop power ignores one of the major factors for success at the plate.
Add these four exercises to your routine to develop more power and add distance to your hits.
Stability Ball Cable Rotations
Stability Ball Cable Rotations are designed to increase core strength and improve stabilization. The core is responsible for generating much of the power throughout the swing motion, making it crucial for better batting. Use this exercise to improve stability and develop faster bat speed.
- Attach a single handle to a cable pulley set at chest height and grab it with your right hand.
- Grab a stability ball and hold it against your chest.
- Wrap the cable around the outside of the ball.
- Stand in your batting stance and line up your left shoulder perpendicular to the cable station.
- Keeping your stomach pulled in, twist your upper torso to the right in a swinging motion.
- Perform three sets of 10 reps to each side.
Cable Rotational Push-Outs
With this exercise, players have an opportunity to strengthen the motion and muscles involved in the baseball swing with weight. It is a great upper body rotational power exercise, which also helps to build stabilization through the lower body.
- Set up a cable with a rope attachment at elbow height.
- Position yourself in a batting stance with the cable to one side of your body.
- Grab the rope attachment with both hands.
- Rotate your torso away from the cable tower and extend your elbows as you go through your normal motion of the baseball swing.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Perform three sets of 10 reps on each side (even if you’re not a switch-hitter).
Landmines target the obliques, which are crucial to good rotational power and, hence, proper bat speed and strength.
- Place an Olympic bar into a landmine or against the corner of a wall to prevent the end from sliding around.
- Hold the bar at shoulder height with both hands and your arms extended.
- Assume an athletic stance with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.
- Rotate your midsection and hips as you move the weight all the way down to the outside of your hip.
- Keep your arms extended throughout the exercise.
- Aggressively rotate the weight to the other side of your body.
- Repeat for a total of five reps to each side.
- Start with three sets. If you’re having trouble keeping your arms straight throughout the exercise, lighten the weight to maintain proper form.
Medicine Ball Rotational Throws
The purpose of this exercise is to generate as much force as possible while going through the full motion of a baseball swing using a medicine ball. This quick and powerful motion will help you develop bat speed and more rotational force during your swing.
- Stand next to a wall holding a medicine ball in both hands in an athletic stance.
- Similar to a baseball swing, wind up by rotating the ball away from the wall.
- Explosively pivot your hips, midsection, and shoulders to forcefully throw the ball against the wall.
- Pick up the ball and repeat.
- Aim for three sets of 10 reps on each side.
Combine these exercises with drills from STACK.com/Hitting-Drills to improve both your power and batting average.