Baseball Exercises for Hitting Strength and Bat Speed
I am not a big fan of adding a weight to the baseball bat for the common use of swinging the bat. This added weight tends to drag the barrel of the bat through the hitting zone, causing an uppercut for weaker players and slowing bat speed on all swings. Of course, a few swings with the weighted bat, as taken in the on deck circle, creates no harm, and has the confidence boosting effect of swinging the bat faster after the weight is removed.
However, I am a fan of using the added weight for other uses including, shoulder warm up, stretching, hand and forearm strength building, understanding the correct bat position before the swing and understanding the bat path to contact. An added bonus is that ballplayers can easily do these exercises when watching TV, as long as enough room is available.
After some initial warm up and stretching exercises, these drills are great for building hand, wrist, and forearm strength. The arm remains straight for most exercises, with the bat lifted to shoulder height. By maintaining a straight arm the wrist area is isolated, which is the goal of the strengthening drills. The slower the exercises are performed and the longer the bat is held in position, the better for building sustained strength.
Baseball Exercises for Hitting – Forearm Strength
Players should begin by choking up on the bat to where they can perform the drills correctly and gradually move towards the knob of the bat as they gain strength. Of course, young players can begin these without an added weight, until they gain the strength to be able to keep their arm straight and make the lifts with the hand, wrist, and forearm only. Very important of course, is that players work to strengthen each hand because it is common for one hand to be stronger than the other is. Players may have to choke up with their weaker hand more, at first.
Notice other objects work as an end of bat weight, although players should never take regular swings with taped on devices. Players must understand this before using the added weight.
I also like to use the weighted bat to help hitters understand the correct bat position before swinging and the bat path to contact. With bat held correctly with the knob pointed down, players will notice the bat is light even with the added weight. If they incorrectly raise the knob up, they will be unable to hold the bat for very long without great fatigue in the hands.
Along the same lines, I have hitters guide the bat in slow motion from hitting position to palm-up, palm down contact position in order to understand a good swing, which takes the bat barrel on a compact path to contact. A lack of strength incorrectly drops the bat barrel away from the hitters head and they will immediately feel the added strain in the hands from this lack of control. This drill especially stresses the strength in the top hand, the hand that controls the bat barrel. This guiding bat action builds hand strength, also.