this day of age in baseball, power is the most common term best used to
describe the top batters. Strong powerful core, legs, and hips are the
keys to unleashing tape measure home runs at a record pace. Baseball is
a ballistic sport that involves quick, explosive, and reactive movements.
The ability to generate this power, the product of force and velocity,
is essential to becoming a successful power hitter. How do they do it?
They do it in the weight room, increasing their strength and sport specific
power. Here are some exercises to help increase your power at the plate.
Prescription for Added Power at the Plate
To generate more power
at the plate various training modalities are used to increase power output.
Strength training, plyometrics, Olympic lifting, dynamic medicine ball
training, and sport specific training can be included in a training program
to improve hitting power.
Strength and Flexibility
When prescribing a
conditioning program for a hitter, we must first build a solid foundation
of strength and flexibility. To optimize power potential, the athlete
must be flexible, especially through the hips, gluteals, hamstring and
core. Often tight hip flexors inhibit power potential by not allowing
the hips to open up explosively during follow through. On the strength
side exercises such as the squat, rotational lunge, deadlift are great
multi joint exercises that target the power center of the body.
can increase power output at the plate. Squat Jumps, Split squat jumps,
and tuck jumps are great exercises for lower body power development.
The Split Squat
can add Olympic lifts to their program, but make certain that the athlete
is first instructed on technique by a qualified strength coach. Movements
from the hang position are great additions, the hang clean, and the hanging
high pull work at opening the hips up explosively.
Hanging High Pulls
Medicine ball training
is great for rotational work. Medicine balls can be used for rotational
movements such as wood choppers, side medicine ball throws, and rotational
abdominal work. The weight transfer movement that occurs when hitting
can be overloaded with a medicine ball for enhanced rotational power.
Med Ball Rotation
The finishing touches
on the program is the swinging movement itself. The previous descriptions
have detailed different movements of the baseball swing, now with specific
exercises we can put it all together. Using a bat, light bat or the Speed Bat, we can perform a bat speed program that uses the power generated
from all of the different components trained and polishes the final product:
a more powerful swing. By following a bat speed program using the Speed Bat we focus on increasing bat speed and ultimately increasing power
at the plate. Try 10 swings with the Speed Bat followed by 10 swings
with the athletes normal bat. Try imagining swinging at pitches
low and away, high, inside etc. for full sport specific adaptation.
By training to the
specific demands of hitting by combining various types of training techniques,
power output at the plate can be increased. A comprehensive training program
that incorporates all aspects of training mentioned above will lead to
increase performance in the batters box.
Mike Gough BSc, CSCS,
CFC CFC is the director of Optimum Performance Specialists (www.optperformance.com).
Mike currently consults with amateur and professional athletes on sports
performance conditioning programs. He recently worked with the NBAs
Toronto Raptors and MLBs Cleveland Indians. He can be reached via