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Getting Powerful at the Plate

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

In 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.

The Squat


Plyometric training 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 Jump

Olympic Lifting

Experienced lifters 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

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

Sport Specific Training

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 athlete’s 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 batter’s box.

About Mike Gough

Mike Gough BSC, CSCS, CFC – CFC is the director of Optimum Performance Specialists. Mike currently consults with amateur and professional athletes on sports performance conditioning programs. He recently worked with the NBA's Toronto Raptors and MLB's Cleveland Indians.

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