Thursday, January 16, 2014

Improve Baseball Power, Playing Speed, Bat Speed and Arm Speed

If you want to be a great baseball player, power and speed training is crucial in the offseason.

Full Body Power Training

Every baseball player wants more power, speed and strength. Not every baseball player is training right for explosive power. If you need more power hitting the baseball, more speed running the bases or more quickness at your position then you need this power workout manual. The manual's drills, techniques and workouts are designed for advanced baseball players.

Baseball requires a series of rotational and lateral movements. Therefore, the baseball player needs a strong core to generate rotational and lateral speed and power.

The physical demands of baseball are: starting ability, acceleration, stopping, cutting, stride rate, stride length, sprinting form and speed endurance.  Most explosive movements occur after some other movement (swinging, sliding, etc.).

Rotational Power Training

Rotational power is obviously critical for baseball players.

You will need explosive levels of rotational core power to excel on the field. The medicine ball rotational throw should be done full speed to train your central nervous system and body to move faster and more explosive. The medicine ball rotational throw is an advanced exercise and should not be done by those athletes with inadequate body strength and core strength.

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place your left foot approximately one foot in front of your right foot.

2. Hold medicine ball with both hands and your arms slightly bent.

3. Swing ball over to the right hip and explosively underhand toss the ball forward to a partner or wall. Keep the stomach drawn in to maximize proper usage of muscle.

4. Catch ball on the bounce from your partner or wall and repeat immediately for the desired repetitions.

Improve Playing Speed

Work on improving your playing speed in all areas.

The speed demands of baseball are: starting ability, acceleration, stopping, cutting, stride rate, stride length, sprinting form and speed endurance.

Most explosive movements in baseball occur after some other movement such as swinging or sliding. Maximum running speed is rarely reached by a player except in the case of hitting a triple, inside-the-park homerun or running down a long fly ball. Therefore, starting ability, acceleration and lateral speed should be emphasized during speed training.

Bat Speed

Bat speed is much more than just swinging as hard as you can.  Power is producing force in the shortest amount of time.  

Bat speed can be improved with increased core strength, overall body strength and explosive power. Bat speed can also be improved with bat swing practice.

Training for power means that exercises are done at full speed. This trains your muscles to fire faster. For example, medicine ball exercises done at full speed improve your explosive core strength. This will improve your bat speed and arm speed.

It doesn't help you to continually get stronger if power development is not there also. Power, or speed strength (how fast your muscles can produce force) is one of the best physical predictors of success in sports (dynamic balance is another).

If you have strong legs, a weak core and a strong arm, you will have a power shortage when swinging a bat or throwing a ball. Strength and power must transfer from your legs to your core to your arms.

The plyometric workouts include exercises for the upper and lower body such as medicine ball throws, depth jumps, squat jumps, etc.

Arm Speed

If you want to add miles per hour (MPH) to your fastball or throws, add power to your body.

Just lifting weights and increasing arm strength won't automatically improve your arm speed and MPH. What you need is more power and explosion, or speed strength to improve your arm speed.

You will need strength and power in your legs, core and arm (particularly a strong shoulder). Power needs to be transferred from your legs through your core to your throwing arm. This will increase your arm speed and MPH. Many athletes have strong, powerful legs but weak cores.

Along with your weightlifting program, you need to include power exercises like squat jumps, sport-specific plyometric exercises and sport-specific medicine ball exercises. These power exercises should be performed at FULL SPEED.

Improve your throwing arm's MPH by "powerizing" your entire body.

Train hard and smart!

Download your FREE All-Star Baseball Power Workout Manual and improve your strength, power and explosiveness on the field!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Sports Fitness Hut

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