3 Great Ways to Improve Power and Bat Speed – Part 1

By Nunzio Signore (B.A., CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)

Bat Speed Blog Image - 1Creating power and great bat speed involves many things.  Electromyography testing (a technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles) regarding “the baseball swing” and upper body involvement shows that the role it plays is minor compared to that of the lower body. Studies by Shaffer et al. (click here for report summary) stated “an emphasis should be placed on the trunk and hip muscles for a batter’s strengthening program.”

Thus, improving hip mobility, strengthening the lower body (here on out referred to as “posterior chain), improving t-spine rotation and developing a strong core and of course working with a great hitting coach, can go a long way in helping you round the bases. Today we’re going to touch on three of these bullet points to try and help you get to where you need to be.

1. Lower Body Strength – The fast twitch muscle fibers (used for quick, explosive movements) of the posterior chain are where a majority of our power in the swing is generated from.

Exercises such as deadlifts and hip bridges focus on the same muscles (glutes, hamstrings and core) that are the major players in the forward phase of the swing as well as creating rotation. Learning to use “the big muscles to do these big jobs” is crucial in order to avoid using the smaller accessory muscles and increasing the risk of injury.

(Trap Bar Deadlift)

2. T-Spine Rotation– Very similar to pitching or any other movement involving rapid rotation, improving t-spine mobility (creating rotation where you want it), and rotary stability (the ability to resist rotation where you don’t want it) will prevent an athlete from getting that rotation from their lower lumbar region and avoiding lower back and oblique strains.

Bat Speed Blog Image - 2

Ball/cable rotations teach both t-spine rotation and rotary stability:

(Ball/Cable Rotations)

3. Strengthening the Core – The core is at the center of all this by creating a pathway for the transfer of power from the lower body, up through the core to the upper body. Hitting coaches call this “creating good separation”. This exercise basically puts it all together.

(Dynamic Cable Lift)

A great hitting coach can “drive the car”, but not if the car isn’t fully tuned up and ready to go. Getting strong and mobile is the key.

See ya in the gym.