Creating Power in the Swing – Part 1

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

Albert Pujols

My partner and I are polar opposites. This happens to work perfectly in our business, as he is more of a “data geek”, crunching numbers and watching trends while I, from spending many years in the trenches (the weight room), approach things from a much more “strength-based” direction.  I think this is a great marriage when it comes to the success we’ve attained in helping athletes become stronger and more explosive.

Power in the Swing 1 2

I attribute a large part of this success to the fact that we both have a mutual respect for science and sport but also understand that the underlying factor in all things powerful and explosive when it comes to performance is “STRENGTH”. It’s the foundation that athleticism is built on and there can be no better example of this than hitting a baseball and I don’t mean just making contact, I mean hitting the ball… HARD!!

(A-Rod)

This spring and summer while our guys were out crushing it on the field, Mike Rozema, my partner and I worked to develop a new program focusing on increasing bat speed as well as exit velocity (click here for more info on this program).

While mobility/stability issues need to be addressed and are equally as crucial (for a quick refresher course please click here and click here), today we’re going to take a look at how and why training strength and power/explosiveness are the other key factors in creating a powerful swing. So, without further ado…

We all know that barreling up on the ball is vital, but much less effective if you lack:

  • Maximum Strength (loading Phase)
  • Power/Explosiveness (un-loading phase)

As far as strength and power go, both are vital to optimizing your swing mechanics. Both also need to be trained separately and at different times of the off-season.

Phases of the Swing – Without getting into batting mechanics (I’ll leave that to Mike Rozema), strength and power are intertwined throughout, but each is dominant in different phases of the swing.

Loading Phase – An important aspect of the loading phase is how the swing loads through the heel plant. This requires maximum strength in order to eccentrically load and accept the force coming into the ground. This will then be used as elastic energy when unloading.  A weak posterior chain (glutes/hamstrings) will create an energy leak during this phase thus robbing the athlete of much needed stored energy. While a stronger posterior helps with mobility/stability issues by helping to create a strong, stable base of support.

(Loading Phase)

Unloading Phase – An elite swing allows for optimal power while allowing the most time for pitch recognition. Many times this is the shortest swing possible (approximately 0.167 sec) in terms of time and distance. This my friends is THE definition of power/explosiveness.

Power = Work over Time

Forward movement is initiated and concentric force production (i.e “power“) becomes the key player.

(Unloading Phase)

In Part 2, we will look at these 2 training variables individually and go over how we develop them sequentially.

See ya’ at the gym…

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