A Power System
Reader Old Dave shares the following:
I came across an article recently that nicely summarizes what I’ve been reading about for the last few years: Resistance Training to Develop Increased Bat Velocity.
“Strength/power can be developed by implementing various forms of resistance training. Baker (1) stated that resistance training exercises can be classified into three categories; general, special, and specific. In order to develop strength/power, a combination of the three resistance training exercises should be implemented. “General” resistance training increases overall strength by using traditional exercises such as squats, deadlift, bench press, and rows. “Special” resistance training is designed to develop power, once strength has been improved, through the use of explosive exercises such as the snatch and clean and jerk lifts, ballistic resistance training like throwing medicine balls, and plyometric exercises. Finally, “specific” resistance training incorporates a training stimulus that mimics actual game motions and their velocities. For hitting, this can be accomplished by using underweighted and overweighted baseball bats.”
Given a reasonable range of weight and length for a bat (or your stick), increasing the speed produces the most significant increase in power. And given a reasonable level of strength and fitness, practicing your swing is the best way to deliver the most power to your target. So, spend a little time with general and special training, but put most of your time in the sport itself.
There is a chart of general exercises at the end of the article…maybe a little more than you need to do. I like the whole body exercises, and one of the best is a low-tech easy to do, Farmers Walk. Grab a couple of heavy objects, like large full milk cans, or dumbbells, or pails of water or sand, or large bags of water softener salt, and walk with them for, say 60-90 seconds. The big boys on the World’s Strongest Man contest have their body weight or more in each hand. You know if you’ve got the right weight if you’re not sure you can make your time or distant without dropping them. It’s a total body exercise, including your grip.
For me, the critical quote is here:
“Given a reasonable range of weight and length for a bat (or your stick), increasing the speed produces the most significant increase in power.”
All else being equal, you want to get the bat/stick moving as fast as possible. From articles similar to Dave’s, the ideal bat weight is between 13 and 17 ounces.
The article makes the point that weight lifting, strength training, resistance training does positively affect performance. For years misconceptions prevailed that weight lifters had no flexibility, that they had big muscles but no real strength, or that you could be more muscular without it improving your performance in the sport or sports you participate in. Author John Little helps to dispel these myths in his book here.
And you should be swinging the stick like a bat, with both hands. This may be controversial. It was not the way I was originally trained. I know it runs contrary to the methods of some masters. I am not going to get into “my style is better than yours” arguments. I just think we need to look objectively at what is the most powerful strike possible.
Against a charging opponent you may get just one shot. I want to make that shot as strong as possible.