If you’re a baseball player I am sure you are familiar with the saying “See the ball, hit the ball”. However, once you start progressing in your baseball career, a little extra muscle comes in handy and you can start utilizing a number of exercises that will improve your swing, grip, and hitting power! Let’s focus on three main muscle areas that can help you to improve your baseball swing:
✓ Balance of your body
Baseball Swing Drills
First up is strengthening the grip or your forearm strength in general. Having a strong grip will not only help you with being able to relax while holding the bat, but also to improve the bat speed and general coordination of your swing. A number of exercises can be used to strengthen your grip and forearm strength. I will focus on some of the main exercises that helped me to improve my grip tremendously.
Let’s first talk about some tools you can take with you on-the-go that may not be as effective as lifting, but provide you with options to get better wherever you may be, even if you do not have an access to the gym!
✓ Adjustable Hand Gripper
This is probably one of the most convenient, inexpensive, and useful tools for improving grip strength and strengthening forearms. You can carry this around in your backpack or even a pocket anywhere you go and it allows you to work on your grip throughout the entire day. Since you can only get to the gym certain times a day, this allows you to have your grip workout with you at all times!
One of the big advantages of this tool is that you can change the resistance of the gripper to challenge yourself and progress as your grip gets stronger. The grip is an essential element of guiding the bat through the right path and being able to control the bat more accurately.
✓ Exercise balls – PowerBall
These exercise balls allow you to expand your on-the-go arsenal of forearm strengthening tools. Very convenient and fairly cheap, the PowerBall allows you to spin it with your hand in a circular motion as fast as desired. The higher the speed, the more challenging the exercise gets. One of the reasons why I always liked to exercise with this tool is that by positioning your hand in a variety of angles and directions while exercising, your entire forearm and even your shoulders can get a good workout.
However, using the PowerBall can get rather noisy as the faster spinning of the ball makes a sort of humming sound. Overall a great tool to utilize for a stronger grip and strengthening your forearm muscles!
Exercises With Weights
You can perform countless exercises with weights and dumbbells to increase your forearm strength. Some of them may be more challenging than others, but simply try to find your favorites and focus on progressing in those. Here are some of my favorite exercises that helped me to build stronger forearms and grip and improved my baseball swing.
✓ Farmer’s Walk
A great exercise for endurance that works not only your forearms, but also the back muscles and shoulders. You simply pick up a weight that you can hold for about a minute and walk back and forth certain distance. This exercise works great if you try to challenge yourself with heavier dumbbells or weight plates and see how long you can hold them while walking. You can aim to walk with heavier dumbbells and hold them for 45 second or so. If you go heavier you can slightly decrease the amount of time holding the weights, but make sure to challenge yourself, the forearms will thank you later after they stop burning!
Note: A very similar exercise is just picking up heavy dumbbells and holding them for a specified amount of time. Set a timer up, pick up the weight, hold, and challenge yourself!
✓ Seated Forearm Curls
These exercises isolate the forearm muscles and focus strictly on the forearm strength and mobility. Simply place your forearm on your quad, holding a dumbbell in front of your knee. Roll down the dumbbell to the tips of your fingers and roll it back up and squeeze the forearm. If you focus on letting the dumbbell slide to the tip of your fingers and rolling it all the way up, you can build your strength up fairly quickly!
✓ Behind the back wrist curls with a barbell
Another great and very effective way to work on your forearm strength and mobility. This exercise utilizes the same concept as the seated forearm curls, although you exercise with a barbell behind your back. Since you are using both hands, this exercise allows you to use a little more weight and make rolling up the weight more challenging than the single handed wrist curls. Focusing on rolling the weight from the tip of your fingers all the way up is a key concept to remember and to maximize the efficiency of the exercise.
Core and Balance
Another part of the body that you want to focus on is your core and balance. One of the key elements of progressing in the sport and improving your baseball abilities. Having a strong core allows you to utilize your body faster and stronger while swinging the bat or throwing the baseball. Efficient strengthening of your core and balance can assist your hips in twisting the body and providing that extra benefit in swinging. Let’s look at some exercises you can perform to strengthen your core, improve your overall balance, and to polish your baseball shape!
✓ Trunk Twists
You can either perform these while standing with your back against the wall or on the mat in a sitting position, with your knees bent and legs extended in front of you.
If standing, you want to grab a weighted ball or a weight plate and rotate to your left and right side. If you’re sitting down, lift your feet up from the ground and perform the twists while trying to touch the ground beside your left and right hip. To increase the difficulty of these exercises simply add a weight. A good place to start would be to perform 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps each side.
✓ Abdominal Exercises
A number of exercises to strengthen your core are at your disposal. I usually like to mix the abdominal exercises each session to prevent repetitiveness and enjoy the workouts even more! Great exercises would be planks, hanging leg raises, sit ups, or toe touches. The important part of performing these exercises is to focus on good form and contracting the muscle instead of doing a high quantity of low-quality reps.
✓ BOSU Exercises
A rather unusual tool can, however, be highly effective in increasing your balance and enabling you to utilize your body as a whole more efficiently. You can perform ab exercises with BOSU, general balance exercises, and even full body workouts using just your body weight that can improve your overall strength. Personally, I incorporated BOSU balance exercises into my routine on weekly basis to help me recover from knee injuries and to learn how to better utilize my full body.
Last but not least, let’s focus on improving explosiveness and overall power with these essential compound exercises.
The fundamental exercise for improving and strengthening your lower body and working on explosiveness. Leg strength is a crucial component of any baseball player as it can result in throwing harder, running faster, or hitting the baseball with more power behind the bat! Having a strong lower body will help you to improve your overall baseball game and work on your fast-twitch muscles that are essential for such a dynamic game. Whenever I started focusing on performing squats to build explosiveness it resulted in positive changes in my baseball swing, running speed, and better throwing in general.
✓ Power Clean
Great exercise to work on your explosiveness and power. Utilizing your whole body, this staple powerlifting exercise is necessary to implement into a workout routine! Along with squats, lunges, and deadlifts, power cleans will strengthen your entire body and allow you to build up the power you need to swing harder, hit the ball further, and throw faster! Power cleans are definitely a great compound exercise to implement in your workouts that will help you tremendously with your overall baseball skills.
Take Home Message
Even though certain exercises and tools can assist you in improving your baseball swing, the most important component of the whole process is to utilize the pieces together and to actually practice the swing. No matter how many exercises you do, it cannot substitute hard work in a baseball cage and hours of practicing your swing and shaping the craft!
However, now you have several extra tools that can give you the edge in your game and push your baseball abilities yet a little further. Implement some of these exercises in your routines, focus on getting better in your explosive lifts, strengthening your core, utilizing the balance exercises, and improving your grip and you are on your way to becoming a more polished and better baseball player! Do not neglect the practice, simply use these tools to assist you in your baseball career!