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Monday, March 1, 2010

5 Ways to Add Power to Baseball Swing and Improve Arm Strength

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Article Title: 5 Ways to Add Power to Baseball Swing and Improve Arm Strength
By Jack Perconte

If there is one thing I would have done differently in my major league career it would have been to consistently use a strength building program during the season. Understand that for most of my early career lifting weights was frowned upon for baseball players. Why that was I am not sure. Probably because people assumed that lifting weights would make players build muscle that would inhibit the long fluid actions ballplayers need. Anyway, gaining and maintaining strength for ball players is essential and can keep a baseball player physically and mentally strong throughout the season. The great number of games during the season often zaps a player's strength which may lead to mental fatigue as well.

Of course, the best way to develop strength and power is to swing the bat and throw the ball more. Performing repetitions of the actual skills of swinging and throwing will lead to strength. For players who want to be their best, there is no substitute for swinging and throwing more than your competition. From experience I have noticed baseball players who throw and swing more months (up to nine), are the players who increase their power and arm speed the most. It is a good idea to give the body and mind a two or three month break from the skill training, but the conditioning and strength work can continue year round.

However, it has been proven over the years that bigger, stronger, faster can be improved through a weight training program. With that in mind, following are some basic tips that players of all ages can use to develop power and arm strength without having to hire a personal trainer or buy expensive exercise equipment:

1. Much of the bat speed, control of the bat and throwing speed comes from the forearms, hands, wrists and fingers. Players can work on these areas by squeezing things. There are many useful items on the market designed to help, but squeezing a tennis ball or water out of a towel will work just as well. Doing this a few minutes a day will develop the strength that will make a difference with how to get the ball to "jump off the bat" and have a "livelier" fastball.

2. The next set of muscles to develop is the core muscles of the midsection. Doing fast hip turns while holding a weighted object are good. Gradual increases in the amount of weight held will develop this core strength. Old fashioned sit ups or any variation of those are beneficial too.

3. Most of the time we think of running exercises only for running speed. However, working on fast crossover steps and explosive first moves of the lower body are just as important for hitting power and throwing speed. Much power is generated by the muscles around the thighs and rear end. Using these muscles with explosive movements will help. Working on explosive crossover steps will develop fast hip rotation for both the hitter and pitcher.

4. Old-fashioned pushups are still great strengthening tools that are good for any and all ages. They will help develop the bigger muscles around the chest and shoulders. Performing different variations like hands wide, hands together and finger tip push ups will work on different muscles.

5. Finally, doing lunges and knee bends will help develop the leg and rear end muscles, which are a major source of power for both a hitter and pitcher.

After a few weeks of this conditioning and continued work on the fundamentals, players will notice the difference with increased bat and arm speed. Working to be bigger, stronger, faster and fundamentally sound will allow players to reach their full potential, without future regret of what they might have done differently.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick