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Posted by: Mark (mjury@amgen.com) on Wed Jan 6 11:55:12 2010

Having played baseball for many years, and having lifted all of my life (starting at 13), I can see how certain weight room workouts would slow down or tighten up one's swing to the point where they are not generating bat speed that they were previously generating. However, I do not believe that all weight/strength training will result in slower bat speed, and shorter hitting distances.

Explosive exercises (whether they be with weights, medicine balls, plyometrics, etc.) should be fine. As stated above, a 500 pound bench press will not translate much to bat speed/hitting power. However, overall muscular balance and fitness seems to be a baseline requirement for any serious athlete in almost any sport. I think it is a matter of training your muscles properly for maximum speed, combined with flexibility, and continual work on your swing. The trick is finding the exercise philosphy that works for you - weights, plyometrics, isometrics, etc. - and does not negatively impact swing speed. Lots of muscular, ripped baseball players still pound 400+ foot homeruns. The big hitters in the majors these days are not skinny dudes. I'm not saying that their size is the reason for their hitting power. I'm saying it does not seem to be negatively impacting them. Remember, the last 10 years has been about how steroids have allowed the Bonds, Sosas, Mcquires of the baseball world to hit 50, 60, 70 HR's a year. Sosa was very muscular in his hitting prime, and he still had a nice swing and great bat speed.




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