Should Baseball Players Warm Up With a Weighted Bat Part II

Last week I wrote about why warming up with a weighted bat on the on deck circle is not the best idea, at least from a scientific standpoint. Studies have proven that warming up with a weighted bat before an at bat does not increase bat speed. A lot of people were shocked by my post but understand the science behind the madness. As Yogi Berra said “Baseball is 90% mental — the other half is physical”. If you think that warming up with a weighted bat is going to help you square up a ball then go for it. It actually could benefit you by giving you the placebo effect.

What about training with weighted bats?

Many of you asked me if there is any merit behind training with a weighted bat. My quick answer is YES there can be but it really depends on the baseball player and their ability level. First off, let me ask you why you would even want to train with a weighted bat? Hopefully your answer is because you want to increase bat speed. Other than this reason there is no reason to train with a weighted bat.

With that said, I do not see any merit for little leaguers, middle schoolers and even high school level athletes to train with weighted bats. Instead, these athletes need to focus on learning and mastering their swing mechanics with their normal bat. By mastering their mechanics with their normal bat they will improve their motor skills which is the important to increasing bat speed. The best way for these athletes to increase bat speed is to simply get  them stronger in the weight room. Athletes that master their bodyweight through exercises like push ups, pull ups, hand walking,  and are progressively lifting heavier weights on big compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, military presses etc… will see improvements in bat speed. Once a solid foundation of strength and swing mechanics is established than training with a weighted bat is an option to help increase bat speed.

Unlike young and less skilled athletes than need to improve their general physical preparedness, advanced athletes can in fact train with weighted bats to improve bat speed. Since most high level college baseball players and professional athletes have a solid foundation of strength and physical preparedness, improvements in maximal strength will have a limited carryover to bat speed. Don’t get me wrong, maximal strength is always important to baseball players but in terms of increasing bat speed, reactive training and training with weighted bats may yield a more optimal results in high level athletes. Studies have shown that training with a weighted bat will allow advanced baseball players to make use of stored elastic energy. I would recommend that advanced athletes use a bat that is less than or equal to 10% heavier than your normal bat. So if you swing a bat that is 30 oz you would use a bat that is no heavier than 33oz. Be sure to start slow and progressively build. I would also suggest doing all weighted bat work off a hitting tee. Taking batting practice with a heavier bat may throw off your timing because while your reactions will be the same, your bat speed will be slower because of the extra weight. Even a few oz could throw off your timing.

Here is an example of how I would test drive a 12 week weighted bat program:

-Week 1 you may use your normal bat.

-Week 2 you may increase it by 1 oz,

-Week 3 you may increase it by 2 oz

-Week 4  you may increase it by 3 oz

-Week 5 go back to your normal bat and record the results with a radar gun.

-Weeks 6-12 repeat the process

Remember that you are your own guinea pig. Track your results to see how you progress over a 12 week span. Anything short of 12 weeks isn’t enough time to let things marinate. What works for somebody may not work for somebody else. Some baseball players may get better results from training with a lighter bat opposed to a weighted bat. Others may get better results by training with a combination of a weighted bat and a lighter bat. Find out what works for you!

Do you have any questions? Drop a comment below and I will be sure to get back to you!

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