Does Grip Strength = Bat Speed?Jul 26, 2023
Does Grip Strength Matter?
Because when I was younger, I thought I needed to have forearms like Big Mac (below) in order to hit bombs.
How Important is Grip Strength for Hitters?
I always thought rice buckets, wrist curls, plate holds, and farmers' carries were the big emphasis in the weight room.
I remember focusing more on that than anything else I did. I thought the stronger my grip was, the faster my bat speed would be, which would = more power!
Logically, that makes sense.
Unfortunately, I wasted much time that, in the end, didn’t make that big of a difference.
Today, we’re going to look at some of the research that’s been done on grip strength and if it correlates to more bat speed and exit velocity.
The study examined the relationship of grip strength at various arm angles to various hitting performance metrics.
The study had D1 college baseball players perform dominant and non-dominate maximal grip strength at five different arm and forearm orientations utilizing the Jamar Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer.
At each angle, 3 attempts were permitted to exert maximal force.
Here are the positions that were tested:
90-degree elbow flexion
120-degree elbow extension with 90-degree shoulder abduction
Blast Motion bat sensors were put on the end of each bat to track bat speed, and Yakkerteck was used to track average exit velocity and max exit velocity.
Conclusion of the study:
Non-dominant neutral, non-dominate pronated, and non-dominant supinated significantly influenced metrics among the tested grip strength positions.
Think of it this way, the non-dominant hand is the engine, and the dominant hand is the steering wheel.
They found that the engine (NDN, NDP, NDS) was more important than the steering wheel (DN, DP, DS) in producing force.
I read another study that was done back in 2004.
Here’s how the study was set up.
23 male members of a D2 College Baseball team were put into a control group and an experimental group. Each player's grip strength was tested initially using a Jamar hand dynamometer.
For 6 weeks, both groups practiced as they regularly would with their team.
The only difference was that the experimental group performed extra forearm and grip strengthening exercises, and the control group didn’t.
Both groups saw a similar increase in bat speed, suggesting that the extra forearm and grip strengthening exercises did not help increase any player's bat speed any more than the control group, who didn’t do any additional forearm exercises.
This isn’t to say that grip strength isn’t important.
However, if your players are lifting weights with a strength coach, they are likely increasing their grip strength and would be better off spending that extra time working on something else.
The research shows that I wasted a ton of time as a player focusing on wrist curls and using rice buckets, thinking that would help increase my bat speed and help me hit the ball further.
I should’ve just stuck the basic lifts and spent time on more important things, like improving my swing.
Now you can make sure none of your players made the same mistake I did.
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