WSBB Blog: Lift Heavy, Get Huge, Hit More Homeruns
Baseball season is in full swing, and with the increased seasonal interest in the sport, we have been receiving questions regarding how baseball players can use the Westside Barbell Conjugate Method to increase their bat speed and striking power. As it does with all sports, the Conjugate Method will take your abilities to the next level, creating increases in strength and speed that will translate to success on the ballfield.
Get Stronger, Get Bigger
One of the first things we need to make clear, you do not need to be a lightweight master of cardio training to play the sport of baseball. We are not saying you need to become fat, but the fact remains that if you want to become stronger you will need to gain size. As a baseball player, all you need to worry about conditioning-wise is to have enough speed and stamina to run the bases aggressively and be able to cover ground when fielding. Considering it is extremely simple to get an athlete to that level of conditioning, the training focus of a baseball power hitter should be gaining strength and size.
At Westside, we use max effort training to accomplish both goals, strength, and size. By keeping training intensities above 90% twice per week, we ensure that the proper amount of motor units are being activated to have a positive training effect in regards to limit strength. By increasing limit strength, you are ultimately becoming a more powerful human being while simultaneously raising your capacity to further gain strength. To gain size, we organize accessory programming to be moderate to high intensity and volume. Generally, an athlete will perform three to five accessory exercises after a max effort lifts, keeping intensity at a moderate to borderline high intensity for set ranges of three to five and rep ranges of five to twelve. With this approach, you will quickly become a larger, more powerful human being.
We aren't talking about how to turn baseball players into track athletes, when we say get faster we mean increasing the rate that force can be produced by the athlete on demand. Generally, when an athlete initiates movement whether it is applying force to the ground to sprint, or force to a barbell to lift, there is a latency period. The time it takes for your brain to think about moving, communicate that via the CNS to the muscle, and activate the muscle at a proper capacity to apply as much force as possible needs to be reduced. We accomplish this via the use of Dynamic Effort training.
To increase both strength and speed in the upper body we use what we refer to as speed benching. Speed benching will increase the amount of force you are able to apply to an object with your arms, chest, shoulders, and upper back. By doing so, this method of training will give you the power it takes to initiate maximum amounts of power quickly when beginning the swing, give you the strength needed to make contact and follow-through while continuing to produce power throughout the entire swing. Dynamic effort lower squatting is important as well. To hit home runs you need to have a strong trunk, hips, and legs. Speed squats will give you the strength, size, and force production capabilities to not only develop these muscle groups to accomplish the task but to increase the rate of force production making for faster reaction times and rotational movement speed.
If you want to become proficient in any sport that requires power and speed, which is pretty much all mainstream sports, then you need to focus on getting bigger, stronger, and faster. In today's training world, too many have begun to rely on faulty advice issued by charlatans interested in brand expansion versus proving their worth by the athletes they produce. Just as it was true before, it is still true today, a bigger and stronger athlete will be a faster, more powerful athlete with increased resiliency.