By: Andy Partin
Stronger hands, wrists, forearms and overall grip have obvious benefits in baseball especially in swinging a bat but also can increase velocity and prevent injury by supporting the elbow.
Throwing a baseball requires plenty of wrist and finger snap. The stronger both are the more spin you can create on the ball – increasing velocity. Same with a bat. The stronger your hands and wrists are the more bat-speed you’ll have.
Forearm muscles are divided up in to two basic groups:
1) Forearm Flexors are better known for “grip strength” in forms of “isometric” grip strength, like holding something heavy in your hand and “concentric” grip strength, like crushing someone’s hand when you shake it (closing your hand against resistance).
2) Forearm Extensors are responsible for extending the wrist, like when throwing a baseball. Doing bicep curls, reverse curls or hammer curls will only partially work the forearm extensors where reverse wrist rolling train the muscle group completely and very directly.
When recommending a training program for baseball players, I like to recommend 3 different types of forearm exercises: rolling, crushing and pinching. This allows you to train the hands, wrists and forearm flexors and extensors in each of the most beneficial ways.
Most baseball players have performed the wrist rollers (link below) where you roll the weighted rope/line up round the roller. Remember, it’s equally as important to “roll” the weight back down as it is to roll it up. Most in baseball would call this the king forearm exercise.
As you continue to get stronger, keep adding weight. 2-4 sets of all the way up and and all the way down is a good starting point.
Wrist Roller – Link: https://amzn.to/36WLUpD
Crushing or Squeezing grippers are another great exercise for developing forearm, wrist and over grip strength. I prefer the Captains of Crush grippers (link below) since they have several different tensions. Mixing it up with Captains of Crush grippers with sets of 10-20 reps and then performing a squeezed “hold” for maximal time are great workouts.
Captain’s of Crush – Link: https://amzn.to/3bQSe5x
You can do these in a variety of ways. I prefer using a pinch block (link below). If you have been to my gym, odds are you have used the pinch blocks. Other ways include holding smooth bumper plates, pinch-stacking 2 or more Standard 10 lbs plates together with the smooth sides out or holding a weighted bar with fat grips (link below) by your waist.
Pinch Blocks – Link: https://amzn.to/2V1hrUX
Loading Pin (you need this with Pinch Block) – Link: https://amzn.to/39IkPbx
Fat Grips – Link: https://amzn.to/2vNId8F
I recommend training grip strength sub-maximally every other day (3-4 x per week) at the end of your workouts or away from your workouts throughout the year.
Important Note: You will need weighted plates for both the wrist roller and pinch block. I’d suggest 1 x 2.5 lbs, 1 x 5 lbs and 1 x 10 lbs to start with.
If you have these tools you will be throwing faster and swinging faster and staying healthy!