Forearm Strength Is Underappreciated
It seems quite undeniable that forearm strength is extremely beneficial to a baseball player. Gripping the bat, the ball and maneuvering a glove all require strong forearms.
Admittedly, it's tough to categorize just how important it actually is. The forearm muscles are small, and bat/arm speed are generated by much bigger muscle groups. But even if that's true, we still must harness the power being delivered by the bigger muscles and control it for an accurate swing or throw.
There are also very strong correlations between forearm strength and arm health, something we'll write about separately.
It's also apparent to anybody who has tried to lift heavy stuff away from the pull of gravity that having a strong grip helps. So the stronger the grip the more weight that can be pulled off the ground, which equals more overall strength being added.
Deadlifts Should Be Enough To Add Grip Strength Right?
Deadlifting will certainly add forearm strength, yes. However this is a two way street. At some point the lifter won't be able to get the bar off of the ground simply because his hands aren't able to hold onto the bar. Supplemental forearm strength work is required.
Let's learn from a guy that can deadlift over 1,000 pounds, shall we?
Between the historic 1003-pound and 1008-pound competition deadlifts, Andy Bolton missed pulls of 1000-plus pounds five times. The reason was the same every time: He couldn't hold onto the bar. In the approximately 30 months between these two pulls, the only thing that was dramatically changed in his training was his grip work.
From T Nation
Grip Strength Won't Add Itself
So yes, holding onto any free weight and lifting it up and down will add grip strength. However, it's an incomplete way to train the muscle group. Our forearm muscles, like any other muscle group, can actually do more than just hold onto stuff.
Think about hitting a ball, how the hands must brace and then extend through contact. Throwing a curveball how the wrist must be stiff through release. The flexor-pronator mass inside the forearm connects at the elbow near the UCL, and is very active in sharing the load of a throw. This is crucial in protecting the ligament and nearby tendons.
Just clenching the fingers around a bar does not cover all of the movements those muscles are capable of doing.
How Do We Add Grip Strength
Target the forearm just like you would any other muscle group. It will get a lot of complimentary action in most of the other lifts as well, which is great. Here are a few things you can use to increase forearm strength:
- Wrist Curls with a dumbell
- Hammer Curls
- Rice Bucket
- Squeeze Balls
- Bell clubs
- Rope workouts (bigger around is better)
We also really like this little thing because it strengthens the hand really well. Instead of just squeezing in flexion, it also strengthens the hand as it extends (opens). Having strong hands can do a lot for baseball players as should be obvious.
Forearm strength will be added just by doing lifts like the deadlift. However, if that's all you're doing in the weight room you're leaving some good gains on the table.
Grip strength will help deliver power through the bat and ball, and will increase your numbers in every other lift you do as well. It may also protect against hand and elbow injuries which is worth a great deal by itself.
Add specific exercises to strengthen your forearms for baseball and you'll see gains across the board.