Baseball/Softball - Don't Warm Up With Weighted Bats

Baseball/Softball - Don't Warm Up With Weighted Bats

Dick Moss

It's common practice for players to swing a weighted bat while waiting in the on-deck circle. This makes the regular bat feels lighter in comparison and gives the perception of faster bat speed.

But does this practice really contribute to faster bat speed? In fact, research suggests it does not.

Weighted Bat Studies
Two studies have compared bat speeds after warming up with weighted bats.

One study involved 10 players at Texas Christian University. Subjects took five warmup swings with a weighted bat (using a .6 kg lead donut) versus a control group which warmed up with regular bats. Surprisingly, the swings following warmups with a weighted bat were slower than the swings following warmups with a regular bat. It was believed that weighted bat warmups elicit a greater contribution of the lead arm in performing the swing, resulting is a slower swing speed.

This finding is supported by an experiment involving eight varsity players at Osaka University, in Japan. The subjects took 15 swings with a regular bat, followed by 15 with a weighted bat, then another 15 with a regular bat. While players reported that the bat felt lighter after a weighted warmup, in fact the first regular-bat swing after using the weighted bat was 3.3% slower compared to the control group.

Lighter Bat
The effects of a lighter (hollow) bat was also included in the Texas Christian study, and no effect on swing speed was reported.

Warming up with a weighted bat might make a regular bat feel lighter when facing a pitcher, but, in fact, it produces a slower swing speed. Warming up with a regular bat is a better option.

1. T. Otsuji, M Abe, H. Kinoshita, "After-effects of using a weighted bat on subsequent swing velocity and batters' perceptions of swing velocity and heaviness." Perceptual and Motor Skills, February, 2002 [$415/yr plus postage, c/o Ammons Scientific Ltd.]

2. D. Southard & L. Groomer, "Warm-up with baseball bats of varying moments of inertia: effect on bat velocity and swing pattern." Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, September 2003.[$75 U.S./yr., c/o American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.]


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