Grip strength has been an integral part of conditioning for baseball for decades. Why? Because years of practical experience and scientific research indicate that grip strength can have a significant effect on offensive performance in professional baseball players. In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (1), 343 professional baseball players in the Texas Rangers organization were tested over the course of two separate seasons. Players represented all levels within the Rangers organization. Ninety Rookie Ball players, 84 A-ball players, 50 AA players; 52 AAA players and 62 Major League players were tested for grip strength, power, speed and agility. Regression equations were developed to determine the relationship between each of these tests and performance as measured by home runs, total bases, slugging percentage and stolen bases. While the results indicated that the best predictors of over-all performance were power, speed and agility, grip strength was significantly related to home runs, total bases and slugging percentage. It is also interesting to note that the players that had the most lean body mass, greatest power, fastest speed and best agility, also had the most grip strength.
Training for grip strength should be similar to that for other forms of strength. Baseline values should be obtained and training should follow a periodization model in which exercises, volume and intensity are varied throughout the season. Assessments of grip strength should be performed at regular intervals to determine progress, evaluate program effectiveness and monitor compliance.
Most “authorities” on grip strength say that there are two basic types of grip strength: