Speed and different kinds of strength

Power is force applied in a certain time. The more force you apply over a shorter time span the more power you can generate.

of course pure power is not everything because the swing is a complex movement. You want to use as many muscle groups as possible (using the whole body) but you want to use the muscles in the correct sequence from the ground up. If the swing is out of sync that can hurt both batspeed and accuracy so learning good mechanics is important. Intermuscular coordination has to be learned but this is not the topic of this article. In this article I want to talk about how muscles generate strength.


There are different kinds of strength:


  1. Reactive strength: A muscle that is stretched dynamically will be able to fire at higher intensities. The kinetic chain sequentially stretches and fires muscles like a rubber band. Muscles can be trained to develope higher peak forces after a stretch. For that you stretch the muscle dynamically and immediately reverse. That kind of training is called plyometrics and can be highly effective in increasing power without adding mass to the body. However it has to be said that this training also creates great forces that can cause injury if not done right or without creating general physical preparedness first.

2. Intramuscular coordination: The body can’t recruit all muscle fibers at once. There is a reserve that only can be recruited under extreme stress but by training you can increase the number of motor units that can fire at the same time. Lifting big weights at low reps will train that kind of strength without gaining much muscle mass. That kind of training is done at 90 plus percent of the max lift weight and usually 1-3 reps.


  1. 3.  Muscle mass: muscle mass is not everything but given the same intramuscular coordination more muscle mass will generate more power.  So gaining more mass will help but only if you don’t sacrifice on flexibility and coordination. Still players need to increase muscle mass but not neglect other areas of training. Training for muscle mass  (hypertrophy) is usually done at 80 plus percent of the max doing 5-12 reps per set.


4. Speed strength: To develope speed a muscle must contract as fast as possible. Speed consists of many traits like coordination, technique and also the muscle fiber type but it also is related to strength. That is because the inertia of the object you are trying to move is getting the larger the faster you accelerate. Speed strength is simply trained by moving non maximal weights fast. In weightlifting usually weights of 50-70% of the max is used for training by moving the weight 3-5 times as fast as you can.

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