It’s common to see baseball and softball players warming up by using a donut. However, this kind of donut isn’t for eating -- it’s a metal ring that fits around your bat. Swinging the weighted bat is believed to help loosen up your muscles and prepare you for your next at-bat. If you don’t have a donut handy, an ankle weight can pinch-hit nicely.
Warm up your body and arms before swinging your weighted bat. Do five to 10 minutes of light cardio, for example, jogging around the field. Perform some dynamic arm stretches, for example, arm circles or horizontal arm swings.
Place the ankle weight around the fat part of the bat. Hold the bat vertically and wiggle it a bit to make sure the weight is secure before you swing the bat.
Hold the weighted bat in your normal stance and take a few swings. Stride forward, shift your weight and follow through as you would when taking a standard swing.
Perform a hitting drill with your weighted bat by hitting about 25 to 50 balls off of a tee. Try to hit line drives straight up the middle. The drill is designed to improve your grip and your bat speed.
- Use a light ankle weight -- no more than 1 pound -- on your bat.
- There is no reason to wear weights on your ankles while you swing a bat. If you’re wearing ankle weights during a baseball or softball workout to strengthen your legs, take them off before you take batting practice. The weights will hinder your timing.
- If you swing a weighted bat in the on-deck circle before it is your turn to hit, limit yourself to three or four swings so you don't tire your arms before your at-bat.
- Some studies -- including a 2009 report published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” -- have shown that swinging a weighted bat immediately before hitting can decrease your bat speed slightly in the short term.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.