LATERAL FORCE: Why Sumo Dead Lifts Build Power & Velocity


But How do Big Weights Equate to More Velocity On the Bump and More Power at the Plate?


Because in reality, you’re not throwing a Ball or swinging a bat, you’re accelerating the body, and it’s limbs, to the speeds necessary to move an object at the desired speed.

One of the biggest misunderstandings in baseball today is “mechanics” or what should be called Kinematics; You see when a pitching coach, or hitting coach, or a parent, or anybody involved in the game see’s, is the end result of either a throw or a swing.

The few frames the naked eye, or a slow motion capture catches, is a very BROAD representation of whats happening during that point within the action.

The problem is we don’t see the forces that are being produced, and WHERE those forces are originating from, or more importantly – moving to. Most baseball guys reading this will say “well its the lower half of course” or “it’s the Hips” or “it’s all rotation” Etc. Etc. And YES, they are all right to some degree…

What’s REALLY Happening, and I mean the First thing that happens in any athletic movement, is something known as, “Ground Force”

We’ll discuss this in a bit more depth later on, but for now, the point is that before mechanics are ever a “thing” the athlete generating enough force to move his body with violence and defeat gravity is paramount.

And almost 100% of the athletes that come to me – don’t have near enough strength, nor do they understand, how to produce force.

You see to some degree nearly every muscle in the human body is used throughout a throw or a swing, so just about any statement is pretty much a blanket statement, regarding “mechanics…” But my disdain for the that word isn’t just rooted in innocent misunderstanding.

In baseball, mechanics is the most profitable word in the private sector right now, because A LOT of guys bills are paid based on lessons that are built around the concept that mechanics will change a ball players performance…


Mechanics are simply a system of movements based on what the brain determines the musculoskeletal system is capable of producing, with the anthropometrics of the athletes body (torso & limb length)

Wait what?

Simply put, mechanics are a result of the length of the levers or limbs of the human performing the motion, combine with the range of motion of each individual joint, and finally the loading capacity / force production capabilities of the musculature and soft tissues surrounding the joint involved.

Don’t believe me?

What does a skeleton do with a baseball or a bat when I give it to him?

Nothing, he can’t even hang on to it. But whats holds skeletons together and makes “Joints”?

Soft tissue, ligaments, Tendons and Muscles.

What makes a joint capable or Incapable of Moving?

The status of the tissues that make up joints. Mechanics then, are a product of the physiological capacity of the tissues, and are dictated by the length of the throwers/hitters arms, legs, spine, torso etc.

Last I checked – the only way to change muscle and soft tissue was through resistance based training systems, soft tissue work, and other means of applied force (force input is what actually causes the body to lay down new tissue) and Last I checked no buddy can change the length of an athletes arms, legs, torso, or spine.

SO NO, Mechanics are not changeable in 90% of the population, and shouldn’t be adultured in athletes beneath the collegiate level without correctly diagnosing the force production capabilities, movement capabilities, Joint Function and  limb length to asses the most ideal throwing pattern or hitting pattern for each athlete.

But all this is beside the point..


The athlete must first and foremost create ground-force in the general direction he wishes to throw an object before anything else even takes place

This brings me to the point of this article; and in reality, the point of just about everything we do at S8.

There’s something known as ground force that is required for us to move our bodies, even something as simple as getting up out of the chair you’re sitting in or taking a step forward requires a certain amount of it.

And the goal of this is phenomena is to produce enough force to defeat the NUMBER ONE resistor of human movement on planet earth, and that is GRAVITY In a non-contact sport like baseball (mostly anyway) we don’t physically perceive the need for a large amount of maximal effort or maximal strength, but to generate a high speed of movement with the body which has a large mass, it takes a VERY large amount of force production to make that happen.

But we know it’s not THAT simple, athletes can’t JUST get stronger and get better automatically; they have to develop both General Physical Preparedness and Special Physical Preparedness – however most strength coaches totally Mess up the line between general and special physical preparedness, and they either

  • select exercises that have NO carryover what so ever or very minimal (like a hex bar deadlift)
  • or select movements that are too similar and can negatively impact technique, timing and coordination (swing a med-ball into a wall in effort make an athlete swing harder)

Both of these Issues can be equally costing to the athlete, whether he develops false confidence increasing strength & performance in an exercise that doesn’t impact his movement on the field, or he uses weights and resistances that change the way he would naturally execute on the mound or at the plate.

So what IS the answer?

How do we bridge the gap between developing strength & power and enabling an athlete to transfer that strength & power into sport specific movement?


The secret to increasing power & velocity WITHOUT altering your mechanics or coordination, is selecting exercises that are less complex then the sport movement, yet require force production in the same directions of the sport movement

At S8 we’re known for using the infamous CONJUGATE METHOD Pioneered by the soviets and Brought to America by the Legendary Strength Coach Louie Simmons.

The system has been used by dozens of the most prominent teams, and hundreds of professional and even world record holding athletes from around the world from sports and events spanning a vast range of technical skills and requirements from shot put and bobsledding and 400m sprinting to golf, football, rugby – you name it.

Yet we’re the first organization in the world to harness the power of the system for the sport of Baseball (and softball) and though there are a number of reasons the system is so intensely powerful for these two sports – the foundation of the success can be found in two of the principals of Louie’s beliefs on developing athletes.

That comes down to physics, and role of ground force and force production in the directions of force required to perform at a high level in his or her sport.

He has demonstrated in many of his works that athletes are most often performing in lateral situations pushing left to right to defeat the forces of gravity even if to eventually run straight ahead in Sprinting in Track events, the athlete pushes himself violently left to right to generate momentum and gain leverage on gravity’s hold on our body…

And almost NO sport requires more lateral force production to initiate movement then Baseball or Softball…

Think about it…

When leading off, When at bat, when stepping outside to block as a catcher, when shuffling the snatch up a ground ball in the infield, when running into a crow hop to launch a ball deep from center field to home… and most notably, when driving the body down the mound after wind up to deliver a pitch…

All of these actions require MASSIVE lateral force production…

The Foundation movements for developing this ability… are without question the Sumo Dead-Lift and the Ultra-Wide Box Squat.

Both of these movements are paramount in the Conjugate Method Used and Developed at WESTSIDE Barbell – and have built some of the most explosive athletes the world has ever seen.

No movement in the gym requires the athlete to engage the hips, the Groin, the Adductors, the hamstrings, the glutes, and the abdomen to develop maximal force and separate the body from the earth and the carry over on our population of athletes has been nothing short of UNBELIEVABLE.

So how do we execute these movements and how do we program them?

I’ll be attacking that in the coming weeks with some detailed videos and info on how the exercises must be executed and programmed to maximize athletic performance, and for those of you locally that want to see just how powerful this is for you or your athlete click on the button below this article to take the Power & Velocity Assessment Quiz and I Guarantee you’ll never train the same way again.

In Strength,

Coach Morris

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