Workout and Strength Training
The days of keeping pitchers out of the weight room are long gone. Today, specialized weight training programs are designed to increase pitchers overall strength and explosiveness leading to greater velocity and a reduced chance of injury. Of course, it is critical that you know what types of strength training programs are appropriate.
Your age will depend on what your strength training program should consist of. For example, a 12 year old should be doing body weight resistance exercises like lunges and pushups. A high school athlete should meet with a strength and conditioning coach to carefully plan a program designed specifically for pitchers (more on this topic later). Any weight program should focus most on building lower body and core strength as a significant amount of velocity is generated from those areas.
Any strength training program should include a detailed stretching program. You do not want to lose flexibility as a result of "bulking up". I once worked with an 18 year old pitcher who also played football. As a result of his football workouts, he was able to bench press 275lbs. He also had very little flexibility in his arm. As a result, he topped out at 74mph. Unfortunately, his football weight program caused him to lose velocity. This was a sad case but with a little knowledge of proper training this can easily be prevented.
Here are some links with some additional information about weight training specifically for pitchers.
Eric Cressey strength training for pitchers (blog)
Justin Verlander weight training program (video)
Throw more-just like any other muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets. Pitching works the same way. If you want to throw harder, throw more. Long toss is a good way to build arm strength (for more information on this check out www.jaegersports.com). You do not need to just long toss to build arm strength. You also can play catch, throw into a net, throw rocks, etc. The point is the more you throw the stronger your arm will get. You do want to be careful not to over throw. If your arm gets sore, STOP THROWING. That is your body’s way of telling you enough.
There is an added benefit to throwing more…command. The more you get out and hone your craft, the more feel you will develop for your release point. Hopefully this will lead to you throwing more strikes and greater success.
Future posts will get into more detail about specific throwing programs you can use as a part of your overall training program.
Stay tuned for our next strategy to increase velocity……
Below is a video describing the basics of long toss.
Coach Mike Grady
Coach Grady has 10 years experience working with pitchers of all ages through private and group instruction, including 6 years experience as a college pitching coach. This blog is dedicating to helping pitchers of all ages improve their game.