Strength Training for Baseball Pitchers
Overhand throwing, whether for baseball or football, places unique demands on the shoulder joint – this most crucial for baseball pitchers. The first training consideration any pitcher should have is the health and stability of their shoulder. The act of throwing places considerable stresses on the shoulder that can lead to the development of muscle imbalances and injuries. Pitchers and quarterbacks can incorporate these simple exercises into their warm-up to improve shoulder health.
Coaches also need to consider shoulder health when implementing a strength program for throwers. Many athletes, especially in high school, tend to work the muscles they can see more often. Throwers need to develop many muscle groups, including muscles they can’t see when they look into a mirror. This means developing the supportive muscles of the back. Two great exercises for developing strength in the area are seated rows and pullups. I recommend doing two sets of pulling exercises for every set of pressing exercises you perform.
Throwers also require tremendous leg, hip, and core strength to meet the needs of their sport. Increased leg drive can be achieved by incorporating lower body exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts. In order to achieve better hip strength you can perform lateral plyometrics like the ones in this video. Core strength is involved in all the above mentioned lifts but can further be improved up by the inclusion of planks, bridge variations, and rotational ball throws. Incorporating these exercises into any thrower’s workout program will help prevent injuries and increase the athlete’s throwing power.
For additional information, check out these videos on baseball injury prevention and throwing dynamics.
Image credit: via flickr chemisti