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

Cross Train With Pilates

There are several great reasons to add Pilates to your cross training routine.  A few:

Pilates exercises are oriented toward FUNCTIONAL FITNESS, meaning that Pilates teaches you to move more efficiently in general, thereby enhancing performance and reducing risk of injury in other activities.

Cross training adds sustaining VARIETY to your workout routine. Cross training that combines strength training with cardio is the best way to get in TIP TOP SHAPE.

The Pilates method is founded on core strength.  Pilates mat and equipment exercises strengthen not just the outer muscles of the torso, but also the deep inner stabilizing muscles of the pelvis, abdomen, and back- the core muscles.  Core strength supports the back and neck, giving us healthy posture and freeing the joints to allow a natural flexibility of the limbs. This kind of strength and flexibility training translates well into all kinds cross training activities.

Pilates develops long, lean muscles. Pilates resistance training is enough to give you functional power, help build bone, and burn more calories (because muscle is a calorie burner) AND will help you perform your weight training routine with better alignment, greater range of motion, and integrative focus.

By practicing Pilates, you’ll improve the quality of your fitness, reduce your risk for overuse injuries and improve all of your fitness endeavors.  Pilates cross trains well with anything.  But because of the extra health benefits of cardio training such as strengthening the heart and lungs, stress reduction, and increased energy levels, we suggest cross training Pilates with cardio exercises.  This is especially true if you are interested in weight loss.

Cross training is really just combining exercise types.  For beginners, cardio and strength training are best done on different days. That way you won’t wear out and your muscles get a chance to rest and repair, which is how you build strength and endurance.  It is also a good idea to alternate the exercise intensity levels in your weekly routine.  An every-other-day cardio then strength program with alternating heavy and light workouts is a good choice as people often underestimate the exertion level of Pilates and often find it too much to do a full Pilates class and cardio on the same day.  As you begin cross training, stick with alternate days or do a very light Pilates workout on a cardio day.

We are here to help you map out or maintain your cross training goals. Give us a call to schedule an appointment and see how Pilates can help improve your cross training routine.

Photo: FitnessOrlando

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