Saturday, December 31, 2011

Importance of Weight Training for Pitchers

Weight training is an important part of a baseball pitcher's regimen. Not only will weight training help improve the pitcher's strength, which may improve velocity, but it will also improve endurance, which is critical both during a long performance and also the long season. Since pitching a baseball requires nearly every single muscle in the body, a full body strengthening program will bring the greatest results.
Rotational Lunge to Balance
The rotational lunge to balance incorporates some of the movements a pitcher would use at the hips and midsection into one movement. Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest, step back with your left leg and bend both knees to 90 degrees. During the lunge, rotate at your waist to the right side (toward your knee), then as you come back up, instead of bringing your left foot back to starting position, bring it up, like you would in the motion just prior to throwing, and rotate to the left (both rotations will be towards the knee). Repeat an equal number of repetitions on both sides to create balance.
Cable Twist
The cable twist is an excellent exercise to strengthen the obliques, which are used to create torque at the midsection during the throwing motion. Align a cable system or anchor resistant tubing at shoulder level. Stand so the resistance is coming from your side (can be either direction since you should do both sides). Grip the handle with both hands, feet about shoulder-width apart. With your arms fully extended in front of you, rotate away from the anchor point, pivoting on your back toes as you turn.
Full Can Raise
The full can raise, which is similar to the lateral raise, is used to strengthen the rotator cuff. The throwing motion a pitcher uses is not natural for the shoulder and leads to a large number of injuries. Keeping the shoulder strong can reduce the risk. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your side with your thumbs pointing out. Keep the thumbs pointing up as you lift your hands. Your arms should make a 45-degree angle to your body, stop at shoulder level, then slowly return to the starting position.
Wrist Curls/Reverse Curls
The fingers are the last body part in contact with the ball, and are ultimately responsible for the movement and location of the pitch. Wrist curls and reverse wrist curls are excellent for strengthening these muscles. Sit on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, and rest your forearms or your thighs, palms up. Curl your wrist up and down for the flexors of the forearm. Turn your hands face down and curl at your wrists for the reverse wrist curl.

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