Saturday, January 7, 2012

Effectiveness of Strength and Cardio Conditioning on Baseball Pitching

Being a baseball pitcher can be stressful on your arm and your mind. Pitchers need a mix of smarts, arm strength, conditioning and even flexibility to be successful. There are some excellent training exercises and drills that can help prevent injury and maximize the potential of a pitcher.
Long Toss
The best drill to build velocity and arm strength in pitchers is the long toss. The long toss drill involves starting close to warm-up and eventually moving as far away as possible to throw the ball with a partner. Over time, the maximum throw distance increases, and in turn velocity increases as well. Tony Rasmus, a baseball coach in Russell County, Alabama, says that long toss will help build arm strength and prevent arm injuries.
Full body stretching is important in baseball to not only maximize strength and performance but to prevent injury. Being flexible in the arms, chest and shoulders is important so that you do not become too muscle bound and to help prevent arm injuries. Stretching in baseball should focus on the entire body and should be performed for 15 to 20 minutes before and after pitching, practice and games.
Cardiovascular fitness and conditioning is vital for baseball pitchers. Pitching is a demanding task, and being out of shape just will not cut it on the mound. Baseball pitchers need a mix of endurance and sprint work to mimic game conditions. Mixing long jogs with sprint work can help do this, and interval training can bring the best of both worlds. Interval training is performed by alternating between a slow jog at 50 to 60 percent of top speed for a certain period with sprinting at top speed for a certain period.
Strength Training
Pitchers should be careful when strength training and should stretch before and after lifting weights. It is important for pitchers to focus on total body training, because legs and the core muscles are very important in pitching. In addition, pitchers should also be sure to incorporate exercises to work the smaller muscles in the shoulders and forearms, as these muscles protect the shoulder and elbow and they can help prevent injury.

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