Does Strength and Speed training improve pitching velocity? Most pitching coaches will say NO because either they have no experience with it or because they have no understanding of the science behind it. The answer or should I say the secret is YES!
All you have to do is read the science behind it and also look at the results. The most recent example is Tim Collins. He is the pitcher for the Kansas City royals. He used a strength and conditioning program to increase his velocity from 82mph to 97mph in about 3 years. Another advocate for Strength training is Josh Beckett. This is a pic of him during his off-season training program. Here is one of his quotes from the Men’s Fitness article here:”
“What you do during the offseason is, first, build a base. That takes about three weeks, and then you try to get as strong as you can before you go to spring training. Once you get there, you taper down and it’s just a maintenance program for the next six or seven months.” – Josh beckett
You can learn more about his strength training program in the article.
Another great example of a pitcher who used strength training is the famous pitcher that they did the movie about called, “The Rookie.” Jim Morris was interviewed here on this site and he talks about his intense, heavy-weight training program that he did religiously. You also have Roger Clemens, John Rocker, and many other pitchers who had insane intense strength and conditioning programs. Any coach that would tell you strength training is a waste of time and will injure you, is clueless. Just do your research and you will discover immediately how effective strength and speed training is for pitchers.
The best example here at Topvelocity.net, with the 3X Pitching Velocity program which includes a very intense strength and conditioning program, is Mitchel Sewald. He is 17 and has been on the complete 3X program for the past 5 months. He went from 82mph to 92mph and just recently committed to LSU with a full ride. He has yet to even play during his senior year in high school.
The Myths Behind Strength Training for Pitchers
- Strength training will make a pitcher tight and less flexible.
- Strength training for a pitcher will increase his chance of injury.
- Strength training for a pitcher will reduce his pitching velocity.
- Strength training for a pitcher will hurt his mechanics.
Strength training must include a program that was developed for the pitcher but if done correctly, all of these myths are untrue. If a proper strength and conditioning program is used for a pitcher then here is a list of the benefits. This is no different for any sport and any position.
The Benefits of Strength and Conditioning for Pitchers
Along with these benefits is an article with more information to support these claims.
- Improved joint mobility. Read more on Joint Mobility for the Pitcher.
- Enhanced performance and pitching velocity. Read more on Pitching Velocity Specificity
- Increased longevity.
- Help prevent injury. Read more on how Heavy Weight Training Can Reduce Pitching Injury.
The Research to support Strength and Speed training for Pitchers
- Characteristic ground-reaction forces in baseball pitching. You can view the study here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9474404. This was the final results of the study:
This study validates the clinical impression that the lower extremity is an important contributor to the throwing motion. Based on this study, strengthening of the lower extremities could be inferred to be important both to enhance performance and to avoid injury.
- Baseball Throwing Velocity: A Comparison of Medicine Ball Training and Weight Training. Here is a link to the entire study. This is an excerpt from the results of the study:
The results of this study suggest that the use of heavier loads has been more effective than the medicine ball training in increasing velocity…..
Kaneko et al, determined that training with heavier loads of 100% maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) resulted in increases not only in strength but also in unloaded movement speed. Similarly, a training study by Schmidtbleicher and Buehrly found that the use of relatively heavy loads of 80-90% MVC enhanced the performance of powerful dynamic movements more effectively than light loads.
- Velocity specificity of resistance training. Here is the entire study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8341872. This is an excerpt from the results of the study:
A recent review by Behm and Sale concluded that balistic movements such as throwing and jumping are preprogrammed and that maximum limb velocity is determined principally by the rate of force development and overall force output. Improvement in these factors does not seem to require low load, high velocity training, but rather heavy loads or even isometric contractions. Research by Behm and Sale demonstrated that it may be the intention to move quickly that determines the velocity-specific response.
You mentioned Tim Collins of the Royals and how he improved his velocity through your Olympic lifting program.
Have you noticed his mechanics and his atrocious over rotated collapsing and sitting body position movements? "Ouch" to his elbow and shoulder, although I really do feel that he would be a much more accomplished and successful pitcher if he would get himself straightened up and centered with his head centered between his shoulders, hips and feet and go sideways straight down the hill taking/driving his head right to the catchers glove and at front foot touch down executing hip to shoulder separation etc. and let his body do the work instead of just his arm only.