The problem may not be that you do not work hard enough to improve your pitching velocity, it could be that you do not work smart enough. Don't worry, I will give you the top 10 exercises for pitchers to improve velocity so you are not wasting your time and energy for nothing in return.
I remember in my career like it was yesterday. Once I finally got my arm back after surgery, after Doctors told me I never would, I sat at mid 80's for over 3 years. It was frustrating! It seemed like no matter how hard I worked, I just continued to throw the same speed. It was starting to take down my confidence. I thought I was only built to throw mid 80's and that was the way it was going to be. Boy was I wrong!
I just never gave up. I was 26 years old when I started to figure this all out. It wasn't that I was doing everything wrong, I just was not aware of the missing link in my case. This missing link was in my mechanics and my force production. I was not converting my power into ball speed mechanically that well and my strength training did not include enough linear resistance training but these were my problems, they are not specific to everyone.
In this article, I will list the top 10 exercises that most pitchers do not use which is preventing them from making more of a pitching velocity increase. These exercises are specific to everyone but if you are already including some of them into your training program then it should be obvious that you need to add in the others that you have not included. Before I give you this list, I will first talk about some popular training models that are not that effective in increasing pitching velocity and many young baseball players are spending a lot of valuable time using.
Popular Training Models That Are Not Specific To Pitching Velocity
There are many generic training models that are popular today and are specific to the general population, not the high velocity pitcher. This doesn't mean that these training models are hurting the pitcher but more that they are not really helping the pitcher reach his velocity potential. Here is a list of the training models that are not that effective when it comes to helping you reach your pitching velocity potential.
- CrossFit - As much as I respect this training model because it has brought the weight room back to the garage and away from the health spa and that it has single handedly helped save the popularity of Olympic Lifting in this country, the workouts that it promotes is more aerboic power training than anaerobic. Studies show there is a negative relation between aerboic power training and anaerobic power training (1,2). This means you do not need to drop the type and style of training, just the format. Less reps, more weight.
- P90X®, Insanity® - Once again I respect these high intensity, ball busting workouts but they are too rep focused and not enough resistance focused. We are not going to enhance or promote as much lean muscle mass to help produce more power production when doing tons and tons of reps in a short amount of time. This will build a lot of stamina but not stamin with maximum power which is the high velocity pitcher. This is why pitchers like CC Sabathia at 290lbs are still the body type of a high velocity pitcher.
- General Strength Program - This is the program that you usually get at your school or from a personal training at a health club. These programs tend to be very basic with the lifts and exercises and are not built around a periodized schedule using a 1 rep maximum (1RM). Studies show high correlations between maximum strength (1RM squat) and power output even at relatively light weight, indicating the possibility that heavy resistance training may improve power output even against light resistance (3). Studies also show if strength programs are not periodized then strength and power production is limited (4). The basic principle of periodization is a shift from an emphasis of high volume (exercises x sets x repetitions) and low intensity (% of maximum effort) training to low volume and high intensity training.
Top 10 Exercises for Pitchers to Improve Velocity
Now that you have a good understanding of how you could be wasting a lot of your hard work on less effective training models for increasing pitching velocity, let's give you some key exercises that you need to start to incorporate into your training programs to help you improve your performance. This isn't just a list based on my experience only but also backed by scientific research.
The exercises listed below do not include any lifts in the weight room. The key lifts that will have a significant effect on pitching velocity is the Olympic and Power lifts. This includes the cleans, squats, deadlift and even bench press.
If you are looking for a training model that was specifically built for the pitcher to increase pitching velocity and it has been battle tested to work then checkout the 3X Pitching Velocity Program.
- Chest Press - Upper body plyometrics have been linked to improve performance and rotator cuff strength (5). The chest press is a quick explosive press with a medicine ball to a partner or wall about 15 feet away.
- Overhead Slams - This is another upper body plyometric exercise that involves slamming a medicine ball into the ground from a overhead position.
- Med Ball Rotation - This is another upper body plyometric exercise that involves rotating either left or right and then throwing the ball to a partner or wall. Focus on high intensity with low reps with all these plyometric exercises.
- Lateral to Medial Jumps - These jumps were consistently correlated with high throwing velocity in each of the throwing techniques, in both left-handed and right-handed throwers (6). These jumps involve jump up and out in a lateral movement.
- Sidewinders - This is a lateral drive similar to the jump in intensity but with a resistance band connected to the ankles between the legs.
- Rapid Response - This is a quick twitch lower body plyometric. To perform the exercise you rapidly fire your feet into the ground with high intensity for a short interval. Studies link lower body plyometric training to an increase in pitching velocity (8).
- Shoulder Abduction Adduction - A study has correlated resistance tubing exercises to throwing velocity with youth athletes (7). In this exercise, the athlete extends the arms to the side and lifts the arms up and down to shoulder height.
- Horizontal Abduction Adduction - This is another resistance tubing exercises that involves pulling the arms behind the back and then pushing the arms together in front of the face. This would be like a row and a chest fly.
- Internal External Rotation - This is another resistance tubing exercises that involves rotating the arm forward and backwards like the throwing motion.
- Vertical Jumps With Resistance - Studies have link dynamic variable resistance to an increase in pitching velocity (9). This exercises includes jumping with resistance tubing connected to the ground and the hips.
The Top Program Online to Improve Pitching Velocity
This program has helped tons of pitchers live the dream of playing at the next level, signing with a D1 University, getting drafted by a Major League Organization and making it back to Major League Baseball. Many scouts in all organizations of baseball have recommended this program to help young pitchers add 5-10+mph to improve their value at the next level.
The reason the 3X Extreme Pitching Velocity Program works is because it is based off of science and it has been proven to work on thousands of pitchers who have moved from the low velocity level into the high velocity level in the 3X programs. It isn't rocket science or voodoo, it is real! The program comes with a high level workload of drills, lifts and exercises scientifically designed to enhance throwing speed on the mound while developing an efficient pitching delivery. The format of the 3X Pitching Velocity Program is similar to the same approach Olympic throwers have been using for decades to increase throwing velocity. This approach isn't new to the sports world but it is new to baseball.
If you are serious about your career and are insanely driven to put yourself into an extremely small percentage of pitchers who are potential D1 prospects, top level draft picks or you just want to reach your potential on the mound then this program is the best chance you have to making your dreams come true.
Learn more about the 3X Extreme Pitching Velocity Program or get started TODAY adding 5-10+mph!
- Crielaard JM, Pirnay F. - Anaerobic and aerobic power of top athletes. - Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1981;47(3):295-300.
- Rhea MR, Oliverson JR, Marshall G, Peterson MD, Kenn JG, Ayllón FN. - Noncompatibility of power and endurance training among college baseball players. - Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, AT Still University, Mesa, Arizona, USA. - J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jan;22(1):230-4.
- Kawamori N, Haff GG. - The optimal training load for the development of muscular power. - Department of Kinesiology, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas 76308, USA. - J Strength Cond Res. 2004 Aug;18(3):675-84.
- Baker D, Wilson G, Carlyon R. 1994. Periodization: the effect on strength of manipulating volume and intensity. - Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 8:235 – 242.
- Carter AB, Kaminski TW, Douex AT Jr, Knight CA, Richards JG. - Effects of high volume upper extremity plyometric training on throwing velocity and functional strength ratios of the shoulder rotators in collegiate baseball players. - Department of Health, Nutrition, & Exercise Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark 19716, USA. - J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Feb;21(1):208-15.
- Lehman G, Drinkwater EJ, Behm DG. - Correlation of throwing velocity to the results of lower-body field tests in male college baseball players. - School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. - J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Apr;27(4):902-8.
Escamilla RF, Fleisig GS, Yamashiro K, Mikla T, Dunning R, Paulos L, Andrews JR. - Effects of a 4-week youth baseball conditioning program on throwing velocity. - Andrews-Paulos Research and Education Institute, Gulf Breeze, Florida, USA. - J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Dec;24(12):3247-54.
Escamilla RF, Ionno M, deMahy MS, Fleisig GS, Wilk KE, Yamashiro K, Mikla T, Paulos L, Andrews JR. - Comparison of three baseball-specific 6-week training programs on throwing velocity in high school baseball players. - Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Sacramento, California, USA. - J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jul;26(7):1767-81.
Wooden MJ, Greenfield B, Johanson M, Litzelman L, Mundrane M, Donatelli RA. - Effects of strength training on throwing velocity and shoulder muscle performance in teenage baseball players. - J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1992;15(5):223-8.