Conventional wisdom has always promoted the arm path as holding all the biomechanics to arm injury. A recent study has looked for links to arm injury in the lower body and has found some key correlations that once again prove conventional wisdom wrong and also proves 3X Pitching Mechanics to be not just built for performance but for injury prevention.
This study was produced by some of the top universities in the studies of biomechanics; New Mexico State University, Auburn University and Illinois State University. It is refreshing to see studies like this one, as recent as this year, look into the lower half biomechanics of the pitching delivery. Still today the majority of pitching based studies are focused on the upper extremities which doesn’t give us all the pieces to the puzzle.
In this article, I will list the 3 key biomechanics in the lower half that correlate to decreased forces being applied to the shoulder during the pitching delivery. I will also cover the 3X Pitching Mechanics that link to these biomechanics and how they also promote performance enhancement. This is proof that pitching mechanics can both increase pitching velocity while also reducing the risk of injury which is the foundation of the 3X Pitching Velocity Program.
Lower Body Mechanics that Reduce Arm Injury
Here are the results from the recent study, Lower Body Predictors of Glenohumeral Compressive Force in High School Baseball Pitchers (1).
These results indicate peak glenohumeral compressive force increases with a combination of decreased stride length, increased pelvic tilt at maximum external rotation toward the throwing arm side, and increased pelvis axial rotation velocity at release. Thus, it may be possible to decrease peak glenohumeral compressive force by optimizing the movements of the lower body while pitching. Focus should be on both training and conditioning the lower extremity in an effort to increase stride length, increase pelvis tilt toward the glove hand side at maximum external rotation, and decrease pelvis axial rotation at release.
The glenohumeral joint is the shoulder. The 3 biomechanic adjustments that can reduce the forces applied during the pitching delivery are increasing stride length, tilting pelvis towards glove side and reducing hip speeds at pitch release. In this study, they gave an explanation of why these biomechanics are effective in reducing the shoulder joint loads.
Thus, as stride length increases, the more time the lumbopelvic hip complex will have to stabilize as the instant of shoulder maximum external rotation approaches. In addition, increased stride length may allow the throwing arm to reach an optimal angle of abduction. Previous literature has indicated that an abduction angle of 90° is optimal for decreasing shoulder kinetics. Thus, as stride length increases, the amount of time available for the throwing arm to be abducted increases; this may result in pitchers achieving an angle of abduction near 90° throughout the full pitch cycle. Based on the findings of both this study and previous research, there appears to be a synergistic relationship between stride length, pelvis lateral flexion, and humeral abduction.
Humeral abduction is lifting the throwing arm over the shoulder during lay back or maximum external rotation. I totally agree with this explanation, matter of fact, this has been my explanation of why so many pitchers who come into the 3X Pitching Velocity Program claim that their arms do not hurt anymore. I truly believe, not only stride length and pelvic tilt, but hip to shoulder separation give the arm the time it needs to fully load in the pitching delivery. This is the conversion of leg power into arm speed without overloading the throwing arm in the process. It is the secret to becoming not just a high velocity pitcher but a healthy 90+mph pitcher who can produce 20 pitches a day or 80 pitches every 5 days in Major League Baseball.
This study finally leaves us with some training advice that cuts through more of the convention wisdom of this game.
Based on the current study, proper instruction of pitching mechanics should include emphasis on increasing stride length and decreasing both pelvis lateral flexion at shoulder maximum external rotation (more lateral flexion toward the glove side) and pelvis axial rotation velocity at release (slowing the rate of pelvis axial rotation) in an attempt to decrease the magnitude of peak glenohumeral compressive force experienced throughout the pitch cycle.
When was the last time you heard a coach tell you to increase your stride, tilt your trunk and hips to your glove side and slow your hips before pitch release so you can throw healthier? Unless you are in the 3X Pitching Velocity Program, you have never heard this before!
3X Pitching Mechanics Reduce Injury and Increase Pitching Velocity
In the 3X Pitching Mechanics Guides, which is included in all of the 3X Programs, you will learn of the 3X Stride, The Tilt, and 3X Hip Rotation. These components have links to the 3 biomechanics in this study that correlated to a reduction in the forces acting on the throwing shoulder during the pitching delivery. They also are performance enhancers.
3X Stride = A study did an investigation of six professional baseball pitchers and found that increasing the stride length to 85-90% of their body height was associated with an increase in throwing velocity in four of them (2).
The Tilt = This component is a double edged sword. It will increase pitching velocity but can become a risk factor for the arm when it gets excessive. Pitchers who demonstrated excessive contralateral trunk lean produced a higher ball speed (by 1.5 m/s or 3.3 miles per hour) but also experienced approximately 10% greater shoulder and elbow joint loading………..Because increased joint loading at the shoulder and elbow joints is associated with a variety of pitching-related upper extremity injuries, pitching with excessive contralateral trunk tilt may increase the pitcher’s susceptibility to injuries (3).
3X Hip Rotation = Studies show the high velocity pitcher not only open the hips earlier than the low velocity pitcher but at a faster rate (4). Studies also show that faster more explosive hip rotation creates more hip to shoulder separation (5).
If you are looking to increase pitching velocity without risking more injury then I highly recommend that you checkout the 3X Pitching Velocity Program or better yet, the 3X Pitching Velocity Camp and take your game to the top level ASAP!
Lower Body Mechanics Reference:
- Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 2015, 31, 181 -188 – Lower Body Predictors of Glenohumeral Compressive Force in High School Baseball Pitchers – David W. Keeley,1 Gretchen D. Oliver,2 Christopher P. Dougherty,3 and Michael R. Torry4
New Mexico State University; Auburn University; The Agility Center; Illinois State University Normal.
- Montgomery J., Knudson D. (2002) – A method to determine stride length for baseball pitching. – Applied Research in Coaching and Athletics Annual 17, 75-84
- Oyama S1, Yu B, Blackburn JT, Padua DA, Li L, Myers JB. – Effect of excessive contralateral trunk tilt on pitching biomechanics and performance in high school baseball pitchers. – Am J Sports Med. 2013 Oct;41(10):2430-8.
- Keizo Takahashi, Norihisa Fujii, and Michiyoshi Ae. Kinematic Comparisons Of Different Pitch Velocity Groups In Baseball Using Motion Model Method. Doctoral Program in Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan. Institute of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan.
- Dave Fortenbaugh, MS, Glenn S. Fleisig, PhD,* and James R. Andrews, MD. – Baseball Pitching Biomechanics in Relation to Injury Risk and Performance – Sports Health. 2009 July; 1(4): 314–320.