By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
Want to increase baseball pitching speed?
It starts with mechanics and then add some pitching-specific strength and conditioning.
To look at where baseball pitching speed generates, let's first look at pitching mechanics. The overhand throw is a complex motion involving the entire body in a coordinated manner.
Although the pitching arm receives the primary attention, the trunk and lower extremities play a vital role in throwing mechanics and pitch speed.
A biomechanical study of baseball pitching mechanics indicated that 46.9% of a pitcher's speed is attributed to the stride and body rotation. 53.1% of the speed was due to action of the arm.
Therefore, to increase baseball pitching speed, a weight training program for pitchers should be performed both pre-season and in-season, and should include arm, trunk, and lower-body exercises (2).
Weighted implements including surgical tube exercises, throwers 10, lower body exercises (seated leg presses, leg-extensions, leg curls, calf raises), core exercises (sit-ups), and upper body exercises (triceps extensions, bicep curls, shrugs, dumbbell presses, rows, wrist extensions, wrist curls) all can dramatically increase pitching speed.
For a significant increase in baseball pitching speed, the pitcher's training protocol should include a minimum of 3 training sessions per week, performing 3 sets of 6 to 12 repetitions, for at least 8 weeks (2).
Total body weight training can significantly improve baseball pitch speed (2). If you want to increase the speed of your fastball, develop quality pitching mechanics and strength train.
Sources: (1) Newton, Robert U., McEvoy, Kerry I. 1994: Baseball Throwing Velocity: A Comparison of Medicine Ball Training and Weight Training. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 198-203. (2) DeRENNE, COOP, HO, KWOK W., MURPHY, JAMES C. 2001: Effects of General, Special, and Specific Resistance Training on Throwing Velocity in Baseball: A Brief Review. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 148-156.
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