The deadlift is an often neglected exercise in many pitcher strength training routines.
But as a pitcher, if you aren't currently utilizing deadlifts, then you are missing out on a great opportunity.
Deadlifts are one of the most effective exercises for increasing full-body strength and power.
Here are some of the misguided fears some pitchers may have about deadlifts:
- "I'm going to hurt my back!"
- "Pitchers aren't suppose to lift heavy!"
- "I'm going to bulk up, and then throw slower!"
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. If you believe this nonsense then you need to avoid the person who is feeding it to you!
A large portion of pitching velocity is directly generated through the core. Guess what? Deadlifts are one of the most effective exercises for targeting the entire core.
Benefits of deadlifts for pitchers
- Strengthens the lower half: glutes, hamstrings, hips, and lower back
- Strengthens the upper half: upper back and lats
- Increased core stability
- Forearm and grip strength potential
- Targets the anaerobic energy system (specific to pitching)
The deadlift should be incorporated into any pitchers strength training routine who is of appropriate age. Before beginning this great exercise, you must understand some important safety tips and proper form.
How to deadlift safely (5 steps)
First, I will explain the steps to a proper deadlift and then explain some important mechanical flaws that you must avoid.
Please remember, always practice good form over heavy weight, especially on this exercise.
- You need a barbell with the appropriate weight. If you have never performed deadlifts, practice a few sets with the barbell alone to perfect the form.
- Position your feet less than shoulder-width apart.
- Grip the barbell at about shoulder-width or further. You can use a double overhand grip, or use the alternate grip: one palm down, one palm up. This is purely preference.
- The bar should be positioned above the middle of your feet, your knees should be slightly bent, and your back should be straight.
- With your chest out and hips back, pull the weight up close to your body keeping your back straight.
Those are the basic steps of the deadlift, but there are some important mechanical flaws that you must avoid. Using incorrect form on this exercise can lead to unnecessary injury.
So, make sure you have mastered the form before loading the weight on.
Avoid these deadlifting mistakes
- Positioning your weight over the toes
- Arching the back
- Leaning back
- Not performing the negative
- Not breathing
All your weight should be directly on your heels during this entire exercise.
Your back should be straight like the demonstration above. If you can't keep your back straight, then you need to decrease the weight.
Once you reach the locked position do not lean back. Instead, lock your glutes and lower back, and then perform the negative portion of the repetition.
The negative portion of the deadlift is just as important as the initial pull. If you can't perform the negative, then you should probably decrease the weight.
If you're still not convinced about the deadlift, then my only advice is to actually try it for 8 weeks. I can guarantee you will be pleased with your strength and muscular gains.
Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.
Learn more about my off-season workout programs for pitchers
To get to the next level, preparation matters. Your work ethic matters. Being committed to the process matters. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching. The journey is just as important as the end result.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my proven programs for pitchers of all ages.
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