Explosiveness is critical for producing high pitching velocity.
All pitcher-specific strength training or conditioning should be designed to increase athleticism, explosiveness, and anaerobic endurance.
Yes, there are some pitchers like CC Sabathia who aren't very athletic! But also keep in mind that such pitchers are very gifted. Most of us do not have the raw talent that a pitcher like Sabathia does.
This is why you must train, and you must train hard. Aside from effective pitching mechanics, I firmly believe athleticism is the second most important aspect to increasing velocity.
Great athleticism means increased explosiveness. And increased explosiveness means more power and drive towards home plate.
But how do you increase athleticism and explosiveness?
4 steps to increasing explosiveness in pitchers
Below, you will see four techniques you can start using so that you're throwing at your highest potential velocity by next season.
- Stop running poles
- Start sprinting
Seriously! STOP running pointless poles and long distance! If you really want to increase athleticism, you need to stay away from aerobic conditioning.
Aerobic exercises provide no benefits for pitching, and can in fact decrease your explosiveness and power. This is because these exercises train slow twitch muscle fibers, which are an explosive athletes worst enemy.
If you need a little proof: I didn't perform any aerobic conditioning my senior year when I increased my velocity by 7 mph.
Your alternative to aerobic conditioning is sprint training. You can perform sprints as a warm-up and as a recovery method following a performance.
Sprints will increase your explosiveness, lean muscle mass, and anaerobic conditioning. The stop-and-go motion of sprinting resembles the interval motion of delivering a pitch.
The great thing is that a sprint routine will typically take less than 30 minutes to complete.
Here is a sample traditional sprint routine you can utilize:
- 5 sprints at 60 yards - sprint out, walk back (repeat)
- 5 sprints at 40 yards - sprint out, walk back (repeat)
- 5 sprints at 20 yards - sprint out, walk back (repeat)
Once traditional sprints become easier, you can transition onto interval sprints, hill sprints, or resistance sprints.
But always remember these tips:
- Never sprint further than 60 yards
- You shouldn't sprint more than three or four times a week.
- Always use dynamic stretching before.
All explosive movements in sports are fueled by the fast twitch muscle fibers. As a pitcher, you must strive to strengthen these fibers in order to increase your explosion off the mound.
The most effective techniques for doing so are to use plyometrics and agility's. Both methods directly target these fibers and are key to improving your explosive ability.
Plyometric exercises include depth jumps, side-to-side box jumps, vertical explosions, horizontal explosions, and platform jumps.
Agility exercises are typically performed on a ladder, with cones, or with hurdles. These exercises are designed to increase foot speed and non-linear quickness.
The only way to truly increase strength, power, and explosiveness is through weightlifting. Always focus on compound exercises, and exercises that will help increase athleticism.
Some of the most effective weightlifting exercises for pitchers are squats, deadlifts, cleans, lunges, barbell row, dumbbell row, and dumbbell bench to name only a few.
Aside from traditional weightlifting, you can also utilize medicine balls and kettlebells. Such exercise equipment can add a challenging and unique element to your strength training routine.
As a pitcher, you must always structure your strength training and conditioning with the intention of increasing athleticism, and most importantly, explosiveness.
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.
READ THIS NEXT: How To Pitch Faster In Baseball (15 Tips That Actually Work)