Baseball Pitching Training
By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
There are really only two kinds of baseball pitching training: strengthening and flexibility training.
Strengthening makes muscles stronger and tighter. Flexibility training makes them longer and more flexible.
Since every pitcher needs to train both strength and flexibility, he should perform baseball pitching training exercises that will do both things.
For pitcher's, weight training is the perfect method for strengthening muscles. Calisthenics and conditioning are the perfect baseball pitching training for flexibility.
Ideally, a pitcher should perform weight training for a particular muscle and then offset that by following up immediately with some calisthenics. He should work out no more than twice a week, and never on successive days. The best place to train pitchers is always in a gym, with the proper pitching and workout equipment.
A baseball pitcher can never be too flexible. But he can become too muscular, so he must keep in mind that his weight training should be modest. His goal is not to become an Arnold Schwarzenegger, but simply to strengthen his muscles with more pitching-specific training methods.
A pitcher can become too tightly muscled, and this is why, before the sixties, weight training was frowned upon by most baseball people.
Today, however, our pitcher training programs are more enlightened, and we realize that a modest training routine of lifting will not turn anyone into a muscle bound hulk.
Again, remember that when following a baseball pitcher training program not to work your muscles more than twice a week, and never on successive days. When you lift weights, what you are really doing is putting your muscles under stress. Your muscles then need at least 48 hours to restore themselves before the next bout of lifting.
Here are some basic terms and rules for baseball training for pitchers:
- A "repetition" is one complete movement of an exercise.
- A "set" is a series of repetitions done in succession before resting (e.g., ten reps and rest equal one set).
- The amount of weight to use for each exercise varies with each person. The best rule of thumb to follow is this: The weight should be light enough for you to perform at least six successive repetitions without cheating, and it should be heavy enough so that you can't perform more than fifteen repetitions too easily.
- Begin your pitching strength training with light weights and then, after a month or so, increase the weights while maintaining the same number of repetitions.
- Expect a slight soreness the day after each training workout. It is normal. Without it you aren't working hard enough.
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