Pitching Exercises

By Steven Ellis for TheCompletePitcher.com

Just a short time ago, most baseball coaches thought that strength training would cause pitchers to become muscle-bound and would be counterproductive to good technique. Now it has been proven that athletic performance depends either directly or indirectly on qualities of muscular strength. We must remember that strength builds the foundation for ALL other athletic qualities. For example, if you do not possess great relative body strength (strength in relation to your body weight), you will never be able to run fast. This is due to the fact that all aspects of proper running technique require high levels of muscular strength. In other words, if you can’t achieve the proper knee drive, arm swing, posture and push-off, you can’t be fast! And this is just one example. Many university studies have also found a high correlation between an athlete’s jumping ability and agility in relation to their relative body strength. What this means is that an athlete who is strong for his/her bodyweight will possess the ability to jump higher and move quicker, compared to their weaker counterparts.

The number one purpose of complete conditioning – including the physical, technical, tactical, and psychological aspects of training – is to improve the player’s ability to make the big play. Strength training is a vital part of complete conditioning. The primary function of the body’s 600+ muscles is to contract (shorten in length) to move body parts. And remember that only muscle can cause movement. The stronger the muscles and the more forceful the contractions, the faster the athlete will run, higher he will jump, further he will throw/kick, and harder he will hit. It’s that simple!

An added bonus of strength training is injury prevention. Pitchers who strength train tend to have fewer injuries. This is because strength training strengthens the muscle attachments and increases density of bones at the sites of muscle origins and insertions. And if an injury does occur to a pitcher who has been strength training properly, it will probably not be as serious and will tend to heal faster.

My Favorite Baseball Pitching Exercises

Squat

1. Bar on back, step back out of rack slowly
2. Feet shoulder width apart, squat sitting back on your heels… heels should stay on ground (tighten abs before squatting.
3. Go down to parallel or slightly below parallel
4. Remember that keeping your back straight and keeping it upright are not the same thing

 

Single Leg Deadlift

1. Squat down touching DB’s on the ground… keep heels on ground.

Sumo Squat

1. Hold single DB in hands between legs
2. Squat down… hips going back should be first movement… knees should not go in front of toes and heels should stay on ground

Plate Walk

1. Hold weight straight out in front of you
2. Take lunge step
3. Twist with your arms going over your front leg… shoulders should be turned 90 degrees
4. Step into next step, twisting while going down into lunge position

Walking DB Lunge

1. Take large step
2. Back knee drops to ground-down not forward-shin of front leg should be straight up and down… knee never goes in front of toes
3. Reach DB’s down to the ground, touching the ground at the same time as your knee
4. Back should be at about 45 degree angle… Should stay that angle while coming up
5. Step into next rep without stopping

Power Squat

1. Same technique as squat but use lighter weight and “explode” out of the bottom
2. Should come up onto toes at the top but not jump

Swiss Ball DB Bench

1. You are going to use the Swiss Ball as your bench. Your shoulders will the only thing on the ball.
2. Keep your hips lifted up to where you body is flat or just slightly below flat. Tighten your abs keeping your ribs and waist together.
3. Have your elbows slightly angled down toward your waist.
4. Press up towards the ceiling keeping your wrists directly above your elbows.
5. All the way up and down

DB Incline Press

Pushups w/Swiss Ball

1. Perform pushups with your hands on the side of the Swiss Ball.
2. Keep hips up… don’t let them sag.
3. Go the entire way up rounding your shoulders out at the top

Single Leg DB Row

1. Similar to DB Row but without leaning on the bench.
2. Stand on one leg and hold DB with opposite hand.
3. Reach down with DB towards the foot on the ground, then pull it into your hip.
4. Let DB back down and repeat

Seated Cable Row

1. Using a low cable machine, sit with legs extended, holding the attachment with both hands.
2. Keep torso straight up and down.
3. Pull hands into belly button, squeezing shoulder blades together.
4. Let arms all the way out, but do not lean forward.
5. Repeat

Single Leg Cable Row

1. Using a low cable machine, stand on one leg, grab attachment with opposite hand.
2. Torso should be leaned slightly forward.
3. Pull hand into your hip.
4. Let arm back out with your shoulder stretching forward.
5. Repeat

Lat Pulldown

1. Grab bar with slightly wider than shoulder width.
2. Pull down in front bringing the bar down to your collar bone.
3. Let bar go back up all the way.
4. Repeat

Close-grip Pulldown

1. Grip the pulldown bar with an underhand grip or a close-grip type of attachment.
2. Pull down in front bringing hands to your collar bone
3. Let bar go back up all the way.
4. Repeat.

Pullover

1. Lay on back, using either a Swiss Ball or a bench.
2. Keep arms straight, bring DB back over your head until you feel a stretch in your lats.
3. Pull the DB up until it is perpendicular with the ground.
4. Repeat

Lateral Raise

1. Take light DB’s, with elbows slightly bent raise DB’s to your sides parallel to the floor.
2. Slowly lower and repeat

Front Raise

1. After desired reps, take DB’s and raise them in front of you until parallel with floor.
2. Slowly lower and repeat

Bent Over Reverse Fly

1. After desired reps, bend over at the hips until body is close to parallel to floor.
2. DB’s should be hanging down in front of you. Raise the DB’s straight out to the side until parallel with ground.
3. Slowly lower and repeat

Shoulder Press

1. Use either Bar or DB in front of body.
2. Press over head without leaning back. Keep abs tight.
3. Weight will be over the back of your skull when it is at the top.
4. Lower and Repeat

Skull Crusher

1. Lay on back on either bench or Swiss Ball
2. Hold DB’s by your ear with your elbows straight up. Elbows should be about 90 degrees.
3. Extend arms without moving elbows.
4. Slowly lower and repeat

Straight Arm Kickbacks

1. Hold a bar behind your body.
2. Keeping your arms straight, raise your arms behind you, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
3. Slowly lower and repeat.

Close-grip Bench

1. Grip bar with a narrow grip.
2. Lower bar to chest keeping elbows by your side.
3. Press towards ceiling keeping elbows by your side.
4. Slowly lower bar and repeat.

Tricep Extension

1. Grip bar or rope attached to a high cable pulley.
2. Bring elbows down to directly by your side.
3. Straighten arms without moving elbows.
4. Slowly raise hands until forearms are slightly above parallel and repeat.

Dips

1. On dip bars, lower body until upper arms are parallel with ground.
2. Raise body until arms are straight.
3. Repeat

Overhead Tricep Ext.

1. Grip bar or rope on a high cable pulley.
2. Face away from pulley and place one foot in front of the other.
3. With elbows up by your ear, straighten your arms.
4. Slowly let arms back and repeat.

Preacher Curl

1. One preacher curl bench hold bar in front of you and curl as high as possible.
2. Slowly lower until arms are straight and repeat.

Incline Curls

1. Sit on incline bench that is back at about 45 degree angle.
2. Hold DB’s in hands and let arms hang with your elbows behind your body.
3. Keeping elbows behind your body, flex arm at the elbow as high as you can without moving your elbows.
4. Slowly lower and repeat.

DB Hammer Curl

 1. You will curl both DB’s at the same time.
2. Hold the DB with thumbs up.
3. Curl keeping thumbs up entire time.
4. Slowly lower and repeat.

Planks

1. Get on forearms and toes.
2. Back should be flat or slightly above flat.
3. You should NOT feel this in your lower back. If you do, you probably need to get higher.
4. Keep breathing and try to relax. You should feel it in your abs.
5. Hold as long as you can keep your hips up. When hips go down, the set is over.

Side Planks

1. Get on one of your forearms and your same side foot.
2. Place other foot on top of the bottom foot.
3. Raise your hips slightly above straight.
4. Should feel in your bottom side.
5. Hold as long as you can until hips start to drop.


 

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