Workouts And Pitching

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

A controversial topic in baseball is lifting weights. There are a lot of misconceptions, rumors, etc about lifting weights. Some people say that lifting weights is horrible for your arm, while others swear by pumping some iron to increase velocity. Whatever you believe, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the timing of your lifting.

If you are scheduled to throw on a certain day, you won’t want to go to the gym that morning and do a lot of lifting. This will fatigue your muscles and decrease your pitching performance.

In order to be an effective pitcher, a lot of muscles need to work to their full potential to bring maximum velocity. Some guys think that it is OK to work out their legs on a pitching days, when in reality they could not be more wrong. Pitching requires the use of nearly every muscle in the body, and if you fatigue the legs, it will only put more stress on the arm as you try to “muscle up” on the pitch to get more speed.

So when is a good time to work out? That answer is ultimately up to you, but a good rule of thumb is to only workout when you will not be sore on your pitching day. For some guys, they can lift the day before a pitching outing and be perfectly fine. Others may need one or two days off to recuperate. Many guys will hit the gym the day after they pitch when they know they will have a few days to rest.

If you really must workout everyday, you will want to lift after you pitch. But keep the weights light! A light workout after you pitch is a good way to keep your body loose, but lifting too heavy may get you really stiff. Nobody knows your body better than yourself, so do what works best for you.

A good workout the day after you pitch is excellent for staying loose and keeping in pitching shape. A nice jog will help loosen up the shoulder, and some elastic band work is great for stability. If you incorporate some core work with some light dumbbell lifting, there is no reason why you can’t get a good workout session in without becoming sore or stiff.

Lifting in season is different than working out over the off season. It is advisable not to lift heavy during the season, as doing so may cause you to get “bulky” and less flexible. Pitching is all about flexibility, and getting too buff can inhibit your natural throwing motion, causing a decrease in flexibility and range of motion.

Use your best judgment when deciding what to do. Everyone responds differently to weight lifting, so only YOU know exactly how you will deal with a lifting session. Hopefully you will keep in mind some of these tips, and you will enjoy a healthy and successful season!


 

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