WSBB Blog: Increase Pitching Velocity The Westside Way
In the sport of baseball, the pitcher is the most important member of the defense. Having the ability to throw powerful pitches results in strikeouts, groundouts, and flyouts. One thing all pitchers are concerned with is the amount of velocity they can create to throw the fastest ball possible.
Luckily, the Westside Barbell Conjugate Method can be used to accomplish this goal. Through the use of max effort training, proper exercise selection, and proper athlete management and recovery a pitcher can reach new levels of ability rapidly. Below, we will go over the basics of max effort lower and upper training for pitchers.
Max Effort Lower
For max effort lower, the focus will be developing as much glute/ham/hip strength as possible. This will be accomplished multiple ways, using sumo deadlifts and box squats. To create exercise variation in the sumo deadlift, bands and chains will be utilized as will rack pulls, block pulls, and deficit pulls.
To create exercise variation in the box squat, bands and chains will also be used, along with differing box heights and specialty barbells workout to workout. The focus will be working up to max effort singles or triples, alternating between singles a triples based on what you did the previous workout. For example, if your last max effort lower exercise was sumo deadlifts for a triple, your next max effort exercise would be a box squat variation working up to a heavy single.
Accessory work would include exercises such as box jumps, belt squats and marches, step ups holding heavy dumbbells, along with kettlebell swings, cossack squats, and abs.
Max Effort Upper
Max effort upper is where the monitoring of the training program and the athletes’ recovery become incredibly important. Whether in season, or in the off season, a pitcher always has to monitor and stay on top of their shoulder health. Due to this factor, it is recommended that pitchers only work up to single rep lifts on max effort upper.
The reason being, increased repetitions with weights above 80% begin to raise the level of injury risk, especially to an athlete who lives and dies on their shoulder health. Exercises such as close grip bench, competition bench, and incline bench would be used as max effort movements. Accessory work would include dumbbell presses, tricep and bicep specific work, and light shoulder work used to facilitate positive improvements in range of motion as well as increase blood flow to the shoulder to aid in the recovery process.
Overall upper accessory volume would be lower than a typical athlete or powerlifter training program, and would be tailored to fit the demands of a pitcher’s throwing schedule.
When dealing with pitchers you are dealing with a different situation than what is common with most athletes. Given their increased need for proper recovery, coupled with the fact that one oversight can lead to a performance decreasing incident or injury, training pitchers can be difficult. However, by correctly implementing the conjugate method and customizing it to fit the sporting and recovery needs of a pitcher, you can take their throwing speed to levels previously believed to be unattainable.
For more information regarding how we train baseball players, along with many other types of athletes, visit the Westside Barbell website. Additionally, you can sign up for the Conjugate Club to gain access to the complete library of Westside Barbell knowledge. As always, stay strong.