A Simple, Yet Overlooked Way To Gain Velocity

A Simple, Yet Overlooked Way To Gain Velocity

A Simple, Yet Overlooked Way To Gain Velocity

The infatuation of the radar gun in baseball has had athletes and coaches chasing the “best” training programs for years. Thanks to the internet we now have access to a wide array of different methodologies all leading to a common end, velocity.  Weighted baseball programs, and long toss programs have been proven to be useful and effective when the body is prepared.  However, the problem is that throwing programs are very strenuous, and the majority of high school baseball players are not physically prepared for that type of stress. It would be like trying to shoot a cannon out of a canoe.

Yet STILL, in 2017, the baseball population seem to either not understand what good Strength and Conditioning is, or have no clue of what a solid training program  looks like. which directly reflects on us, the coaches.  Before you go out looking for the next best throwing program try this way to gain velocity and resiliency.

Train For Strength

Strength is the absolute foundation for which playing baseball, or any sport for that matter, stems from. Baseball players don’t need to be powerlifters by any means. They do however, need to develop appreciable amounts of strength in order to excel.

Contrary to popular belief, more throwing more is not the answer. Long tossing does not, and I repeat DOES NOT develop arm strength. It develops arm speed- which is power.  Power, is reliant on muscular strength.  If you cant apply much force, you can’t apply much force quickly.

To explain this, I like to use an analogy I got from Greg Robbins.  Think of strength and power as a pool.  The amount of water in the pool is your strength.  How fast you are able take that water out of the pool is your power.  If you don’t have much water in the pool (Strength), taking that poor amount of water out of the pool won’t yield much power.  No matter how fast you pull that puddle out.  However, fill that pool with larger amounts of water (build strength) and still be able to take that water out just as fast (Power), and that’s where athleticism happens. Strength is a precursor to speed and power.

“If you think doing some rubber tubing external rotations is going to help decelerate a 100 mph fastball that involves a total-body effort, you might as well schedule your shoulder for elbow surgery now.”- Eric Cressey

In case you are wondering where to start.  Here are some exercises Baseball players should do and why:

  • Deadlift

Deadlifts are a great way to develop big levels of strength for the entire posterior chain. It targets muscles like the Glutes, Hamstrings, Erector Spinae, Lats, upper back, outer abdominals, inner abdominals, and even deep neck flexors. There’s a reason it’s one of the big 3 in strength and conditioning.

Coaching Cues:

  1. Imagine you are trying tot touch your butt to the back wall.
  2. Put your shoulder blades in your back pocket
  3. Deep Breath in through the nose try to fill your entire body with air
  4. Squeeze your abs like you are trying to close a zipper
  5. Spread the floor apart while digging your feet into the ground
  6. Stand tall as if you possibly can
  7. Put the weight back down the same way you picked it up
  • Front Squats

There are two reasons why I prefer the front squat over the back squat in the majority of our athletes. One, is that the position of the bar has been shown in research to have less compressive loads on the spine than the backsquat. The other reason is that the backsquat demands more mobility and stability of the upper back, which many baseball players struggle with. Instead, the front squat is much bigger bang for my buck than the backsquat. It engages the anterior core, activates the posterior chain, and it is a more joint friendly position for the majority of baseball players shoulders. This allows the athlete to reap a lot of gain with little cost.

Coaching Cues:

  1. Deep Breath in through the nose try to fill your entire body with air
  2. Squeeze your abs like you are trying to close a zipper
  3. Sit down and spread the floor while trying to feel your whole foot on the ground
  4. Shrug your shoulders to keep your elbows up
  5. Stand up as tall as you possibly can
  • About any variation of a row (except upright rows)

  • Pushups

Pushups are probably the most used exercise out there and debatably the most butchered exercise as well. When done correctly the pushup offers countless benefits to baseball players from optimal scapular protraction and upward rotation , Serratus anterior recruitment, and Anterior core stability.

Coaching Cues:

  1. Thumbs in line with your chest
  2. Screw your hands into the ground
  3. Squeeze your abs like you are trying to close a zipper
  4. Deep Breath in through the nose try to fill your entire body with air
  5. On the way down, make an arrow with your arms
  6. On the way up, push the ground as far away as you can
  7. Blow out like your blowing up a balloon
  •  Single leg work

Balance has been shown to increase pitching performance. Also, take a look at what sports are played on. They are played mainly on one leg. Don’t believe me still? Try running with both legs at the same time without either leg loosing contact with the ground. Additionally, last time I checked pitching requires a lot of single leg strength, mobility, and stability.So, If you are not incorporating single leg training, I suggest you start there. Anything from split squats, single leg deadlifts, Reverse Lunges, Lateral Lunges, the list goes on. Most athletes already do most lunges. The key is doing the exercises with optimal movement patterns to reduce the risk of injury and to reap the benefits of single leg strength

This is a subtle list of exercises that can be interchanged with tons of variation. However, I find that most of these exercises are the bread and butter for baseball athletes.Especially High school athletes. Strength is the most important investment any athlete can make in their career. Strength training may not be fancy or directly correlated with throwing, but I can say that everyone can benefit from a well designed training program. Much like a hitting slump, take a different approach to the plate. Build a base of strength first, then participate weighted ball programs after if you so choose. Not the other way around. Remember, If you build it, velocity will come.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment