Baseball In-Season Training (Pitchers) – Part 1

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)

In-Season Part 1 (Pitchers) - Top

Baseball season is an exciting time. Unfortunately, it’s also a time period when many pitchers shoot themselves in the foot.  Let me explain.

I am starting to get the usual questions from parents and athletes regarding “strength” and “conditioning” during the season.  Many view the two as one and the same, but simply put they are not.  “Strength” and “Conditioning” are both integral parts of preparation but very different from one another.  For pitchers, forget about the “conditioning” at this point, you should have thought about that in the off-season.  On the other hand, I love the fact that people are starting to realize the importance of in-season “strength” training for pitchers….Hallelujah!!

In Part 1 of this 3 Part series, I’ll cover 6 of the main parts that make up a great in-season program.  Remember – Playing is ABSOLUTELY NOT the same as training.  Pitchers lose anywhere from 5-10 degrees of internal rotation during an outing.  Training 1-2 x’s per week will not only help you maintain your strength, it will guarantee that you’re getting in the necessary mobility work to get those 10 degrees back before you pitch again. Maintaining that IR (internal rotation) while your external rotation increases naturally from throwing will give you more total motion at the shoulder, a sure recipe for maintaining velocity throughout the season.

These sessions are designed to maintain your strength and mobility without creating any residual soreness that could effect on field performance. Basically, if you are playing baseball without strength training you’ll end up in late spring considerably weaker than you were when the season started in March.

Without getting too much into the nuts and bolts of the actual programming, I’ve sketched out some important bullet points. In case some of you can’t get to RPP due to time or transportation constraints, make sure you include these into your programming. As always, safety and form is of the utmost importance so if your workouts aren’t being monitored by a professional coach or trainer, please leave it alone. Remember the benefit has to be worth the risk and nothing is worth getting injured, period. That being said:

Rules (1-3 x’s/week) :

  • No training on game day (foam rolling and mobility work is great every day though)
  • 45 – 60 min. per workout (maximum)
  • No humeral movement in T-spine drills (no ext/rot or arm bars)
  • Med ball work on non-dom side only
  • 12 sets of strength training (not including cuff work)

Schedule (7 – Day rotation):

  • Day 0: Pitch
  • Day 1: Full Body
  • Day 2: (off)
  • Day 3: Upper Body, Med. Ball and Core
  • Day 4: Movement (optional)
  • Day 5: Full-Body (light lower body)
  • Day 6: (off)
  • Day 7: Pitch

The reality is many high school kids between practice and homework can’t get to the gym more than 2 x’s per week. In this case, here at RPP we recommend 2 “full body” strength training sessions per week.  These workouts do not include conditioning work (athletes will get enough movement during the week at practice, doing sprint work, fielding ground balls and warm-ups).

With pitchers, we would optimally like to see them at RPP the day after throwing so we can account for a majority of their weekly training/playing stress within a 24-hour period.  This allows them to have time to recover in between starts. We can also make sure that they are doing their mobility and soft tissue (foam rolling) work correctly.

Remember, it’s not about who’s the strongest, it’s about who stays the strongest all season.  Please stay tuned for Part 2 where we will get into more specifics.

 

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