Velocity and the Holy Grail (Part 3)

By Nunzio Signore (B.A., CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)

In today’s post we are covering Part 3 of “Velocity and the Holy Grail”.  In case you missed Part 1 please click here, Part 2 please click here.

Ball on Fire

With the off-season already here, pitchers should be in “shut down” mode for a while (preferably 8 weeks) and address arm issues that occur over the course of a long season.  Today, we’ll look at #’s 7 through 9 of what I consider to be 12 of the key components to helping pitchers increase their velocity.

7. T-spine Rotation: The ability to rotate the upper body during both lay back and follow through is essential to creating adequate separation between the upper and lower quarters, thus creating the “whipping” action that helps create the forces necessary to throw smoke. Increasing your thoracic spine rotation (mobility) will help assure that you’re getting that rotation from the right place and not from your lower back or from cranking at the elbow. Here’s an exercise that not only helps get more rotation from your t-spine, but also works on shoulder internal/external rotation, all at the same time.

(T-spine Int/Ext Rotation)

8. Increase Lead Leg IR: Along with the dominant arm, the lead (or plant leg) is another area where Internal Rotation is lost partially due to the forces applied to it during foot strike and follow through.

Velo Holy Grail Part 3 - 1

After a long season, the hip can get rather “gritty” down there. This can also drastically effect opposite arm IR due to the fact that the lower body cannot adequately help decelerate, causing the upper body to overcompensate creating a “bang” on the anterior shoulder.  We implement bowler squats into our warm ups to try and get some of that movement back.

(Bowler Squats)

9. Posterior Cuff Strength: Velocity requires both arm strength and arm speed. And there is a difference between the two. Cuff strength and scap stability helps build arm strength. Throwing builds arm speed, not strength (to be covered in a later blog). Strengthening the posterior cuff will also help with decelerating the arm during throwing. Results? To name a few, less “bang” on the anterior (front) of the shoulder during follow through and less anterior glide (this is when the arm migrates forward “popping out” in the front of the shoulder) during the “lay back” position.

Velo Holy Grail Part 3 - 2

Here’s a great exercise that strengthens the cuff in 3 different positions of the delivery.

(½ Kneeling Band ER)

Like I’ve said before, there are plenty of college and big league players who are throwing 95-100mph incorrectly. But if young pitchers can learn great form, it can possibly help avoid them ending up on the table further down the road, as well as getting more longevity out of their arm.

Please stay tuned for Part 4 – the final installment coming soon.

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