Losing Velocity Late in the Season?

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

There are a number of reasons why pitchers lose their velocity late in the season.  Today we’re going to take a look at hip internal rotation (IR) of the lead leg, which gets hit hard over a long season and can be one of the contributors to loss of velocity.

Continuous pitching throughout a long season (spring, summer and fall) can leave the lower half (hips, glutes and groin) feeling really “gritty” and in turn causing pitchers to make it up by overdoing it up top late in a season causing anterior shoulder and medial elbow pain.

When many people think of strengthening a pitcher’s shoulder and cuff, they think of doing a million correctives and band drills. While this can help (or hurt if done incorrectly, but that’s another blog), simply mobilizing the hips or strengthening the glutes can take some of the stress off of the arm, which is not “equipped” to handle such a violent motion all by itself.

Hip Internal Rotation:

The hip is to the lower half what the shoulder is to the upper half. In the shoulder, the humeral head (ball) sits in the glenoid (socket), where as with regards to the hip, the femoral head (ball) sits in the acetabulum (socket):

Photo 2

A lack of lead leg IR will not allow the pelvis to pivot on the front hip which in turn causes the upper body to have to make up most of that rotation lost in the hips.

Good internal rotation of the lead leg during deceleration will allow the back hip to continue to rotate around the front hip after ball release. Without good IR the hips inability to properly rotate will cause them to “stop short” causing the arm to continue on its own creating what we call a “bang” on the anterior shoulder and medial elbow, much like a bull being lassoed in mid-stride.

Photo 3

Two exercises we use at RPP to try and get some of that rotation back in the off-season are Lying Knee-to-Knee:

and Bowler Squats:

Both of these drills can be done anywhere, and offer a great bang for the buck.

See ya in the gym…

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