Strengthening the Lead Leg to Help Improve Pitching Velocity

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

Lead Leg Velo 1If your goal is speed and velocity, whether you’re running around the diamond or throwing a fastball, then you need to put more force into the ground period.  A recent study at Ohio State titled Stride Leg Ground Reaction Forces Predict Throwing Velocity in Adult Recreational Baseball Pitchers (by McNally MP, Borstad JD, Oñate JA, Chaudhari AM, published October 29, 2015, click here for details) concluded that there was a high correlation between pitchers with higher velocity and the amount of force being applied into the ground with the front leg.

HOW and WHEN this force is being applied to the ground is equally as important. But being that my field of expertise is strength and conditioning, I’m going to make the focus of this blog on strength and some ways to achieve that in the weight room.

Force imparted by the lead leg against the direction of the throw creates a “jolt” or force (much like a car hitting a wall).

Crash testing

That force is transferred through the core, across the body and into the throwing arm prior to the ball leaving the hand. The more force the lead leg can produce into the ground the more the ground will give back to the throwing arm.

A strong front leg will also enable you to:

    • Get out in front further at ball release, giving the batter less time to see the pitch
    • Create a more stable platform for the back hip to come around on, lengthening deceleration time and helping to take major stress off the anterior (front) part of the shoulder.

Here are a few exercises we do here at RPP to get the lead leg stronger and use it to help produce more gas the safe way.

(1/2 Kneeling OH Med Ball Throw)

(1-Leg Box Drop Heiden)

Also RFESS (w/ pause at bottom) teaches building explosiveness from a dead stop.

Remember – the front leg is the brakes, that means that the back leg is the gas and you don’t want to be driving a car that doesn’t have good enough breaks to handle the amount of power you can produce with the gas pedal.

See ya’ in the gym.

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