Respect the arm. It’s the code of the base paths for runners thinking of challenging outfielders with rocket arms. Only a handful of outfielders command that kind of fearful respect, but lucky for you, STACK has a key to joining them: high-powered workouts used by big leaguers who turn aggressive base runners into cautious pedestrians.
First up is Houston Astros right fielder Hunter Pence, who led all outfielders with 16 assists in 2009. You’d think teams would think twice about testing a guy named Hunter, but he continues to turn daring base runners into dead ducks.
Lower-body and core-strengthening exercises provide the foundation for Pence's cannon-like arm strength, improving his ability to initiate force from the ground, transfer it through his trunk and apply it to throwing the baseball.
"If you can’t transfer that power, you’re going to try and throw the ball harder,” says Astros strength coach Gene Coleman. “You’re only as good as your mechanics will permit. Our goal is to build Hunter's leg strength and build functional strength.”
Follow the mini routine below (videos above), which includes a back-strengthening exercise. “You have to have a solid base for your arm to throw,” Coleman says.
Coleman: "The purpose of the Squat is to train the glutes to fire up. All the power comes from your glutes. You’re going to initiate force in your lower body, transfer it through your trunk, and apply it with your hands and arms."
Single-Leg RDL With Med Ball
Coleman: "The hamstrings' functions are to flex the knee and extend the hips. For our purpose, we want him to extend the hips. We make it game-like by throwing the med ball with a spin, or throw it over his head and force him to make adjustments with his body."
Seated Cable Row
Coleman: "The whole purpose is that you have to set the scapula to have a solid base for your arm to throw, and the Seated Row helps with that."
Return next week for the second post in STACK'S Golden Arms Club series, highlighting the workout routine of another strong-armed outfielder.