Pitchers: Throw Harder With This Med Ball Workout

December 3, 2012 | Giovanni Grassi

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Pitching a baseball is one of the most complex and difficult-to-train sports skills. If you want to throw harder, you need to rethink how you work out. (Check out Justin Verlander's workout.)

Traditional pitching workouts typically involve dumbbell and/or resistance band exercises focused on specific parts of the throwing motion—e.g., Dumbbell Rows or Resistance Band Scarecrows targeting the back and shoulder. This type of training is very effective at increasing strength and reducing the risk of an overuse injury. The problem is that it does little to increase pitching velocity, because it trains the muscles, not the movement. (Find out how to prevent shoulder injuries.)

Instead, try performing med ball exercises that closely mimic the throwing motion. They will increase power in the muscles used when you throw—critical for adding velocity to your pitches. Also, these exercises work similar to plyometrics by improving your muscles' ability to store energy after the wind-up and then rapidly release it into the throw.

If you want to throw harder, perform this med ball pitching workout two or three times per week. Form and technique are paramount, so use a lightweight med ball. The drills instruct you to throw the med ball against a wall, but feel free to use a partner or trampoline if desired.

Single-Arm Med Ball L-Throwdowns

Focus: shoulder rotation speed

  • Assume athletic stance facing wall
  • Hold med ball in hand with arm in "L" position (arm to side at shoulder height and elbow bent 90 degrees)
  • Rotate shoulder and throw med ball on ground; do not change position of upper arm
  • Catch and repeat

Sets/Reps: 2x10 each arm

Sideways Rotating Single-Arm Chest Pass

Focus: trunk rotation and arm speed

  • Assume athletic stance with left shoulder facing wall
  • Hold med ball at chest height
  • Rotate torso to right then toward wall while extending right arm to throw med ball against wall
  • Catch and repeat

Sets/Reps: 2x10 each arm

Overhead Crossover Throwdown

Focus: trunk rotation and shoulder speed

  • Assume athletic stance facing wall
  • Hold med ball with both hands over right shoulder
  • Rotate trunk and bring arms down and across body to forcefully throw med ball
  • Catch and repeat

Sets/Reps: 2x10 each side

Med Ball Baseball Pitch

Focus: trunk rotation, arm and shoulder speed; decreased time taken between wind-up and pitch (amortization phase)

  • Assume normal pitching stance holding med ball with two hands
  • Perform pitching motion and throw med ball with both hands
  • Catch and repeat

Sets/Reps: 2x10 each side

Check out STACK's Pitchers' Guide for more workouts designed to help you throw harder.

Giovanni Grassi
- Giovanni Grassi is an NSCA-CSCS-certified sports performance specialist at the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, N.J., where he trains athletes in speed and agility...
Giovanni Grassi
- Giovanni Grassi is an NSCA-CSCS-certified sports performance specialist at the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, N.J., where he trains athletes in speed and agility...
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