Pre-Season Baseball Throwing Program for a Healthy and Durable Arm

STACK Expert Gabe Lazzaro offers a baseball throwing program that can help you safely build arm strength and endurance.

It's no longer a secret that youth sports injuries are an epidemic on the rise, and injuries related to baseball throwing and pitching are at the forefront. Every spring, baseball players break out their gear and immediately put the pedal to the metal to prepare for their competitive seasons.

We are athletes. We are competitors. We want to outwork our opponents, and doing more always feels like the right thing to do to gaining an edge, doesn't it? Unfortunately, this is not always a smart strategy.

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A sudden increase in throwing volume puts baseball players at any level at a higher risk of injury. It can also leave them overly fatigued late in the season (a condition commonly referred to as "dead arm"), especially at the college and pro level. With off-seasons quickly becoming an endangered species, proper progressions are key to maintaining a healthy arm. Remember, you only get so many bullets, so make sure you use them wisely.

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The following baseball throwing program outlines a simple progression that can help you safely build up arm strength and endurance leading into your season. The program is focused on position players, with added notes for pitchers. Soreness is to be expected during any throwing program. It's OK to throw with some mild soreness, but understand the difference between discomfort and pain. If you experience severe soreness or pain at any point during this throwing program, stop immediately and contact an athletic trainer or doctor. Do not rely on your sport coach, since he may not have the necessary knowledge to give you sound advice, even if he has the best intentions.

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Week 1 - To be performed on nonconsecutive days (e.g., Mon, Wed, Fri)

  • Day 1 - 20 throws @ 45 ft, 20 throws @ 60 ft
  • Day 2 - 20 throws @ 45 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft, 10 throws @ 90 ft
  • Day 3 - 20-25 throws @ 45 ft, 10-15 throws @ 60 ft, 10-15 throws @ 90 ft

NOTE: Depending on your current level of preparation, this may cause some soreness or it may feel like nothing at all. Stick to the plan and allow your body to adapt as the program intensifies.

Week 2 - To be performed on nonconsecutive days

  • Day 1 - 20 throws @ 45 ft, 20 throws @ 60 ft, 10-15 throws @ 90 ft
  • Day 2 - 10 throws @ 45 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 10 throws @ 120 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft
  • Day 3 - 10 throws @ 45 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft, 20-25 throws @ 90 ft, 10-15 throws @ 120 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft

PITCHERS: Include flat ground work on day 3, fastball grip only, no more than 15 throws

Week 3 - No more than 2 consecutive days (e.g., Mon/Tue, Thur/Fri)

  • Day 1 - 20 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 20 throws @ 120 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft
  • Day 2 - 20 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 10 throws @ 120 ft, 10 throws @ 150 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft.
  • Day 3 - 20 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 10-15 throws@ 120 ft, 10throws @ 150, 10 throws @ 60 ft
  • Day 4 - 20 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 20 throws @ 120 ft, 10 throws @ 150 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft

NOTE: If you experience significant soreness or tightness during week 3, take an extra day off and do not force yourself to throw on consecutive days.

PITCHERS: Include flat ground work 2x this week, fastball & change-up grips, no more than 15 throws

Week 4 - No more than 2 consecutive days

  • Day 1 - 20 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 20 throws @ 120 ft, 10-15 throws @ 150 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft
  • Day 2 - 20 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 20 throws @ 120 ft, 20 throws @ 150 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft
  • Day 3 - 20-30 throws @ 60 ft, 20-30 throws @ 90 ft, 20 throws @ 120 ft, 20 throws @ 150 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft
  • Day 4 - 20 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 10 throws @ 120 ft, 10 throws @ 150 ft, 10 throws @ 60 ft

PITCHERS: Include flat ground work 2x this week, fastball & change-up grips, no more than 15 throws

Week 5 - Complete on consecutive days (e.g., Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri)

  • 10 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 20 throws @ 120 ft, 5-10 throws @ 150 feet, 10 throws @ 60 ft

NOTE: One day this week can be a long-toss day, not to exceed 200 ft and no more that 15 throws

PITCHERS: Include flat ground work 3x this week on nonconsecutive days, fastball, change-up and curve ball grips, no more than 20 throws

Week 6 - Complete on consecutive days (e.g., Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri)

  • 10 throws @ 60 ft, 20 throws @ 90 ft, 20 throws @ 120 ft, 5-10 throws @ 150 feet, 10 throws @ 60 ft

NOTE: Two days this week can be long-toss days, not to exceed 220 ft and no more than 15 throws. Allow at least two (2) days between long tossing. (e.g., Mon/Thur, or Tue/Fri).

PITCHERS: May begin throwing off a mound, 20-25 pitches max, FASTBALLS ONLY.


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Topics: BASEBALL | PITCHING DRILLS AND WORKOUTS | INJURY PREVENTION | THROW | FASTBALL | PITCHER | DRILL