Often when athletes are figuring out how to increase their pitching velocity, they leave out a key component. Yes, they should be squatting to build up their legs and doing rotational med ball exercises to strengthen their core. But you can also improve your pitching velocity with resistance bands—something many athletes don’t realize.
Resistance bands strengthen the muscles on the back of the shoulder. The rear deltoid, teres minor, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, and subscapularis all help to increase velocity in different ways. They don’t directly help you throw harder, but they unlock strength in sneakier ways.
The human body isn’t designed to let itself get injured. Your body will only let you throw as hard as it can, then resist in the opposite direction (so your shoulder doesn’t fly out of its socket with the ball.) When you build up your back shoulder muscles through specialized band exercises, you increase joint integrity and stability. You’re then able to put your lower-body strength and power to use and pitch near your max velocity, with less risk of your shoulder breaking down.
Try this band workout three times a week and allow yourself to really tap into your strength. A small set of resistance bands is inexpensive and portable, so you can do this short workout after your regular practices and workouts with a very small time commitment.
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Grasp the band with an overhand grip with your arms extended in front of you. Drive your arms out to the side until you’re standing in a “T.” Return your arms to the front of your body. This exercise is great for strengthening the hard-to-target rear deltoids.
Wrap the band around a pole and pull it toward your face with your elbows high. You should feel the contraction in the back of your shoulders. This will once again hit the rear deltoids and the rhomboids, two of the the prime movers in your upper back.
Stand on two small bands and bend forward at the hip. While holding the bands, raise your hands out to the side until your arms are parallel to the ground. Hold the contraction for one second at the top before returning to the starting position.
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