If you’ve ever been to a baseball game or played the sport yourself, you’ve witnessed the organized ritual that is a pre-game warm-up routine. You will see players running, jumping, stretching, and moving with the intent of preparing their bodies for the game ahead. A good warm-up is crucial to be ready to play to the best of your ability. Why only prep your body before the game? Shouldn’t we take it further and keep baseball players firing on all cylinders late into the game?
Throwing a baseball is the fastest motion in sports. The shoulder of an MLB pitcher can rotate at a peak speed of 8500 degrees per second. If they maintained that speed, that would be almost 24 full rotations per second! That’s freaky fast! However, with the explosive motion that is throwing comes to a few challenges to overcome.
The Three Laws of Throwing
Throwing a baseball causes stress on the body, especially the elbow and shoulder.
Throwing a baseball creates a loss of throwing arm strength and mobility.
Losing throwing arm mobility or strength is correlated with an increase in injuries.
Arm pain is every baseball player’s worst nightmare. No one wants to walk off the mound clutching their elbow or shoulder. While we can never completely remove the stress of throwing, we can improve mobility and strength with the two-out drill. It’s quick, simple, and effective!
Check out the video below by Mike Reinold for an example of how to perform the two-out drill routine.
The main goals of the two-out drill is to loosen up the shoulder and forearm, get your blood flowing, and keep the nervous system active. This should take you 1-2 minutes max to perform.
When Should the Two-out Drill be Performed?
- Between innings by the current pitcher
- Right after a pitcher is removed from the game as a cool-down exercise
- Right before a pitcher is put into the game from the bullpen, dugout, or field
The Study Behind the Two-out Drill
Now that we’ve highlighted the two-out drill and how to perform it, let’s dive into why the two-out drill works. Rafael Escamilla and Kyle Yamashiro originally studied the two-out drill. They tested 20 professional pitchers to see the effect of a 40-pitch bullpen session on their arm range of motion. The study found that pitchers had lost 10 degrees of range of motion along the rotational arc (internal rotation + external rotation) after throwing 40 pitches.
The rotational arc is a crucial part of the throwing motion. Pitchers need to keep full mobility along this arc to be able to throw their best.
Rotational Arch image from Mike Reinold
After performing the two-out drill demonstrated in the video above, the pitchers regained their full range of motion! Basically, professional pitchers lost range after throwing 40 pitches and this routine brought their arm back to the same range of motion as before they pitched. Their arm looked as good as new.
We know that pitching decreases arm range of motion and strength. We also know that an arm with less range of motion is more likely to get injured. The two-out drill is a promising weapon to combat this issue. Adding the two-out drill to your next game is a no-brainer!
Throw hard and throw healthy friends.