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Specific Training In Baseball Pitching Velocities

 


Pitching throwing velocity is the success of baseball pitchers. An excellent review of literature  e by the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Hawaii was published in the Strength and Conditioning Research Journal in 2001.


A study by Toyoshima revealed that in an overhand throw the velocity was determined 46.9% by the stride and body rotation whereas 53.1 % of the velocity was due to the action of the arm. The study recommended that for baseball players to improve throwing velocity, should be designed to include the arm, trunk and lower body exercises.


Research by Sullivan, resistance training programs used progressive and non-progressive isotonic upper body resistance training protocols to determine the changes of velocity among college men non-baseball players.  Although this investigator found a significant increase in throwing velocity with the isotonic upper body exercise protocols,  traditionally, high school baseball training utilizes upper body free weight exercises and shoulder dumbbell exercises in an isotonic resisted protocol. The training protocol consists of two sessions per week for 18 weeks. The study showed that there were no significant increases in throwing velocity until the 16th or 18th week.  McEvoy and Newton studied loading weights in training.

These studies support that ballistic training improves velocity and movement patterns, which are simulating active competitive sports skill. The greater the transfer of training gains as they relate to the athletic performance. Plyometric training is another training of special resistance training used by many baseball players and trainers. Traditional plyometric training is seen by the baseball community as a possible link between strength and speed of movement resulting in an increase of muscular power.

McEvoy and Newton studied loading weights in training.  These studies support that ballistic simulated activity training improves velocity and movement patterns.  Plyometric training is another training of special resistance training used by many baseball players and trainers.  Traditional plyometric training is seen by the baseball community as a link between strength and speed of movement resulting in an increase of muscular power.

McEvoy and Newton conducted a study using college men baseball players with no previous weight-training experience that were trained during the competitive season.  The results of the upper body medicine ball exercises were compared with conventional isotonic resistant exercises including the bench press and barbell pullover.  The study showed that both training groups significantly increased strength from this type of training.  There was an increase of 23% for conventional isotonic resestance exercise group graining whereas a 9% increase for the medicine ball exercise group.  However, only the isotonic resistance exercise group had a significant pre to post training increase in throwing velocities,

There was an increase of 23% for conventional isotonic resistance exercise group training whereas a 9% increase for the medicine ball exercise group. However, only the isotonic resistance exercise group had a significant pre to post training increase in throwing velocities, a difference of 4.1 % improvement. These findings suggest it may be necessary that players with no previous weight-training experience first begin with an isotonic resistance training program in order to increase throwing velocity.


Weighted implement training involves exercising with modified standard competitive equipment such as weighted baseballs during competitive movement patterns. Previous studies indicated that throwing velocity of five-ounce baseball can be increased significantly by
throwing a heavier baseball, a 7˝-ounce baseball. In contrast, throwing velocity can be increased using weighted items that are slightly lighter than the standard competitive weights. DeRenne conducted a study utilizing under and over-weighted baseballs. The under-weighted baseball training showed a significant increase in throwing velocity that was twice as great as over-weighted baseball group showing a three mile per hour increase with lighted baseball as a comparison of 1.5 miles per hour for over-weighted baseballs. The weighted baseballs used in this study were either 20% below the standard 5-ounce weight. 

In 1990 DeRenn repeated the 1985 study utilizing 30 high school baseball pitchers ages 16-18. The results were the same. The under-weighted group had a significant increase of 4.72 miles per hour in throwing velocity whereas the over-weighted group had a significant improvement of3.75 miles per hour. The controlled group of standard 5oz. weight only improved 0.88 miles per hour.


Baseball pitching mechanics incorporate high velocity ballistic movements in which velocity is directly related to performance. The neurophysiological mechanism for increasing movement velocities resulted from the weighted training is not understood at this time.  One plausible explanation notes that the peak force output of fast contracting muscle fibers can be four times greater than those of slow fibers. 

Logan studied wall-pulley training. He reported a significant increase in throwing velocities, an increase of 8.1 miles per hour using a resistant device called the Exergenie Cord. The subjects trained for six weeks. They had greater throwing velocity gains than the practice throwing training group.
 

In summary, weighted training can significantly increase throwing velocities for both high school and college players by using weighted baseballs no more than 20% above or 20% below standard weight. Likewise, surgical tube and wall-pulley exercises blend special resistance and speed of movement. These specific exercises all attempt to mimic athletic biomechanics, and therefore train the specific musculature and joint.
 

Conversely, traditional or general weight-training exercises attempt to work on isolated individual muscle groups. Weighted implement training may elicit specific neurophysiological adaptations in which selected motor unit activation and recruitment could occur.

 


PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS


Throwing velocities for high school and college players should be conducted over a minimum training period of eight weeks using upper body core exercise and dumbbell shoulder routine.
 

As a baseball player's general musculature strength increases, he should proceed to a simulated l upper body power throwing velocity-training program.


Specific resistance training consisting of light and heavy weighted objects, 20% above and below standard weight, may be the single best method to increase throwing velocity.

 

Should you have any further questions regarding this article, please direct your questions or comments to "Ask the Doctor" section.

 

Copyright © 2004 - 2012Taras V. Kochno, M.D.  All Rights Reserved
Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

 

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