Arm motion and external rotation


#1

I’ve been told that having an efficient arm motion creates external rotation, which then results in arm whip=velocity.

i’ve noticed almost all mlb pitchers have significant external rotation.


#2

bump to top…

This is an area i’m interested in hearing more feedback on as well. A quality pitcher needs good arm action. Just like in golf, the success of the result is only as good as the first 2 feet of the takeaway.

External rotation I believe is almost all “natural”… one’s physical make dictates how far back ur arm will layback. Is there exercises that will increase it. Retroversion may increase it, but I understand that to only take effect if a young pitcher repetitiously throws while the shoulder is still developing.

I guess one’s swing back angle, speed & hand position relative to the ball could effect the actual external rotation, but the physical limitations are what they are based on the individual.

Again I wish we could get more feedback from key members on the board re: this topic as it effects location, health & velocity.


#3

its tricky for me to explain it but I know what it is.

when you follow the kinetic chain, your shoulder and arm are at the end of the chain.

for me, my arm action which is “thumbs down” with my hands pronated. then i go out and up. The reason why this works for me is my arm action allows me to scap load naturally. I always feel my scaps go back because of the separation. I want my throwing arm to whip from the torso rotation.

As soon as I land I go into the pull phase, I use my stride foot as a firm base to rotate my upper body. My shoulders rotate with the elbow leading because I want my arm to act like a whip, the only way to do that is to keep it relaxed and inactive. \

to think of it for yourself, just imagine your arm as the tip of a whip. how does the tip of the whip get it’s snap?? from the momentum and force that was created at the base of the whip.

So our legs and hips are the big handle, the torso is the middle, the shoulders are the top and the arm is the tip.

External Rotation happens because you are letting the body bring the arm forward.


#4

In a review article appearing in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, they reviewed a study of over 100 pitchers that showed increased external rotation was associted with increased throwing velocity.
I did my Master’s thesis in 1968 using the training techique of reversal of agonists to incease external rotation to see if it would increase throwing velocity. I was unable to show a relationship between the two. However, the lack of motivation of the subjects and accurate ways of measuring ball velocity (no radar back then) were some limitations. Despite this, I have always believed that one could train the arm in external rotation
to increased throwing speed.


#5

[quote=“nick nickason”]Despite this, I have always believed that one could train the arm in external rotation
to increased throwing speed.[/quote]

Nick - what do you mean by this and what, specifically, types of exercises and training are we talking about here. It’s a very good topic that I’d like to dig a little deeper…


#6

In younger kids “retroversion” has been documented/proven etc… In karate/martial arts there is a device that stretches and holds the extended angle of the legs to create flexibility. Can’t see why a similar effect wouldnt apply to the shoulder.

Retroversion I understand to be a process where the shoulder “girdle” develops at an adapted & different “angle” due to pitching as a developing youth.

As an adult I would guess it would be developing elasticity & flexibility/range since the shoulders internal “structure” is mature.

Tendons I don’t believe can be developed in a positive way… I believe they can be stretched, but as a negative as they lose elasiticity & rubber band effect.

Muscles obviously is different. No expertise from my end… just common sense & perceived knowledge from reading.

Any sports trainers etc able to discuss?


#7

Steven:

The technique I used was a form of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) called reversal of antagonsits. Basically it is a method
of increasing strength and range of motion in a movement pattern by manally applying resistace to that movement pattern. In Tom Seaver’s
book “The Art of Pitching” there is somewhat of an example of this of page
172 and 173. THe idea being if you increase stregth over a greater range of motion one should throw harder.


#8

Nick:

Any further details on “manual resistance” in terms of types of workouts?

Overloading, hi rep-low rep, slow movements vs fast movements?

I haven’t heard a lot of people aggressively saying velocity can be increased by lifting wirghts. I hear more in terms of detrimental occurances from lifting. I assume becoming “muscle bound” & loss of flexibility was the issue.

When football players want to increase speed they go to training for technique and physical development. Golfers have gone to equipment, technique & lifting as well… I like the golfer comparison better since precision & flexibility is closer to the art of pitching than say football. I would put basketball right behind golf as it relates to maintaining touch, feel and flexibility.

Obviously core & lower body strength is critical, but a bigger engine produces higher rpm & there speed. Increased muscle development (with consideration to balance & flexibility) should have a significant effect I would think. I say significant as being 3+% inrease. All i hear is that muscle development increases stability against injury vs velocity.

an increase in range of motion externally equals longer distribution of force… increase in velocity. but would resistance training develop that? I’ve seen weights used in developing range/flexibility but not resistance weight training.

These are not challenges, merely thoughts & questions to gain knowledge. As much as I like playing catch, watching games etc… i get as much fun out of understanding the mechanics of the art & the science behind getting better.

Thx for your feedback.


#9

JT:

As far as I know no one has looked further at PNF as a training tool specifically. Weights have been looked at, including weighted baseballs, with mixed results. Back when I first looked at PNF (1968) it was relatively new. It was different in that it not only used resistance, but increased range of motion as well. I hoped to show some increase in throwing velocity,but the study had major flaws that were beyond my control. Also, increasing ball velocity by two mph may not be statisically signficant, but what pitcher who throws 90 mph wouldn’t take 92? Anyway, PNF at the least has proved to be a good method of arm care as is evidenced in Tom Seaver’s book.


#10

Nick - I just dusted off my copy of Tom Seaver’s book. Been a while since I looked at it last. I’m looking forward to reading that section and picking your brain a little more about it… thanks!


#11

[quote=“nick nickason”]JT:

As far as I know no one has looked further at PNF as a training tool specifically. Weights have been looked at, including weighted baseballs, with mixed results. Back when I first looked at PNF (1968) it was relatively new. It was different in that it not only used resistance, but increased range of motion as well. I hoped to show some increase in throwing velocity,but the study had major flaws that were beyond my control. Also, increasing ball velocity by two mph may not be statisically signficant, but what pitcher who throws 90 mph wouldn’t take 92? Anyway, PNF at the least has proved to be a good method of arm care as is evidenced in Tom Seaver’s book.[/quote]

Will Carroll refers to PNF and another technique called “Clasp Knife” in his 2004 book “Saving the Pitcher”. According to Carroll, like PNF, Clasp Knife uses the body’s reflexes to go beyond its normal resistance but is different in that Clasp Knife focuses on increasing strength within the muscle as well as range of motion.

Carroll references a guy named Pavel Tsatsouline who has some books and DVD’s on the subject. He didn’t invent Clasp Knife but evidently learned it in the communist block countries. All I’ve been able to do so far is read reviews and supposedly it’s a little tough to get past Tsatsouline’s marketing but evidently he is an effective teacher.

My original interest was in how this related to hamstrings. I’ve seen positive results from what I think are variations of PNF or Clasp Knife and am interested in learning more.

Carroll infers that some elite pitchers use these techniques like a “secret weapon”. I haven’t had time to look into this much beyond Carroll’s hamstring demonstration but could it be possible this could have some application to the shoulder area as well?