Need to gain velocity


#1

So I have been stuck at 85 to 87 mph since the end of my junior year of high school. Now Freshmen in college. I really want to throw 90 mph, but seem to not be gaining any more velocity. I will be doing weighted ball this summer, and long toss. I’ve been doing long toss for a while now, not seeing a whole lot of results. I weighed 150 to 155 in high school. I weigh 165 at my heaviest. Packed on some weight. Good weight, mostly muscle. I stand 6’1’’… So I am pretty skinny. My lower half seems to be not very explosive because I’m a slow runner, and have no hops… or just that I don’t have good technique. I can only squat around 215 if I do a true squat. It seems that my upper half is extremely loaded with fast twitch muscles. Very quick with the upper half. I can bench 190…Just seems legs are very week due to lack of weight. Any tips on what would help me gain velocity? I feel that if I strengthen my legs, and train them hard that it would help.


#2

Try doing some Olympic lifts. Power clean & snatch, if done properly, are almost entirely legs, and they require you to be explosive which is exactly what you want on the mound. Honestly though, you need to put on some pounds! It’s going to be really hard to throw 90 if you aren’t at least 190-200. Set up a high-fat, high protein, low carb diet where you’re eating 3000+ (probably go even more like 3300-3500) calories a day, and hit the weight room. Do lower body focus but don’t neglect the upper body either.


#3

Good Post. Thanks man!


#4

I have been hitting the weight room. I would like to do olympic type lifts, but I’m not quite sure how to do them. I need to get a personal trainer, or somebody who does those lifts often. I normally do machine hack squats, squats, leg press, leg curls, leg extensions, and few other things.


#5

Yeah definitely get someone to help you get down the form. It can be a bit counter intuitive at first, speaking from experience :stuck_out_tongue: Id bet there’s probably some good videos on YouTube on the subject but I’m not really sure. My words of wisdom for both the clean and snatch is to keep the bar as close to your body as possible and use your arms as little as possible. Try to get your Lower body to do all the work and Just use your arms to guide the bar.


#6

Low carb diet is a poor idea for an ectomorph trying to gain weight.

Cleans and Snatches are also poor choices for both putting on mass and for pitchers.

I can’t get into everything now, but suffice it to say

  1. You need insulin spikes from carbs, and you will tolerate them well as an ectomorph. Carbs are anabolic, necessary for optimal hormone function and energy levels for hard training.

  2. Cleans and Snatches are complex movements that are “specific” to nothing except Olympic Lifting. Sure, they are explosive movements, but there are safer ways to train hip and knee extension that don’t involve catching bodyweight loads above your head in a training population that typically has shoulder laxity (instability) to begin with. Recipe for disaster.

Here’s my take:

You DO need to gain weight. You’re weak. You’re a twig. It’s also within your control to change that. You’re taking the first step. Good for you.

You need a balanced, supervised lifting program. And you need to attack it with everything you have. You need to become an animal and become obsessed with getting big. If you throw 87 at 165lbs, the sky is the limit. I threw 73 at that weight. Now I consistently hit 93 and have touched 95 at 215lbs.

3,000 calories is a joke.

You’d probably gain on 4,000 or 4,500 if all you did was sit on the couch in your down time. But you have full practice, you will be lifting 4 days a week, conditioning at least 2-3 days a week and probably stay busy on your feet all day. 5,000 is a good place to start. You gain weight too fast, you can back off, but you need to see what big eating feels like. That’s an important lesson for hardgainers to learn. Just take one day and count your calories.

3 meals and 3 protein shakes in between those meals. Easy. Make sure you get to 5,000 and you’ll know what it feels like. Do that every day for a week. You’ll likely gain 2-3lbs your first week, and learn how you respond to that intake. Adjust from there.

Your career is entirely in your control. Your mechanics are good, if you throw that hard at that weight. Will you take what is yours or be satisfied throwing poo for the rest of your college career?

Ben


#7

Interesting post… I didn’t mean a no-carb diet just that carbs shouldnt be your main source of calories. Probably put that wrong. Also, why are cleans and snatches a bad choice?


#8

I like clean, relatively safe, but not snatch, which is a bit more dangerousness.


#9

Having tried everything from no carb to high carb diets, I find that it is both easiest to maintain and build strength on a moderate to higher carb diet (anywhere from ~35-55% of calories)

Even on a weight loss diet, there is evidence that you should keep your carbs as high as you can provided you still meet your protein requirements and essential fatty acid requirements - this maintains hormone balance, helps retain lean mass better, etc.

The key is minimally processed, nutrient rich carb sources! Rice and Potatoes! Setting protein at 0.8 - 1.2g/lb of bodyweight will cover your bases. More will not hurt you, but protein isn’t as efficient of an energy source, so those excess calories are better saved for good carb sources if you are trying to bulk up.

Cleans offer a multitude of potential complications, with some potential, but NOT unique benefit.

Potential Cons:

-Requires perfect or near perfect form
-Requires excellent lumbar stability, hip mobility, thoracic mobility, shoulder stability, wrist and elbow mobility - if any of these links is weak or faulty, the movement breaks down. It’s a full body move that doesn’t work for a significant part of the population that may have restrictions

-Catching the bar places a valgus load on the elbows (medial elbow stress), which is not what we want as pitchers who already face this on a daily basis
-Personal experience: Ive been a part of teams that cleaned, and teams that didn’t clean. There was no discernible difference as far as development, vertical jumps, strength, velocity, etc. But I did get injured cleaning, I did see most guys using improper form. I did see a guy fall backwards catching a clean. There were some injuries and a lot of very close calls and not a lot of actual development. And at the end of the day, even if your form is “perfect,” there simply isn’t anything unique that the exercise offers to make it worth the risk.

Explosive knee, hip and ankle extension…we get this from jumping, bounding, running. There are many ways to loads these patterns. We get explosive hip and knee extension from speed squatting, deadlifting, etc. Cleaning isn’t even unique to the pitching motion like some would have you believe because it takes place in the sagittal plane, while pitching is triplanar and has a significant rotational (transverse) component.

Olympic lifting is a fad in the fitness community. It’s a sport. But that doesn’t mean its the best way to train for other sports.

Ben


#10

Thanks a ton Lanky!!! You gave a lot of great advice!! I definitely need to change my diet, a ton… Could you give me some good lifts, or advice on what type of lifts I should do. Or good lifting program? My coach, sadly, gives us a very poor lifting program. Very bad, wouldn’t even call it a program. He says, I need to grow into my man body, and the velocity will come… Not so sure of this. I need to take things into my own hands and start working butt off. Hoping to make great gains this summer.


#11

I highly believe the time you will spend in the weight room working on these Olympic lifts will be wasted hours. The way to increase your velocity is to create and practice high velocity mechanics. Get a video of your mechanics (both 3rd base view and home view) and see frame by frame for yourself what in your mechanics is stopping you from gaining the most out of your delivery. See where your force is going through your delivery (falling off, going down,etc.) and examine yourself at foot strike to see what torque you have built up before your follow through. I, personally, have seen jumps in my own velocity by doing this. Most pitchers overlook the most obvious cause of velocity, MECHANICS, and just focus on lifting and putting on muscle weight because that’s the only thing they have believed to change velocity. I think my blog will drive home the point a little better.


#12

Thanks for your thoughts Bryant… I’m not so sure if I believe in this completely, but I respect it. I believe we all have our limits with what what we can do with our bodies with mechanics. I’m not saying my mechanics are perfect in anyway, but I believe I don’t have enough strength/explosiveness to throw a 90 mph fastball… I mean when I have a 20 inch vertical, and can only squat 215 pounds. One must believe I can become more explosive with the lower half, leading to more velocity. Just my thoughts, but good mechanics help with velocity.


#13

I bring up vertical jump because I believe this gives someone a feel on how nonexplosive I am.


#14

Kaner,

You are almost exactly where I was during my high school years. If gaining general strength is what you are focused with, I highly suggest dynamic-plyometric exercises. I do a lot of my workouts with a BOSU ball on one/two legs (incorporates lower body stability) and med ball throws from them (chest pass granny throw, overhead, straight up, etc). I highly suggest you stay away from static exercises such as bench and squats as they are isoquant exercises that teaches the muscle to fire slowly which is not needed in pitching. I hope this helps.


#15

Kaner,

You are almost exactly where I was during my high school years. If gaining general strength is what you are focused with, I highly suggest dynamic-plyometric exercises. I do a lot of my workouts with a BOSU ball on one/two legs (incorporates lower body stability) and med ball throws from them (chest pass granny throw, overhead, straight up, etc). I highly suggest you stay away from static exercises such as bench and squats as they are isoquant exercises that teaches the muscle to fire slowly which is not needed in pitching. I hope this helps.


#16

Work on ur mechanics


#17

Facepalm.

I don’t know where to begin with Bryant.

Let’s ask him to answer this question that his idol Dick Mills always avoids:

why do younger kids not throw with elite velocities, if it’s only about mechanics?

Oh wait…because strength, explosiveness, motor unit recruitment, etc all play a role in velocity.

I’m not saying that mechanics aren’t generally very important, and often THE limiting factor, but to say that one should ignore strength building exercises just because mechanics are important as well is downright ignorant!

What drives mechanics? Muscular contraction! Granted, there is a lot more to throwing hard than just being strong, but you aren’t likely to throw a ball 95 mph if you are 6’2" and weight 150lbs! It just doesn’t happen! More is not always better, for example I know I don’t need to be 240lbs and ripped to maximize my velocity…but that doesn’t mean that being strong is useless! In fact it has been instrumental, ALONG with improving my mechanics in going from 6’3" 185lbs 85mph as a freshman in college to 6’3" 215lbs and 92-94mph touching 95 as a senior!

Sure my mechanics have gotten better, but I simply didn’t have the strength, explosiveness or power back then to throw this hard.

Look at the average MLB pitcher…not saying this is optimal but it gives a decent idea of the body types that succeed and throw hard (there is some artificial selection as well): 6’2" - 6’3", 215-225lbs, 28 inch vertical jump, low 90s velocity. I can send you this data if you like.

Sure there are skinny guys who throw hard. This is not the norm and these guys all have extreme or extraordinarily efficient mechanics. They get 100% out of their bodies. But I would argue many of these guys could throw even harder if they further strengthened their bodies.


#18

Amen Lanky.


#19

OP got a vid?


#20

To answer the question about youth velocity: I see kids throwing in the 70+ range in the little league world series without a built frame. I believe some general strength is needed, yes, but I feel it has a diminishing return after so much. I feel like time is better spent on mechanics after development. You only have so many hours that you train, and I believe from my experiences that my time spent on mechanics was better than the weight room.
Someone mentioned it earlier comparing this to a political, religious, etc, debate. Nobody has the clear cut formula for success, if they did we wouldn’t have these forums and ideas being thrown out every year. Do I believe my idea is 100% better than your idea or any other? No. I’m not sure you could tell me your idea is the absolute correct way either. I’m just telling others my path, and what I felt worked for me. I know others who follow my path directly aren’t going to be just like me. I set out to shed a light on these different issues so many people have been closed off to. I believe in todays pitching landscape, too many people are closed minded in how they see issues. They take the word of people they trust and they don’t question it, then 5 or so years later when they hit a wall they look to other issues at what’s holding them back, not the issues they been sticking with for those 5 years. I believe a lot of people find themselves at dead ends at some point in their journey and they don’t know where to look. My goal is to get people to look at issues deeply and that it’s okay to question ideas that have long been accepted by others. You can find stats that support your views, just like I can mine, just like Joe Schmo can his. I didn’t set out here to get people on my side, I set out here to change the thought process.