the one thing i dont understand about weight training is how especially low rep training is suppose to make person throw harder,
for example on my j.v. team one of the people that threw the slowest on our team was probably one of the strongest kids on our entire team on varsity or j.v.
is there a logical reason to explain this?
and also how does a exercise such as pitching that requires a explosive force benefit from training of muscles by what most weightlifting sessions that i know of is a slow movement trying to maximize the amount of weight a muscle can use
is there any exercises that can be used to train explosive stregnth which is necessary in baseball that categorize as weight lifting?
I tried to touch on this on one of the other posts in this subforum. If you can bench press alot, that is linear strength. There are a lot of guys that can bench a ton, but they cant throw very far, or very hard. Another example is punching power (similar in some ways to pitching). You have to train explosive if you want to be explosive. Olympic lifts (google “olympic lifts” and you will find a good deal of info) like the snatch and the clean and jerk are really good for explosive strength.
There was a post by Ross Enamait which I found interesting. I will see if I can dig it up. Anyhow, if you want to supplement your normal lifting with some explosive training, go check out
. He has a new video on the front page that should let you know what he is all about (it’s the “Hardcore” video).
Yay, found it. Just remember that he is referencing boxing instead of pitching (although the two have similar goals- to get the hand moving at a high rate of speed, using the whole body to generate force). His training is pretty awesome IMO.
One thing you have to understand, lifting does not make you a better baseball player. It makes you a better athlete. Then you have to take that extra athleticism and apply it to the skill of pitching. You can never say that if you bench press 250 then you will throw 85, bench 300 then you’ll throw 90, etc. However, if you take a baseball player who good at the specific skills of baseball like throwing and hitting, have him lift weights to get stronger, faster, and more explosive, he should improve if he applies the new explosiveness to his already good skills.
The other thing that needs to be addressed is that bench press is one of the least effective lifts for improving your baseball performance. You have to work from the ground up. Your legs are most important, then your core must transfer the power to your shoulder which needs to be strong and stable. If there are any weak links between your feet and your fingertips then you will be limited by that weakness.
I do have my players bench press because I want them to be balanced. If I work on the back of their shoulder girdle, then I want to work the front as well.
Another benefit of lifting that you didn’t mention is that it should reduce injuries if done correctly. Someone who is trying to bench a ton isn’t lifting for baseball correctly. If you do get on a good balanced program and always use good technique , then you should have fewer injuries than someone who doesn’t do all this stuff.
Aside from being generally athletic and balanced like Mike said, pitchers benefit more from eccentic training than from concentric training. Concentric training involves straight ahead pushing and pulling exercises like bench pressing, curls, etc. Eccentric training involves exercises that use rotational movements. But it’s tougher to come up with good eccentric exercises and equipment. Ignoring highly specialized (and highly expensive) equipment, the medicine balls and elastic tubing are about the only things that come to mind that are easy for the average person to acquire and use at home for eccentric work.
Well, this is a little bit off-topic, but I want to get Mike’s opinion (anyone else’s as well).
Alright, I started looking at boxing versus pitching and I think the similarities are interesting. The leg movements for a straight right hand are very similar in both. The hip rotation followed by the shoulder rotation is also nearly identical. The main difference is the path of the elbow and hand. In boxing it never goes behind the right shoulder. But the most interesting thing I found is that at full extension, both movements look identical. Here is a picture of a boxer (the great Rocky Marciano) landing a straight right hand, and a pitcher (all-time strikeout king Nolan Ryan) at release.
First I want to talk about concentric vs. eccentric. Concentric and eccentric both refer to types of muscle acvity. They are opposites. Many times people will refer to eccentric training as doing “negatives.” For example, during a bench press, the concentric part of the lift is when you push the weight up, the eccentric part of the lift is when you are lowering the weight. Basically an eccentric contraction happens when the muscle lengthens. A concentric contraction happens when the muscle shortens. Both are important. During the follow through of pitching, your muscles in the posterior shoulder girdle experience eccentric contraction while trying to slow down the arm.
As far as the pitching vs boxing, I haven’t examined it a lot but I think there are some definite similarities and differences. The finish looks very similar in both instances. However, I think the beginning of the motion is different. When pitching, you try to keep your weight back while your front leg is going forward. I don’t think boxing is like that. I don’t know anything about boxing so correct me if I’m incorrect but I’m just trying to imagine it. Both are definitely rotational movements so you probably would train them similarly. I would imagine boxers would have to be more careful not to gain weight since they have weight classes. Baseball doesn’t have to worry about that.
The basic thing we are talking about in both instances is the concept of specificity. Specificity is very important but I do believe it can be carried too far. You do need to know the energy system used, the rotational aspect, and common injuries of a sport but you don’t want to mimic the skill in the weight room. When you start trying to mimic the skill too much in the weight room you just screw up your mechanics. You need to get strong and powerful and then you can use that strength and explosiveness at practice with your coach to make you perform your skill more explosively.
Mike, Tom House uses the term “eccentric” to mean rotational - not opposite. What you’re saying is that is incorrect terminology so what is a better term to use? Is “rotational” adequate? I still agree with House that rotational exercises provide the most direct benefit to a pitcher.
As for the boxer thing, I don’t see much similarity. Boxing doesn’t use a knee lift. Punching and throwing involve different arm actions. The follow-thru is different (boxers pull back quickly and don’t really have a follow-thru). I really don’t think you have the same hip and shoulder rotation. The timing is much different. Etc., etc., etc. About the only thing I think is similar is the point that you shouldn’t drop your glove.
The following is the definition from the textbook Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning:
“Eccentric muscle actions occur when the tension developed in the cross-bridges is less than the external resistance, and the muscle lengthens despite contact between the myosin cross-bridge heads and the actin filaments.”
What this basically means is that if you were benching and there was more weight on the bar than you can handle and it starts to drop even though you are pushing as hard as you can, the muscle is lengthening and this is an eccentric action. I don’t know where House got his definition but I have taken many exercise physiology and biomechanics classes and I’m sure about this type of definition. There are some eccentric actions at the end of a pitch but it doesn’t have to do with the rotation. It is all involved in deccelerating the arm.
The similarity between the finish of the punch and a pitch is this:
-throwing/punching hand is forward while on opposite foot
-hip rotation-- not the same but similar
-the muscles of the posterior shoulder girdle (posterior delts, rhomboid major, rhomboid minor, mid trapezius, rotator cuff) acting eccentricly trying to slow down the arm.
Obviously the entire movement is different. There is no leg lift in a punch. However, the similarities come mainly from the finish.
Sounds good. I’ll avoid using the term “eccentric” as I don’t think I even know any exercises that focus on eccentric muscle actions. Instead, I’ll use “rotational” when talking about the exercises I believe pitchers should do (e.g. Jobe exercises with elastic tubing, some core strengthening exercises using medicine balls, etc.)
There are similarities present between the two are probably more than you’d think. After all, the main goal in both pitching and boxing is to get your hand to a certain point (release or landing the punch) with as much force and velocity as possible. That involves rotation of the hips and shoulders, as well as extension of the elbow (but not locking out).
Maybe I was a little vague in my post Roger, sorry for the confusion. I am not advocating that pitchers take up boxing. A pitcher isn’t going to throw a pitch from in front of his jaw, and a boxer will never punch from behind his shoulder, so there will always be fundamental differences. What I meant to suggest is that pitchers might be able to benefit from a boxer’s strength training regimen- which is heavily influenced by “rotational” types of exercises. The hips, which I think we can both agree that the hips play a large role in generating power for a pitcher, are targetted frequently in a boxer’s program. One of the most interesting is the mix of weight training (barbell squats) with explosivity training (jump squats).
It might not be revolutionary to strength guru’s, but I think a lot of HS coaches and athletes get hung up on maximal strength. This subforum gets a topic almost once a week about whether or not doing heavy bench presses or bicep curls will help them gain MPH’s on their fast ball. That just is not the case. Speed strength is what counts. And when it comes to training for applicable speed strength, I have not found any methods that will touch a boxer (and I say that with all due respect to every other sport).
And to Roger and Mike, I think we all essentially agree. I was just trying to develop my thoughts into something somewhat useful. We are each coming from different areas of experience, but speed strength (“rotational” and so on) is something we can agree on, right?
Sorry for such a long post, I got to rambling…
I do lack of knowledge about boxing. I agree boxers try to get their hand to a certain point in space with as much force as possible. But I also thought they tried to get it there as quickly as possible to avoid being blocked. Pitchers don’t have this concern. I also didn’t realize the hips were used much to throw a punch - particularly a jab. It seems doing so would slow down the delivery of a punch. But, again, I’m naive about boxing.
The jab is thrown with the non-power hand (equivalent to glove side in baseball). Depending on the fighter, the jab can have little to no hip movement. Some guys might reverse rotate to get more rotation and more power on their right (1-2, jab straight combo). But that is getting into semantics. This is a pitching forum, and I dont expect any of you to know or care about the boxing.
The real issue that is important to me is the training methods. If pitchers can benefit from training that is deemed “unorthodox” by some, I think it is worth a try. I was going to try and outline some of the classic boxing workouts that would benefit rotational strength as well as arm strength. I am still gathering my thoughts on that one. I’ll post as soon as I get it together.
Heh, I saw a funny boxer supplement that would seem to help infielders as well. Gave you endurance (not necessary for baseball as much), and supposedly improved your hand speed and foot speed.
That should effectively give an infielder more range and quicker transitions. Then again it’s probably either a caffeine shot or a “placebo” pill that does nothing to help you but put you into a mental state that you’re quicker, stronger faster ect…
Heh… You learn after a while to just forget what the company says about products. There is a reason that the label says "These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. If you go to a fitness themed forum, like
and search the product, you can see what people think about it. Bodybuilding might not be your goal, but those people know about EVERY product that is on the market. They will spot BS pretty quick. There isn’t anything out there (legal) that will improve your hand speed or foot speed. Just sweat and hard work.
And I totally forgot about listing out those exercises… just finished my workout. Getting to work on that.
Russian Twists- on floor or on 45 deg board
Rope Skipping- two footed, one footed, running in place
Roll outs- done with ab wheel, with or without weighted vest
Medicine Ball Slams- overhead to ground
Med Ball Rotations
Lunge Walking- with or without dumbbells
Lawn Mowers(has many names) - Pushup position w/ partner holding legs
Barbell Twists (AKA Full Contact Twists)
Swings- mainly used with kettlebells, but DB’s can be subbed
Snatch- Single arm dumbbell as well as two arm barbell
Clean and Press
Clean and Jerk
Turkish Get ups
Chopping wood (seriously :!: )
Push-ups- knuckle pushups build strong wrists and forearms
Deadlifts- not unique to boxing, but what the hey
Sledgehammer and tire- take sledge (15-20 pound) and hit the tire for 1 minute. Switch your hands and go again.
Weighted Twisting Situps
Depth Jumps- with or without weights
Weighted Crunches on Decline Bench
Odd Object Lifting- Sandbags, kegs (filled with water ) basically anything that is heavy and not a conventional weight.
Glute Ham Raise
Resistance Band Rotations- Heavier gauge bands than used for pitchers shoulder exercises. Wrap around the elbow, then rotate to one side (sort of like a standing Russian Twist)
Alright, I could probably go on and on, but these are what I came up with. There were a couple that I have seen pitchers use, like deadlifts, but most of these are unique. Oh yeah, and I neglected to add any of the lifts that produce boxing only results, like bench pressing (for jabs and straights) and punches holding dumbbells of kettlebells.
If you have any questions about any of these exercises, let me know and I will provide links.