My response is longwinded as usual (1100 words), but I’ve become very passionate about this topic.
CADad: I do understand where your coming from with your different statements and do agree with you to various extents.
One thing is that I think tall and skinny guys are a bad example for reasoning is that most of the dominant guys you see are genetically gifted really. For instance, andrew miller runs around a 6.6 second 60 yard dash. Andrew Brackman (30th overall pick this year) is 6’10" skinny but throws high 90s, yet he was a starter in basketball for NCState as well.
I question that these guys would be gifted with great arms really regardless of what they do.
I think only a small percentage of the population will be naturally gifted enough to throw 90 miles per hour. However with proper training and preparation I think a signifcantly larger percentage is capable of 90mph. I feel weightlifting is an important part of that prepartion especially the lighter guys.
You just don’t see all that many skinny guys throwing heat. Atleast if you compare the percentage of thin guys in the MLB to thick guys. Sure their out their but I think they are more gifted then other pitchers. I think the best odds include an overall increase in size as well as improved body composition.
And no I’m not taking away at all from the work some of those guys put in, yes they do work incredibly hard and are dedicated at what they do, but you have to ask were their odds to throw 90+ significantly greater then everyone elses before they even picked up a ball?
Things I think are important from lifting:
First off any genuine and well done program should begin trying to fix posture problems. Our general life puts us in awful positions anatomically speaking. Pulled hamstrings are everywhere now a days. This can partially be attributed to being seated so often. Over time your pelvis tips forward and puts the hamstrings in an extremely vulernable position.
Also the sitting at a desk creates a rounding of the shoulders and sometime the scapulas tend to wing out. This can cause all sorts of aches and pains. Lifting properly to reestablish muscle balance will fix these posture problems and improve all aspects of life include game performance. Better posture = better leverages and better health.
I see motor control and activation directly related to pitching.
Lifting allows people to activate more total motor units at once. The regular person and even most athletes cannot get much more than half their total motor units activated at one time. A seasoned lifter can activate around 90% of their total motor units.
Lifting can improve your muscle fiber makeup
It is beneficial to pitchers to have mostly type IIB (fast twitch muscle) as they are doing explosive movements and then having a break for several seconds. This is what type II’s are for.
Other reasons include enhanced discipline, motivation, and competativeness. Most guys I know don’t understand strain, they think things are “to hard” and to demanding, lifting really teaches you how to deal with an intense environment.
A few studies showing weight training giving positive effects for pitchers:
All show positive improvements via some sort of weight training, and a few show it’s more effective then popular tools such a medicine balls.
Now CADad I understand your statements about long toss and lifting being possibly more effective. I question why not use all the tools in the box? Why limit yourself to only a few methods. While most of the studies showed increase in velocity without subjects regularly pitching, I feel it is of the utmost important to be longtoss, pitching, throwing, etc on a regular basis.
I think the maximum improvements within an offseason would combine all of these in no particular order (and if managed and periodized properly the body could handle this workload if your dedicated)
Listed in no particular order:
Pitching from mound
Weighted baseball (over-under) training
Medicine ball work
Plyometric and jump training
Mobility and restoration (foam rolling, stretching)
Injury prevention exercises
Energy system development/sprinting
I also understand that weight training and all the marketing bogus around body building have given the whole concept a bad reputation.
I agree heavy shoulder work isn’t really necessary, especially barbell stuff. Unfortunately most teens workouts including benching as heavy as possible and having their partner deadlift the weight as it’s to heavy for them anyways.
Body builders aren’t really that much of athletes IMO. Now guys that are natural (no gear, illegal stuff) bust their butts and are dedicated, but they get winded from posing for a few minutes, and aren’t generally strong for their body weight, much like kc said.
Many ball players lift with no long term plan or even logging what their doing that day. This is why template manuals such as tuff cuff, ultimate offseason, super strength, and several other are beneficial, they take the guess work out of the whole situation and actually create results.
The biggest problem that prevents people from being productive in the weight room is everyone is still worried about “looking good” that’s fine and dandy, quite frankly my physique looks pretty decent compared to what it was, but that’s not a goal for me, or even a consideration when I setup my training.
Joe Defranco (one of the top guys around) has said he often takes athletes infront of the one mirror he has in the gym and has them look at themselves in it. He then says “All the muscles you can’t see, those are the important ones, that’s what we’ll be working on.” And Joe’s guys are still extremely “cut”.
The important muscles are almost all on your back side so guys don’t like training them.
Hamstrings, glutes, back extensors, lattissimus dorsi, traps, triceps. And well the abs are about the only thing very important on the front.
A program should still be balanced, but most guys do atleast twice as many movements for quads, pecs, and bis then the do for anything on the back if they do stuff on the posterior chain at all.
Here’s a Pyrros Dimas snatch, he’s moving somewhere over 400 pounds, and he weighs under 200. Also worth noting he can jump somewhere around 40 inches and is one of the fastest guys in the world for a 25 yard sprint.