Triceps and pitching

Do training the triceps increase velocity? i have worked them through out the basketball season and it has helped my jumpshot… any ideas or suggestions?

No. Only if you’re using Marshall mechanics.

one of the premier high school programs (mentioned a year or two ago in collegiate baseball) threw long toss on the football or baseball field every day year round and did heavy triceps extensions using a curl bar. the guys that threw the hardest (he had 4 legit 90+ guys on the high school staff) could throw long toss from 110 to 120 yards, and had the heaviest weight on the triceps extensions. it was on the front page along with a kettlebell routine article. may be something to it.

I cannot see how working the triceps helps pitching velocity that much. The triceps act to extend the elbow at a 90 degree angle which has a minimum role in throwing. The pectoralis major and the latissimus dorsi have a much or active role because their action is to medially rotate the arm. Thus, if you want to work muscles work these. ( And be sure to work the rotator culf as well.) The triceps would help the jump shot because one extends the forearm in shooting a basketball.

The triceps has no role in most throwing motions (including most Marshall guys).

In most cases, the muscle group on the other side of the muscle pair (the Brachialis) is active.

i’ve found almost everything chris posts on this site to be accurate. i would seriously consider what he is saying. the heavy lifting probably recruits more than just the triceps.

Some of you might want to re-think your positions on this important topic.

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993 Jun;17(6):274-8.Links

Biomechanics of the elbow during baseball pitching.

Werner SL, Fleisig GS, Dillman CJ, Andrews JR.

Biomechanics Lab, Penn State University, University Park.

By understanding pitching biomechanics, therapists can develop better preventive and rehabilitative programs for pitchers. The purpose of this study was to quantify and explain the joint motions, loads, and muscle activity that occur at the elbow during baseball pitching. Seven healthy, adult pitchers were examined with synchronized high-speed video digitization and surface electromyography. Elbow extension before ball release corresponded with a decrease in biceps activity and an increase in triceps activity. A varus torque of 120 Nm, acting to resist valgus stress, occurred near the time of maximum shoulder external rotation. Previous cadaveric research showed that the ulnar collateral ligament by itself cannot withstand a valgus load of this magnitude. Triceps, wrist flexorpronator, and anconeus activity during peak valgus stress suggests that these muscles may act as dynamic stabilizers to assist the ulnar collateral ligament in preventing valgus extension overload.

PMID: 8343786

…and…

[quote]An EMG analysis of the shoulder in pitching. A second report
FW Jobe, DR Moynes, JE Tibone and J Perry
1984

During the acceleration phase, the biceps was notably quiescent, while the pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, triceps, and serratus anterior were all active. Muscle action at this time terminated external rotation and elbow flexion; i.e., the muscles fired as decelerators and also initiated the opposite actions for ball acceleration, internal rotation and elbow extension. Follow-through was not only a time of eccentric contraction with muscle activity decelerating the upper extremity complex, it was also an active event with the shoulder moving across the body and the elbow into extension with forearm pronation.[/quote]

[quote=“laflippin”]Some of you might want to re-think your positions on this important topic.

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993 Jun;17(6):274-8.Links

Biomechanics of the elbow during baseball pitching.

Werner SL, Fleisig GS, Dillman CJ, Andrews JR.

Biomechanics Lab, Penn State University, University Park.

By understanding pitching biomechanics, therapists can develop better preventive and rehabilitative programs for pitchers. The purpose of this study was to quantify and explain the joint motions, loads, and muscle activity that occur at the elbow during baseball pitching. Seven healthy, adult pitchers were examined with synchronized high-speed video digitization and surface electromyography. Elbow extension before ball release corresponded with a decrease in biceps activity and an increase in triceps activity. A varus torque of 120 Nm, acting to resist valgus stress, occurred near the time of maximum shoulder external rotation. Previous cadaveric research showed that the ulnar collateral ligament by itself cannot withstand a valgus load of this magnitude. Triceps, wrist flexorpronator, and anconeus activity during peak valgus stress suggests that these muscles may act as dynamic stabilizers to assist the ulnar collateral ligament in preventing valgus extension overload.[/quote]

This study is referring to joint stabilization rather than force production.

Extension of the elbow joint happens automatically as a result of the rapid deceleration of the shoulders.

The fact that most of the load is on the Biceps side of the muscle pair is demonstrated by the growth of the Coronoid Process (and the reduced range of motion on pitchers’ elbows).

Thank goodness you clarified what you meant by,

“The triceps has no role in most throwing motions (including most Marshall guys).”


For others at this forum, who may wish to think further about this important topic: Consider that one current school of thought holds that acceleration and deceleration are inexorably linked processes. That is, an athlete cannot actually accelerate any body part beyond his capability to decelerate it within the context of his sport. Thus, this school of thought would suggest that pitchers should have commensurate strength and conditioning in both their decelerator muscle groups and their accelerator muscle groups in order to achieve acceptable pitching velocities without breaking something.

Some of the forum members who are serious about working with pitchers on their conditioning may be interested in following up on the potential benefits of commensurate strength training and conditioning for both the decelerators and accelerators. Note, of course, the existence of published studies of this concept in the sports medicine literature does not in itself ‘prove’ that the concept is valid, but their existence does imply a very reasonable level of investigation into the subject.

The conclusions of the following study suggest that the triceps may be quite important to the original poster’s question about improving his velocity.

J Athl Train. 2005 Mar;40(1):15-22.

On-the-Field Resistance-Tubing Exercises for Throwers: An Electromyographic Analysis.

Myers JB, Pasquale MR, Laudner KG, Sell TC, Bradley JP, Lephart SM.
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Context: Athletes who throw commonly use rubber-tubing resistance exercises in the field setting to assist with warm-up before throwing. Yet no researchers have described which muscles are being activated or which exercises are most effective during rubber-tubing exercises used by throwers for warm-up.Objective: To describe the effectiveness of 12 rubber-tubing resistance exercises commonly used by throwers in activating the shoulder muscles important for throwing.Design: Descriptive research design.Setting: An applied biomechanics research laboratory.Patients or Other Participants: Fifteen physically active male subjects with no history of shoulder injury.Main Outcome Measure(s): Subjects randomly performed 12 rubber-tubing resistance exercises while we assessed muscle activation of the subscapularis, supraspinatus, teres minor, and rhomboid major by indwelling electromyography. Activation of the sternal portion of the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, middle deltoid, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior, biceps brachii, triceps brachii, lower trapezius, and infraspinatus muscles was assessed by surface electromyography.Results: Performance of 7 exercises (external rotation at 90 degrees of abduction, throwing deceleration, humeral flexion, humeral extension, low scapular rows, throwing acceleration, and scapular punch) resulted in the highest level of muscle activation of all muscles tested.Conclusions: These 7 exercises exhibited moderate activation (>20% maximal voluntary isometric contraction) in each muscle of the rotator cuff, the primary humeral movers, and the scapular stabilizer muscles. The results suggest that these exercises are most effective in activating the muscles important to the throwing motion and may be beneficial for throwers during their prethrowing warm-up routine.

PMID: 15902319

laflippin:I don’t understand where the Mayers et. al. study shows that the
triceps are important in pitching. The study showed that 7 of the 12 exercises used most activated the muscles of the roatator cuff, the primary movers of the humerus, and the scapular stabilizer muscles. Which are the important muscles in throwing. If you are going to use any of the 12 exercises those 7 are the best as a prethrowing warmup routine. Nothing was mentioned about the importance of the triceps in pitching. What am I missing?

Everyone made good points. I think we can all agree that targeting the triceps themselves won’t help your pitching. Rather you should not ignore other muscles important to pitching.

Arm slot plays a role in determining how much you can actually use your triceps for pitching. The more vertical your forearm is at release, the more you can actually use your triceps muscle to apply force to the baseball.

[quote=“nick nickason”]laflippin:I don’t understand where the Mayers et. al. study shows that the
triceps are important in pitching. The study showed that 7 of the 12 exercises used most activated the muscles of the roatator cuff, the primary movers of the humerus, and the scapular stabilizer muscles. Which are the important muscles in throwing. If you are going to use any of the 12 exercises those 7 are the best as a prethrowing warmup routine. Nothing was mentioned about the importance of the triceps in pitching. What am I missing?[/quote]

Precisely.

They studied 7 muscles together, so you cant say anything significant about any 1 of these muscles.

Nick,

I assume that your question is at least motivated from an honest desire to understand how the sports medicine community views the answer to the OP’s question about the importance of triceps.

It is unfortunate that this discussion is being very needlessly muddled. You can decide for yourself whether the sports medicine literature supports the idea of an important role for the triceps in throwing.

If your are actually interested, please re-read all of the posts in this thread, including the literature that has been cited by me and by DM. Please re-read my commentary about the meaning of the articles–noting, of course, these are only my opinions.

To summarize my opinion as concisely as possible, I believe what Tom House teaches on this subject is the best current viewpoint: A thrower cannot accelerate a baseball to a higher velocity than his body’s ability to decelerate after release of the ball.

If you do not train the muscle groups that help you stabilze your arm into release, and decelerate after release, you will necessarily limit the velocity you can achieve.

People who may tell you that you can continue to gain acceleration by training only your accelerator muscle groups are misleading you, in my opinion.

The literature I’ve cited so far, as well as DM’s contribution, is the small tip of a large iceberg.

If you want to learn more about this subject, read legitimate sources. If you want to remain where you are at now, that’s also a choice.

Clin Sports Med. 1996 Apr;15(2):401-23.

The immature athlete. Common injuries and overuse syndromes of the elbow and wrist.

Gill TJ 4th, Micheli LJ.

Harvard University, Combined Residency Program in Orthopaedic Surgery, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Specific elbow and wrist injuries are predictable in the skeletally immature athlete based on the biomechanics of the sport and the age of the patient. The physician must be aware of the potential for overuse injuries. Modification in training regimens is essential for recovery. A greater emphasis must be placed on the prevention of these injuries. As a general rule, the young athlete should not progress more than 10% per week in the amount and frequency of training. Correction of muscle-tendon imbalances is accomplished by maintaining strength and flexibility of susceptible tissues. In throwers, a triceps-strengthening program of progressive resisted extension exercises and a forearm flexor/extensor-strengthening program using the French curl technique are helpful. Careful attention to throwing technique and proper coaching are essential. The goal for the young athlete is early recognition of the injury and thereby prevention of a long-term disability.

PMID: 8726322

The Jobe study showed that there is triceps activity during acceleration. Chris, you mentioned that elbow extension is as a result of the rapid deceleration of the shoulders. Although that may be true, (see, again I don’t always disagree with you :lol: ) might I add that the forces that result from this cause the rapid stretch and eccentric contraction of the triceps and connective tendons, thus initiating the Stretch Shortening Cycle which results in a more powerful concentric contraction that does what Jobe says in the following quote:

So, knowing that, if I’m correct, what do we do about it? Can one enhance the SSC? Will training the triceps with concentric contractions make it more effective? Will plyometric exercises make the SSC more effective? I don’t know. Any kinesiologists out there?

DM,

I think you are splitting hairs here in your role as a moderator.

However, it would be a mistake, in my view, to attempt a reconciliation between the clearly stated (but nonsense) view, “The triceps have no role in most throwing motions…” with the conclusions of legitimate sports medicine literature that clearly states the opposite: “The triceps have an important role in throwing motions”.

What’s more, the literature is specific in its practical suggestions: Pitchers, who presumably want to maximize their velocity along with other important issues, should train and condition their decelerator muscle groups commensurate with their accelerator muscle groups.

Everybody should maybe develop their own b.s.-detector when it comes to proper conditioning and training for pitchers.

This is true, but the primary decelerators are in the back (e.g. scaps) and the back of the shoulder (e.g. Teres Minor).

The Triceps is not a decelerator. At most, it’s a stabilizer.

If you look at high speed film of pitchers throwing the ball, you can see the Triceps just flopping around during the rapid extension of the elbow.

See…