Weight lifting for pitchers


How often should pitchers do weight lifting during the season? Is it true that some exercises are bad for pitchers even with good form? Like bench press? I haven’t had any problems so far but I just want to be careful.


I definitely prefer DB Bench Press, but I won’t say it is the only way. Personally DB’s feel a lot better on my shoulder than barbell. I liked to do bench press on a stability ball and I think it would be very hard to do so with a bar. There may be an easy way I’m not aware of.

One thing I really focus on with bench press is keeping the elbows down by their side a little bit. The shoulder is much more stable when it is down a little bit than when your elbows are flaring out. This is much easier for me to do with DB’s so that’s another reason I like them. I know pitchers in college and pro ball that have done them both ways so I know it can be done.


Thanks for the reply! I did chest today and used the bar when doing bench press but next week I’ll use the dumbbells. What do you think about flys? Dangerous?


I always felt that my shoulder was vulnerable during flys. I’m sure with proper form they are fine (like any exercise) , but I thought the margin of error was smaller before jacking up my shoulder.

For chest I think DB flat bench, DB incline bench and push ups are all the pitcher needs. Barbell flat bench won’t kill you, just make sure to follow Coach Ellis’ advice to keep those elbows at a 45 degree tucked a bit. Also make sure you roll your shoulders under for stability and create a gap between your lower back and the bench. Good form above all!


When looking at any exercise, balance the risks/rewards. In my opinion, if I was a pitcher, the chest wouldn’t be something I would make a priority, but I also wouldn’t ignore. Being as safe as possible, probably controlling a DB up and down, with elbows in like Steven said, with a moderate weight would be best bet.


bench with DB, push ups ect. Simple exercises performed correctly. Elbows in on the pushups too…


Thanks guys! I actually just got these pushup bars for my birthday so I’ll be doing some push ups on chest day


Agreed. And I’d like to add to this…

Using a dumbbell doesn’t necessarily guarantee safety. Dumbbells are not inherently more safe than barbells when used appropriately and intelligently – i.e. you need to match the exercise to the individual’s biomechanics in addition to their movement capabilities/limitations.

In the case of an upper body pressing movement, there are many factors to consider when deciding what implement to use and how to use it appropriately.

(1) Does the exercise put you in a mechanically advantageous position? Or does it encourage a position that increases the stress on the tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules?

In the case of the press we can ask: Are the pectoral muscles in an efficient line of pull? How can the exercise be adjusted to maximize the work of the pectorals? Check out the video below for an idea of what I’m talking about…

(2) Are the intrinsic muscles of the shoulder adequately prepared to handle the increased stability demands of a dumbbell press versus a barbell press?

The shoulder has to work harder to stabilize the load in a dumbbell press. When you’re using a light to moderate load, this is a great way to train shoulder stability (<— in this case, the dumbbell press wins). But as you go heavier, the demand on the shoulder may be too great for an athlete who is not adequately prepared.

(3) As @kingbrady alluded to, does it contribute to increased throwing performance?

The chest is an internal rotator and horizontal adductor of of the shoulder joint so, yeah, it probably does. I’m not aware of any empircal evidence supporting this so I will reserve my judgement. Plus, the chest can be trained in a variety of ways and there is no evidence to suggest that one method confers benefits to throwin velocity over other methods.

(4) Does it feel good? Or does it feel wrong?

Probably most important! If something feels wrong, don’t do it.



When I was referring to a controlled DB press with moderate weight being the best bet I was saying that because like you said there is a certain amount of difference between a dumbbell and barbell, and with pitchers you aren’t necessarily looking for bulk in the chest. So for most guys a DB press would be best because they don’t go too heavy on something they don’t have to prioritize.


Exactly! I just wanted to elaborate. :wink: