Weighted balls


#1

Does anyone have any good weighted ball workouts? I have 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 oz. balls.


#2

The only programs I’m aware of use 4, 5 and 6oz balls only.

The NPA discourages using balls that are lighter or heavier than these because doing so alters your mechanics and timing too much.


#3

Agree with Roger. Be very careful. You can find programs on the Web and I’m sure there are some useful programs somewhere on this site. There are some studies available on the effectiveness of using a weighted ball program. If done in conjunction with a good overall “fitness” program, I believe it can be effective. As Roger points out, however, you should stick to a 4 oz under (you can use a tennis ball, if necessary) and a 6 oz over.


#4

Whats the point of using lighter balls? I’m looking to gain velocity and arm strength… as far as I know lighter balls wont do that. I was thinking if I go all offseason just using weighted balls, then when baseball season comes… a regular ball will feel really light and easy to throw. Just an idea maybe I’ll give up on weighted balls and get back on my longtoss routine from last winter. Any suggestions?


#5

That’s partly true, but look at the flip side of things.

The thought process behind using a ball that is lighter is to teach your arm how to move quickly. If you’re constantly using a heavier ball, your arm will lose it’s ability to move fast.

Stu


#6

Yeah, but have you tried pitching at full intensity with a wiffle ball or a tennis ball? It puts a lot more strain on the arm. And there is no doubt that weighted balls are a waste of time - proven to slow down the arm. Stick with what you use in games - 5 oz.


#7

Hmmm… understandable. I’ll try the tennis balls. What should I do? Throw off the mound with the tennis ball or what? Any other opinions?


#8

Why? Stick with regulation baseballs.


#9

[quote=“ThinkPitching”]That’s partly true, but look at the flip side of things.

The thought process behind using a ball that is lighter is to teach your arm how to move quickly. If you’re constantly using a heavier ball, your arm will lose it’s ability to move fast.

Stu[/quote]
This is correct. The lighter ball is used for neuromuscular patterning to traing the arm and mind to move the arm faster.


#10

Noone is talking about using wiffle balls - they would be too light. My first reply above mentions using a 4oz ball for the underload ball.

As for weighted balls being a waste of time, Google the name “Coop DeRenne” - he did some studies that have shown they do have some benefit. Tom House’s book, Fastball Fitness, also documents some other studies that show benefit from weighted balls.

The forces on the arm do change a bit and that’s why the NPA recommends using weighted balls only after achieving a high level of fitness through other means. In other words, make sure your body is up to the task before taking it on.

Something to think about: football quarterbacks throw a ball that is much heavier than a baseball. But their mechanics and timing are altered to accomodate the additional weight. Throwing weighted baseballs within 20% of regulation doesn’t really require altering mechanics and timing to throw them safely. This is the reasoning behind the NPA’s recommendation to stay within 20% of rgulation.


#11

A typical program involves regulation, overload and underload in the same session. If you can find the Decker weighted balls, a 3-ball set (4oz, 5oz, 6oz) comes with instructions for a throwing program, I believe.


#12

A typical program involves regulation, overload and underload in the same session. If you can find the Decker weighted balls, a 3-ball set (4oz, 5oz, 6oz) comes with instructions for a throwing program, I believe.[/quote]

Thanks! this is really helpful! I’ll look for the Decker balls and try to purchase them.


#13

I may be incorrect but I think the studies have proven that once the arm is cocked to throw, the arm movement propelling the ball is not powered by muscular contraction. Propulsion comes from elastic energy stored in the appropriate muscles. That’s why weight training or using weighted balls will not increase arm throwing velocity - because arm-throwing velocity is not caused by muscular movements trained by using weights.

I believe there have also been numerous studies to show that strength in the throwing shoulder is equal to the strength in the non-throwing shoulder (the one that never used weighted balls at all!)

The principle of specificity is something I think really applies to pitchers; skillful and efficient performance in a particular technique can be developed only by practice of that technique. Only in this way can the necessary adjustments in the neuromuscular mechanism be made to ensure a well-coordinated movement. Therefore, the practice situation should mirror the actual game or match and the speed of the actions or the intensity must mirror the intensity or movement speed of the game. That’s why I think more time should be spent throwing a 5 oz. ball at game speed, from a mound, focusing on improving mechanics, and less time should be spent in the gym, using weighted balls, and long tossing.


#14

hmm its all very confusing! One person says one thing, another says another thing. I think I’ll just stick to my long toss routine from last year.


#15

RHP,

First, you should do your own research. I provided a couple sources of information above. I’m sure there’s more that our good friend Google can come up with.

In any case, your decision may be best if you haven’t first developed a base level of fitness, added in joint integrity/stability conditioning, and then added in sport-specific strength.

Weighted balls are not a “magic bullet”.


#16

[quote=“Roger”]RHP,

First, you should do your own research. I provided a couple sources of information above. I’m sure there’s more that our good friend Google can come up with.

In any case, your decision may be best if you haven’t first developed a base level of fitness, added in joint integrity/stability conditioning, and then added in sport-specific strength.

Weighted balls are not a “magic bullet”.[/quote]

100% agree with Roger that weighted balls are NOT a magic bullet and I also agree with only a 20% difference. I was a non-believer about 2 years ago as well, but put together a program I use for our pitchers and it absolutely works.

For our program we combine the weighted balls with intense, explosive core work in a 4 week offseason class. Results vary from dramatic to only slight but I have never had a pitcher not gain velocity using weighted balls.

It is my personal belief, based on the information available and my own personal experience, that weighted balls create a more efficient pitching motion. I see mechanics improve and inefficiencies iron out. Pitchers become aware, consciously or subconsciously of their mechanics. In comparing slow motion video before and after using them, I see slight changes. Pitchers generally (not all) get closer to 90 degrees at the start of shoulder rotation (awareness?). Posture tends to improve (likely from the core work, not the balls). Release point becomes more consistent (awareness?).

There is alot of misinformation on what underload/overload actually accomplishes. I personally believe as part of a full body workout regimen, weighted balls are appropriate and useful.


#17

[quote=“structuredoc”]I may be incorrect but I think the studies have proven that once the arm is cocked to throw, the arm movement propelling the ball is not powered by muscular contraction. Propulsion comes from elastic energy stored in the appropriate muscles. That’s why weight training or using weighted balls will not increase arm throwing velocity - because arm-throwing velocity is not caused by muscular movements trained by using weights.
[/quote]

if I didn’t know any better I’d think I was talking to Dick Mills!

ask any pitcher if the throw just flows after they get to the cocked position or whether they are still applying as much effort into the throw as possible up until and even through release. Sure, elastic energy comes into play, but that is far from all that powers the throw. There is still a very conscious effort to throw the ball through release point. Try it.

For example, in a vertical jump you first crouch down quickly, storing elastic energy. But although that energy has enormous importance for propelling you back into the air, there is still also a conscious effort to contract the necessary muscles (quads, glutes, etc). Try it.

That’s why weight training and using weighted balls will increase arm throwing velocity - because arm-throwing velocity is caused by muscular movements trained by using weights.

chew on this: how is it even possible to throw the ball in a pitching drill where the pitcher starts from the cocked position and throws from there. HE HASNT BUILT ELASTIC ENERGY YET!!! What could possibly power the throw??? Muscular contraction???


#18

[quote=“RBish11”][quote=“Roger”]RHP,

First, you should do your own research. I provided a couple sources of information above. I’m sure there’s more that our good friend Google can come up with.

In any case, your decision may be best if you haven’t first developed a base level of fitness, added in joint integrity/stability conditioning, and then added in sport-specific strength.

Weighted balls are not a “magic bullet”.[/quote]

100% agree with Roger that weighted balls are NOT a magic bullet and I also agree with only a 20% difference. I was a non-believer about 2 years ago as well, but put together a program I use for our pitchers and it absolutely works.

For our program we combine the weighted balls with intense, explosive core work in a 4 week offseason class. Results vary from dramatic to only slight but I have never had a pitcher not gain velocity using weighted balls.

It is my personal belief, based on the information available and my own personal experience, that weighted balls create a more efficient pitching motion. I see mechanics improve and inefficiencies iron out. Pitchers become aware, consciously or subconsciously of their mechanics. In comparing slow motion video before and after using them, I see slight changes. Pitchers generally (not all) get closer to 90 degrees at the start of shoulder rotation (awareness?). Posture tends to improve (likely from the core work, not the balls). Release point becomes more consistent (awareness?).

There is alot of misinformation on what underload/overload actually accomplishes. I personally believe as part of a full body workout regimen, weighted balls are appropriate and useful.[/quote]

my thoughts exactly.


#19
  1. Ask any pitcher who moves explosively to the plate with a long stride and good timing and he will tell you that he feels MUCH less stress on his arm than if he were to start in the cocked position and just performed drills. Not to mention there is no way he could start in the cocked position and throw with nearly the velocity of a complete delivery.

  2. Your example of elastic energy with the vertical jump is not quite complete; the example is only comparable when the jumper is at maximal height and then performs a jump shot at that point. The shooter who uses his whole body to get up into the air and is on full stretch will be able to release the ball with less effort from his arms. Sure there are set shooters who can be successful but they tend to “arm the ball” all the way through release – just like many pitchers.

  3. As far as weight training and weighted balls increasing velocity - I think it is pretty obvious that most youth pitchers naturally increase their velocity during the maturation process; they get older, bigger, and stronger as they develop into men. The only way to really know for sure if weight training truly improves velocity is to take a group of fully-grown, high level pitchers (minor and major leaguers) who DO NOT weight train and put them on a program for x amount of time and re-test their velocity. My guess is at least 8 out of 10 will lose velocity.

It’s just like that study they did with pro golfers… they took a bunch of pros and had them hit drives, measured their swing speed and the distance the ball traveled, then had them come back after swinging weighted clubs or multiple clubs as a warm up. Every single golfer decreased in swing speed and distance - every one, much to their surprise. That’s why I don’t like kids using donuts or heavier bats in the on deck circle.


#20

[quote=“structuredoc”]1. Ask any pitcher who moves explosively to the plate with a long stride and good timing and he will tell you that he feels MUCH less stress on his arm than if he were to start in the cocked position and just performed drills. Not to mention there is no way he could start in the cocked position and throw with nearly the velocity of a complete delivery.

I never claimed one could achieve the same velocity, but one can achieve a very high percentage of their overall velocity this way, stressing the importance of muscular contraction to the throw, while realizing that the missing velocity in this drill is due to elastic energy.

Of course a pitcher with better timing will feel like he is getting better use out of his arm and body, but the argument that this well timed fully synchronized throw is fundamentally different than the high cocked drill throw in that it does not rely on active muscular contraction is flawed.

  1. Your example of elastic energy with the vertical jump is not quite complete; the example is only comparable when the jumper is at maximal height and then performs a jump shot at that point. The shooter who uses his whole body to get up into the air and is on full stretch will be able to release the ball with less effort from his arms. Sure there are set shooters who can be successful but they tend to “arm the ball” all the way through release – just like many pitchers.

It’s equivalent to a jumper who start in the down position to remove all elastic energy and then jumps (or does a jump shot, whatever), versus one who dips down and uses all the elastic energy gained in his jump. But compare these two numbers and for many, you would see a very high percentage of the overall jump could be achieved in the paused start. I’m not trying to downplay the importance of elastic energy, I’m just demonstrating how active muscular contraction plays a very very significant role.

  1. As far as weight training and weighted balls increasing velocity - I think it is pretty obvious that most youth pitchers naturally increase their velocity during the maturation process; they get older, bigger, and stronger as they develop into men. The only way to really know for sure if weight training truly improves velocity is to take a group of fully-grown, high level pitchers (minor and major leaguers) who DO NOT weight train and put them on a program for x amount of time and re-test their velocity. My guess is at least 8 out of 10 will lose velocity.

  2. Bagonzi, J.A. The effects of graded weighted baseballs, free weight training, and simulative isometric exercise on the velocity of a thrown baseball. Master’s thesis, Indiana University. 1978.

  3. Brose, D.E., and D.L. Hanson. Effects of overload training on velocity and accuracy of throwing. Res. Q. 38:528-533. 1967.

  4. Jackson, J.B. The effects of weight training on the velocity of a thrown baseball. Master’s thesis, Central Michigan University,. 1994.

  5. Lachowetz, T., J. Evon, and J. Pastiglione. The effects of an upper-body strength program on intercollegiate baseball throwing velocity. J. Strength Cond. Res. 12:116-119. 1998.

  6. Logan, G.A., W.C. McKinney, and W. Rowe. Effect of resistance through a throwing range of motion on the velocity of a baseball. Percept. Motor Skills. 25:55-58. 1966.

  7. Newton, R.U., and K.P. McEvoy. Baseball throwing velocity: A comparison of medicine ball training and weight training. J. Strength Cond. Res. 8:198-203. 1994.

  8. Potteiger, J.A., H.N. Williford, D.L. Blessing, and J. Smidt. Effect of two training methods on improving baseball performance variables. J. Appl. Sport Sci. Res. 6:2-6. 1992.

  9. Sullivan, J.W. The effects of three experimental training factors upon baseball throwing velocity and selected strength measures. Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University,. 1970.

  10. Swangard, T.M. The effect of isotonic weight training programs on the development of bat swinging, throwing, and running ability of college baseball players. Master’s thesis, University of Oregon,. 1965.

  11. Thompson, C.W., and E.T. Martin. Weight training and baseball throwing speed. J. Assoc. Phys. Mental Rehabil. 19:194-196. 1965.

knock yourself out.

It’s just like that study they did with pro golfers… they took a bunch of pros and had them hit drives, measured their swing speed and the distance the ball traveled, then had them come back after swinging weighted clubs or multiple clubs as a warm up. Every single golfer decreased in swing speed and distance - every one, much to their surprise. That’s why I don’t like kids using donuts or heavier bats in the on deck circle.[/quote]

we’re not talking about using weighted balls as a warmup. We’re talking about using them as part of a structured throwing program to strengthen not only the involved musculature, but also teach the body (CNS) to apply more intent/force/muscle recruitment etc. into their throws. This takes more time than a few warmup throws.