The gold standard of pitching at the elite level is the fastball. Today I’m presenting you with three movements that really support a pitcher to increase their throwing velocity and allow my top level athletes to throw a 90mph fastball.
When it comes to pitching philosophy or any baseball movements, you guys will recognize that my take is always to isolate and then elevate.
Today we’re looking to isolate a particular component of the pitch, and then elevate that same movement so that it can benefit your throw and overall athleticism.
While it’s important to continue traditional strength training through lifts like the squat, deadlift, and bench, I’d like to share a few of the finer point exercises that I may have a pitcher work on while they’re in peak phase.
This allows an athlete to take some of the compound movements we’ve been focusing on during the off-season and transfer the movements to something a little more sport and position specific.
So you want to throw a 90mph fastball?
3 Exercises to Increase Pitching Velocity
To achieve the 90mph fastball, you need to begin implementing specific drills and techniques, particularly during your peak phase (towards the end of the off-season).
1. Lateral Goblet Lunge
As a pitcher, imagine yourself standing on the mound preparing for your pitch.
As you step laterally into that throw, you initiating hip abduction which calls on the glutes and hamstrings.
Despite how basic this movement is, this is a great drill to increase lower body strength. As you can load resistance into the hips, you then explode up to work on power.
- Begin by standing tall and holding a KB at your chest in the goblet position.
- Shift your weight to balance on one foot, stepping out laterally.
- Sink your weight back and down into a lunge.
- You’ll then drive into the heel of that foot and return to standing.
There’s two ways I like to have my athletes perform this drill:
To train for strength with the lateral goblet lunge, use a heavy KB. As you drive out with each step, really focus on hitting a bigger range of motion and working on absolute strength.
The other way I might do this with an athlete i by using a lighter weight on your KB, and going for more speed through the reps.
Your range may not be as deep here, but the goal is now to work on power and explosiveness.
Going from strength to power on this drill is a perfect example of isolating and then elevating an exercise.
2. Forward Goblet Lunge
The purpose of this drill is to work on the deceleration portion of a pitchers throw. After they’ve stepped to initiate the pitch, there’s a “whip-like” effect that carries the momentum forward.
- Begin standing with a KB at your chest.
- You’ll initiate a lunge by stepping forward, keeping the chest up tall.
- Driving into the heel of that front foot, you’ll power back up to standing.
To make this drill even more specific to pitching, you can begin facing one direction then turn and step out into the forward lunge. This twisting motion is so similar to the actual movement you’ll create when throwing a pitch.
3. Dowel Prone OH Press
On this one, we’re looking to increase some of the range and mobility within your thoracic spine.
When a pitcher is throwing, you want to make sure there’s enough mobility in the upper back (thoracic region) that they’re able to get into all the positions they need to.
Having a greater range to throw with allows you to generate more power and have a faster pitch.
In addition to having mobility, we also need to have strength in these areas to produce enough force behind each throw.
A drill for this I absolutely love are thoracic rotations with a dowel rod.
- Begin lying on your chest holding a dowel rod in both hands.
- Bring the arms overhead and lock out the elbows.
- From here, you’ll activate the upper posterior chain by lifting the chest off the ground.
- Keeping the hips on the ground you’re going to twist through the T-Spine, bringing one end of the dowel rod into the air, and the other side down into the ground.
By keeping the hips connected to the ground it allows you to totally dissociate the upper half and the lower half of the body so that you can focus on directly strengthening the muscles of the upper thoracic.
If this movement is difficult and you’re not quite as mobile, you can perform the same drill without the dowel rod from all fours in a table top position.
Here, you’ll just bring the hand behind your head reaching the elbow up to the ceiling and then direct the elbow down to touch the ground.
Again, your biggest concern here is to maintain keeping the hips level to the ground.
HOW TO THROW A 90 MPH FASTBALL
By training these three movements, you’re isolating, elevating, and strengthening the critical muscles and motor patternsthat are necessary to create more power behind your pitch.
Want to throw a 90 mph fastball?
Your goal as the athlete then, is to elevate each part of your throwing ability.
As you combine together the lateral lunge and the decelerating forward lunge, you’re going through the entire motion of a pitchers throw.
Then by working on T-spine mobility, an athlete can enhance their ability to throw faster and further.
Working on each exercise separately allows you to isolate, and then bringing them into your game on the field elevates each portion.
This develops lateral and linear strength, and increase the velocity at which you throw.
If you’re serious about your baseball performance, and want a whole host more of workouts like this one scheduled for maximum power and strength gains… Check out Baseball Power Program.
It’s the exact programming I use to build Major Leaguers.
And it’ll help you wherever you’re at physically.
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