Strength Training for Throwing Athletes – Part I

What a great World Series this year!  Time for the rest, recovery and rehab for our favorite big leaguers.  Regardless what level you participate at, throwing places high amounts of stress on the shoulder and arm and can quickly lead to injury.   In fact, nearly 60% of young pitchers sustain injuries to their arm, and 15% of college baseball pitchers with current shoulder pain report prior episodes of arm pain in their youth (JOSPT May 20011).  These statistics demonstrate the importance of prevention through instruction on proper throwing mechanics and appropriate strength training.

Traditionally, athletes in throwing sports have been taught to complete a group of  exercises which strengthen the muscles required for throwing. Half of this “Thrower’s 10” is demonstrated in the video below.  Be sure to check back in two weeks for the second half. Additionally, here are a few other tips to help keep you pain-free and out on the field:

  • Be sure to include an appropriate warm-up before all games and practices.
  • If you’re a pitcher, practice from a mound whenever possible to simulate game situations. When a mound is not available, use short distance (120- 180 feet) throws to warm-up instead of long toss. (JOSPT May 20011).  Long toss produces more strain on the elbow and shoulder due to mechanical differences and is not a safe way to warm-up (JOSPT May 20011).
  • 60% of your throwing power is generated from the muscles of the legs and core. Check out our previous articles for exercises to develop improved strength in these areas.
  • Instruction in proper throwing mechanics should be sought only from a trained professional, coach or trainer.

The Classic “Throwers 10”

1: D2 Flexion/Extension

2: External Rotation and Internal Rotation at 0 and 90 degrees

3: Shoulder abduction to 90 deg

4: Scaption with Internal Rotation

5: Prone Horizontal Abduction

6: Lower trap press ups

7: Prone rowing

8: Pushups

9: Biceps curls and Triceps press

10: Wrist Flexion, Ext, Supination and Prontation

Week 1:

This week we start with the first half of our series focusing on upper body strengthening to help prevent injuries and improve performance for all you throwing athletes.  Check out the video below.

1: D2 Flexion/Extension   Great exercises in the later stages of recovery from injury and include strengthening of most major muscle groups in the body.  Remember to point the thumb up as you go up and down.  The shoulder should stay close the body and come closer to your face rather than further away

2: External Rotation and Internal Rotation at 0 and 90 degrees.  Theses should be emphasized, as the rotator cuff is very important for stability and control of the shoulder during throwing mechanics.  New research has shown that External Rotation strength is very important to prevent shoulder pain.

3: Shoulder abduction to 90 deg  No need to complete as this strengthens similar muscles as other exercises in the progression with more stress to structures of the shoulder

The attached videos will help guide you to the correct performance of these exercises.  If you have further questions you should seek further consultation from a qualified professional.  Check back for the second half of our Throwers 10 series in two weeks.

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