The Results Are Clear About Weight Lifting – It Is Not Necessary In Baseball

May 12, 2009


There is no room in pitching training for heavy weight training.  The latest scientific sports research is overwhelmingly against it for producing any benefits or for reducing risk of injury.  This story below of a 15 year old high school freshman pitcher, who ended up with shoulder surgery, should be a wake up call to parents, coaches and players — and to conditioning coaches who believe that strength training is essential for all sports activities.  They have not read the research.

This young man, by the way, was no ordinary high school freshman pitcher.  Prior to being injured, his fastball was clocked at 88 mph at a college Division 1 pitching camp.  This was a high school pitcher on a fast track to 95 mph or more which can mean multimillion dollar signing bonuses.

The research is quite clear on pitching workout programs and weight training in baseball.  Baseball pitching does not require excessive strength or much strength at all.  Pitching is an explosive movement where velocity is created by momentum of the speed of movement into a long stride where the body stretches out like a huge rubber band creates and stores elastic energy.  It is this stored elastic energy from the body that produces velocity…not the arm. The arm is along for the ride and is mainly for control.  This is exactly why skinny pitchers or small pitchers such as Giants Tim Lincecum at 5’10” 170 lbs. can throw fastballs in the 95-100 mph range.

What high school and college pitchers (and pros) require is general forms of fitness where explosive exercises such as medicine ball or lower body plyometrics help get the pitcher’s body fit to pitch thus reducing the risk of injury. There is no need to do significant weight training.  After about four to five weeks of weight training to build some general strength and prepare the body to do explosive full body exercises, there is no additional need to do any more weight training.  Doing weight training during the baseball season makes no sense at all.

After reading this story there clearly is no need to say more except to be cautious about what maximum practice activities a player engages in whether it’s weight training or weighted balls.  The body must first be trained for any maximal activity. This 15 year old was trained to do a heavy bench press. I would highly  suggest that parents learn what their sons are doing at any strength training classes at school or at any private speed or strength classes.  If your son’s high school or college coach is having them do heavy weight training you must step in and show them the research.  If you don’t listen to these simple youth pitching tips then this is what can be the result.

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