T Nation

Throwing Arm Strength

After a couple year hiatus, I am going back into the fray of softball. I joined up on a buddy’s team and it looks to be a pretty competitive league (multiple games per week for one thing… good Lord).

Now, I have always had a fairly strong throwing arm, but it cannot hurt to get a little more zing in the wing, so to speak. I cannot recall seeing it discussed here before (and if it has, it never hurts to bring up these kinds of topics again, especially as baseball and softball seasons kick in), but I am curious for people’s thoughts on improving your throwing arm.

Part of me thinks a lot can be gained by a variety of rotator cuff work, although that might go more to pre-hab work of keeping the shoulder healthy and less of building up velocity.

Any thoughts out there? Just looking to generate some healthy discussion.


All I have ever known, is keep the joint healthy and in good working condition. The rest will come with repetition

I do some stuff with bands going through the throwing motion. You can use a pulley and set it at around head height and do the same thing. With the band it’s better because there is constent resistance and will keep your follow through strong. [If you happen to want to go through at full speed the weight won’t just go away and slam back against you.] Take something like Flame Out! to keep the joints lubed and anti-inflammatory.

As you can figure out after awhile that the band will get lighter and you’ll have to go up on resistance.

WARNING TO IDIOTS: Don’t try to max out while doing rotator cuff work.

Funny you should mention the bands. I have some mini-bands I got from Elite that I was thinking of using in the exact fashion you describe (i.e. going through the throwing motion). I have seen baseball training aids that were somewhat similar to this, but was always leery of them being overpriced gimmicks that I could just do with the bands.

More than anything else, I know that just flat out throwing helps the most.

I pitched in college and ended up tearing my rotator cuff, which ended my baseball career. The most important thing I can tell you is NOT to load the throwing motion…train the arm’s decelerators; you are already tempting overuse injuries with a high throwing workload.

You have to ‘put in what you take out,’ so to speak…Frank Jobe’s rotator cuff routine is a good idea…so is R.C. work with bands as you said, but there’s no reason to duplicate your throwing motion off the field…

If you want to get deeper into the topic, consult the works of Tom House and Dick Mills (both are brilliant, but do things quite a bit differently…) Good luck.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
The most important thing I can tell you is NOT to load the throwing motion…[/quote]
I definitely second that vote.

I believe Cosgrove, Cressey, and Robertson have all used a similar analogy; that if a baseball player came to them, the first thing they would do is train the opposing muscles, and the absolute last thing they would do is train the movement against resistance. Unless your league is using a 6-pound softball, there’s no point in using the band that way.

Use the weight room for building a stronger/faster body, then use time on the field to translate that strength/speed for the game.

Just as important as the rotator/shoulder area is the hips, abs (core), and grip. A weak point in any of those, and it doesn’t matter if your shoulder is super-healthy.

I’d consider going on a primarily dumbbell routine for a few weeks, with limited barbell exercises, in conjunction with a basic rotator cuff pre-hab program. Big exercises like DB snatches, the clean and press, pull-ups (especially to the sternum, if possible), bent 2-DB rows, and full contact twists (requires a barbell, but it’s awesome anyway), will be key players.

Kuz, are you looking to improve your arm for pitching, or for making those big bomb tosses from deep, deep right field?