T Nation

Training for Speed of Movement?


Hows it going everyone. I'm a college baseball player, a pitcher. I know this isn't a combat sport but I wasn't sure where to post this. I wanted to post it on this site because you all seem extremely knowledgable on training.

Most sites I've found seem to be talking out of their asses but for the most part here most people seem to be backing there information with science, which is nice to see. Anyway I posted my question in this section because it has to do with training to improve very fast movements, and I figured in combat sports there is probably some training done for similar things that may relate.

I also posted this in the beginner section because I wasn't sure where the right place was to post it. Also I should note that I've worked on mechanics a great deal and have a good idea what they entail as far as where my power comes from.

Anyway pitching is a very very fast movement, specifically abdominal rotation, and abdominal flexing. Also propelling my body off the mound with my right leg. Than of course last but not least internal rotation of the humeris. Anyway I would like to train to make these motions even faster.

I know which muscles are used in these motions and exercises I could do to target all of them, but I don't know how I would train to try to increase the speed of the motions. Do I train with no resistance and just work on moving as fast as I can, almost like plyometrics; or do I work with light resistance like a small weight or med ball and once again do the motions as fast as I can;

Or do I work with somewhat heavy weight in like a 10-15 rep range and do them fast; or do I do them with really heavy weight say 3-5 rep range and as fast as I can (though that probably won't be too fast); or do I do some sort of combination of them.

To sum it up, my question is basically about what kind of training do you do if you want to increase the speed of certain movements?

Once again I know exercises I can do to target each, I'm not really a beginner to working out but a beginner to this kind of training, so I'm more lost on what kind of resistance I should use in order to accomplish my goals. I'm also aware that I shouldn't just focus on agonist movements but also antagonist movements and I plan to.

Sorry if I repeated myself a little here, I just wanted to be as specific as I could be as to what I'm looking for. I hope my rambling is comprehensible lol. Looking forward to hearing your advise. Thanks in advance.


One tip, although it seems counter-intuitive, is to train the opposite muscles. The "decceleration" muscle groups. First, this will keep balance and prevent injury. Second, this will increase stability and allow your body to produce maximum force.

Mike Robertson has a lot of good information about this type of stuff. I'd recommend face pulls, a lot of rowing, external rotation work, and anything that trains the posterior chain like Romanian Deads.


I actually read something about working out the opposite muscles. The article said pretty much what you did, that a lot of people make the mistake of training only the muscles producing the forces and not the opposites. I read it here http://us.commercial.lifefitness.com/content.cfm/trainingspeed-areyoutrainingtherightmuscles.

Now I was just thinking and maybe someone has this answer for me, how do boxers train to punch?

Not that they are exactly the same, but the motions seem somewhat similar in that they both seem to require a great deal of abdominal rotation speed. Right? Also I'd assume (I've never boxed in my life so I completely assume) that their powerful punch originates from the ground, in other words, in their legs just like a pitcher.

I also assume that they work to get their fist traveling at the highest velocity they can to make the hardest punch, just like I want to get my hand, even more specifically my arm traveling at the highest velocity I can to make the fastest pitch. On top of all of that, cardio is huge in both boxing and pitching.

In other words I'm thinking that boxing training, atleast as far as abdominal, legs, and cardio (and perhaps other aspects), might be a good way to go? Anyone have an opinion on this?


Your assumptions are correct about the similarities I think, but my opinion is it wouldn't really be too worth your time. I think you'll get better at pitching by pitching and improving technique. As far as in the gym, getting your legs and core strong is, of course, great.

Also, train those muscle groups I mentioned before. However, unless you have a plethora of time of your hands, I'm not sure boxing will get you a lot of bang for your buck as far as improvement goes.

I think about it like this: Let's say boxing training improves your pitching speed by 1%. I dunno if it would, but let's just pretend. The amount of time you would have to put into boxing to get that improvement, I estimate, would be a ton. It takes a long time to develop punching technique, etc, and then worry about developing actual hand speed.

Now, if you put that same amount of time into improving pitching technique, I'm guessing you'd see an improvement of more than 1%. Even if you didn't, and your fastball was exactly the same, that practice time could develop a much better curveball or slider.

The development of other quality pitches that you could throw for strikes would make you much tougher to face. So I think bang for buck, you should pitch to improve technique, lift for leg and core strength/endurace (you want to have some velocity in innings 7,8,9) and leave the boxing training alone.


Ahhhh very very good point. That makes a ton of sense. I agree entirely. Good stuff thanks for the advise danew I appreciate it.


It does originate from the ground- your power comes from the twisting of your hips and your footwork. So yes, strong legs and abdominals will be your greatest allies in developing a more powerful pitch. Look at Roger Clemens... motherfucker has legs like tree trunks.

This is done in different ways though. And your fist isn't really moving at the highest velocity- it's coming right from your chin straight out, and powered by your legs. It's not quite like a pitch where you wind up and put everything you got into one haymaker motion- that's telegraphing, and you'll get killed. They tell you all the time not to wind up a punch because the other guy will see it coming.

So the mechanics, to me, seem different... but then I have no idea the mechanics that go into pitching, so maybe I'm wrong. It's similar, but both of them are so specific that they don't really translate exactly.

Any sport such as boxing or baseball that requires extreme explosive rotational force is going to mean that you need strong abs.

I would advise you to look at Ross Enamait's stuff and go buy a medicine ball- great for explosiveness, and you can do alot of rotational work that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do with weights.


SOunds good.. Put that way I guess a haymaker and a pitch are somewhat similar lol, and I guess a boxer's not really training for haymakers lol.

I will look up Ross Enamait and try to get a good rotational training program going. Besides that I think I'm also going to lift somewhat heavy focusing on legs but also some upper body. I'll also continue to throw and work on that.


Weight shift is also important (in both punching and pitching). In Physics Force = Mass x Acceleration. The mass in a punch or pitch comes from the bodyweight shifting into the pitch/punch. That's one of the reasons pitchers pitch from a "mound", because it helps them to use gravity to increase their ability to quickly shift their weight and have more distance to develop speed while throwing.

Yes, the mechanics are different. But, also a little too similar IMO. What I mean by that is that they are just similar enough that one could possibly screw up your performance of the other (at least at a very high level).

In punching maximal speed is developed via relaxation, and proper mechanics (like no telegraph, fist travels the straightest line to the target, fist moves first, etc...).

From my experience with pitching (certainly nothing really high level) it's mostly about being able to get your body into the pitch as much as possible, the strength of the muscles powering the pitch, and the ability to shut off the opposing muscles that would act as brakes and slow you down.

I agree with Irish that your best bet is to continue to perfect your pitching technique (maybe break the pitch down into smaller components, get those really, really good and add speed/power as you get more and more efficient in your mechanics, then add it all together and see if that doesn't help),

Strengthen the muscles that power your pitches (and yes strenthen the antagonists so as to avoid injury), and leave boxing training to those who want to improve at boxing.

Also, another great piece of equipment for rotational force development is called a "tornado ball". It's basically a medicing ball on a rope. The most popular way I've seen it used is to stand with your back to a wall, and practice rotating back and force as quickly and powerfully as possible trying to slam the ball off the walls on both your right and left.

Here's a vid:


You put it in a lot better terms than I could.


You have recieved some great advice here. In my experience, the answer to 'how do boxers train to punch harder?' is 'incorrectly'

What I mean by this is punching with weights in their hands, neglecting the decelerators and claiming that 'Lifting heavy weights makes you slow.'

It is crazy that given the vast sums of money involved in modern boxing this is still the attitude in many gyms.

Rant over, the advice above and the suggested reading will really help you out. Good luck!


Ask Eric Cressey. He's a genius with this stuff.