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Light Dumbbell & Elastic Cord Workout

Written by: Dan Gazaway

Welcome to The Pitching Academy!

It takes many hours of preparation to establish consistency to win ballgames and have the ability to lead your team. Part of winning is being prepared in all things. One of the elements of being prepared is to condition your arm for the workload you place on it during games and practice. A great misunderstanding in Baseball is that pitching many innings keeps you in shape to pitch year round. Nothing can ever be so far from the truth as this statement. First and Foremost, before I introduce some effective pitching specific exercises to you, you must understand one thing. That is the way you position your arm while throwing your different pitches. (Curveball, fastball, circle or c- change) These three examples demonstrate at what angle your throwing hand and wrist are positioned at release of the baseball. These three positions dictate how you should workout as a pitcher. As you do each exercise whether it is light dumbbell work, elastic cord work or any other pitching drills on the field, you want to develop all three areas of your throwing arm.

Curveball

Fastball

Circle or C-Change

*Here I am demonstrating the three positions. (This has nothing to do with what arm angle you may be throwing.) Some pitchers, like myself, have a three- quarter arm slot as others create a 90 degree angle as I am demonstrating here. ** Shoulder and Rotator cuff work is just one part of conditioning to throw a baseball. Do these exercises along with on the field skill training, lower body work, plyometrics, core exercises, etc. Alright, let's get started with Light Dumbbell work! Light Dumbbell work (Deltoids, anterior and posterior deltoids) To complement your throwing program a pitcher should implement light dumbbell work in their conditioning regimen to add strength and flexibility. It is important to note that pitchers are not weight lifters. An athlete's objective here is not to see how much weight they can lift while doing these exercises. In fact, most athletes start with 3 lbs weights. It is recommended that no more than 10 lbs. should be used while performing the following exercises. Most high school and collegiate athletes use 5 lbs. And feel it is sufficient weight for them. I have never used more than 5 lbs dumbbells and I am 6'4' 225 lbs. When doing the exercises, do three to five repetitions for each exercise, one right after another, allowing little to no rest between sets. Work up to doing all seven exercises three times. You may want to start with 2 lbs or 3 lbs dumbbells to start and only do one set of each exercise. Do these exercises to tolerance. It is important to know that range of motion within the shoulder joint, is more important for a pitcher than having overdeveloped shoulders. Overdeveloped shoulders affect range of motion. Again, we're not creating bulky muscles here.

I am showing this shoulder exercise first because it shows you the different angles you place your wrists with every exercise. (Thumbs level, thumbs up, thumbs down) The illustrations are simple to follow, but I will give a brief explanation for each one. These exercises are often referred to as jobe exercises. Stand straight, feet shoulder width apart, arms at your sides pinching your shoulder blades together. Raise the weight shoulder high. Perform three to five repetitions with thumbs level, three to five with thumbs up and three to five thumbs down.

Begin with arms in relaxed position, raise weight in front of you with shoulder blades touching. (Arms with your palms down, thumbs up, thumbs down; three to five repetitions at each angle)

Start with dumbbell waist high and raise until throwing arm creates an L-shape (thumbs up, down, and palms out)

Start with your throwing arm relaxed by the side of the bench and raise arm in front of you until it reaches level of bench. (Repeat with all three arm positions)

Put your head against the wall, arms raised at a 90 degree level in a flex-t position. Raise the weight shoulder height, extend the arms straight out until parallel with the ground, lower slowly and repeat exercise. (All three positions)

Begin this exercise with the weights in front of you shoulder height at a 90 degree angle.

Raise the weights in a controlled fashion to the flex-t position, lower the weights slowly until the weights are almost at your waste. Maintain the 90 degree angle throughout the exercise. (Thumbs level, thumbs up and thumbs down.

Elastic Cord Work Elastic Cord work should be done after a light dumbbell workout. There are many advantages/reasons why a pitcher should implement these workouts in his routine. Elastic cord training is a resistance training that serves many purposes. The training can be used as a preventative tool for arm injuries as well as rehabilitation. You will see these cords in many rehabilitation clinics or offices in your local area. You can utilize the cords as part of a pre-game warm-up routine (light resistance) or you can increase the resistance (medium to high) for strength training throughout the season and during winter months. A cord can also be used for skill training (mechanics training tool) I love to utilize the cords while I teach throwing mechanics because it reinforces what is being taught. An athlete will feel the difference as he opens up at foot strike and tries to pull the cord forward that if he stays closed and pulls the cord. He will begin to "feel" how to throw the ball correctly.

Face away from the wall and pull the cords in front of you. The thumbs should go from a down position to an up position.

Face the wall, knees shoulder width; begin with the cord at a 90 degree angle shoulder height. End with the cord stretched at a 90 degree angle demonstrated above. Make sure that you do all three angles again. Thumbs up, thumbs down and thumbs level.

Start facing away from the wall again, pull the cord forward in all three positions.

Start with feet shoulder width apart, arm with palm facing you. Pull the cord away from you body ending with your palm out. Do all three arm positions again.

This exercise is a high elbow swim. Do a set of 5 to 15 reps with thumbs up, then a set with thumbs down.

This exercise is referred to as hitchhikes. Perform a set of 5 to 15 reps with each arm. Perform this exercise to tolerance as well trying to do one set with your thumbs up and the next with your thumbs down.

There are many light dumbbell and elastic cord exercises that I didn't show that are effective. In fact there are so many that you have to choose the exercises you feel suit you; you'll never find the time to implement all of them. I am showing you the one's I used and still use today when I compete, that proved effective for me. Never stop learning and obtaining information from valuable sources. For a more extensive pitching specific conditioning program, refer to www.thepitchingacademy.net in the near future and that is exactly what you will find. I will be going over Core exercises, different cord drills and light dumbbell work, skills on the field, pre-game warm-ups, strength training in-season and off- season, and much more! A special thanks to Brandon for allowing us to photograph his workout.

© May 2007

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