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Guys and Dolls,

My son is interested in some upper body work for pitchers in order to gain mass for the upper body portion of delivering the ball.   Does anyone have some good insight on this?

1)  As far as the upper body's role, we see it as a final step in the mechanics of throwing the ball.  The upper body flexes forward and brings the arm and ball along into delivery.   Physics says that if one has more bulk in the upper body that there should be more force applied to the ball, etc., etc.

2)  Are we off base on this assessment?  I am sure that there have been some smaller upper body guys that have been able to fling it despite this.

3) We understand, that not all upper body mass is equal and that some exercises have no value and others can actually be detrimental or even harmful.  

4) We understand that as a general rule one wants to pull three times as often as they push.  That said, what kind of pushing is suggested in order to add some chest and shoulder mass but not create various impingements, tightness or encumbrances to movement?

5) Are the shoulders and chest the best places to target in adding mass? Again, physics would suggest that getting a mass farthest from the hinge would be optimal.  

6) How about arm exercises?  Are curls and triceps extensions ever valuable?

p.s. Currently, he does arm-band work on a nightly basis, i.e., lots of pulling exercises.  He also does a lot of reps of bend over rows with 15lb dumbbells.    Along with trying to focus on explosive leg work, he has been doing SOME push ups and a few curls.

( He also does a fair amount of core work with a medicine ball.)

Thanks for your help.  We are not asking for a personalized workout here.  Just some guidance.


I am that wretch.

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Teaching Elder,

In my experience,. everything I've read and my pitching sons have been taught it is about strength in the lower body & core and flexibility in the upper half of the body for pitchers.  The only upper body exercises I recall college son telling me about were band related for acceleration and decceration.   So, if he is using bands today, stick with them.  Ptiching is about timing and getting that whip action (flexibility) in the arm.   FWIW - I truly believe this approach as I've adopted some of my son's former college baseball exercises into my own life (tennis) that have kept me out of the Dr's office at 54 years old.  I can still bring the heat!  ;-)

If this is something you are strongly considering, I would suggest speaking to a pitching professional who has experience in these matters.  Pitching is a violent motion, but I think there are things that pitchers can do to help themselves stay in the lineup.

As always, JMO.

Last edited by fenwaysouth

Hi Elder,

I would be very careful with assuming an increase in upper body mass=increased velocity. Just take a look at a cross section of your high velocity throwers in MLB. Certainly you have some stout dudes like Scherzer, Fernandez, Martinez (Cardinals) but you also have many body types that would rate on the slighter end, Strasburg, Ventura, Sale, Chapman, that all throw gas. These guys are certainly fit upstairs but on the mass end of things, no. The key is the transmission of kinetic energy to the end of the whip (the arm). The arm is along for the ride & is simply the end of the chain. The stride speed on all of these dudes is at the upper end of the scale for all MLB pitchers. That is the common thread. Chapman probably has the longest & quickest stride of all.

Lower body explosive training (sprints, jumps, etc) For core you want to look at medicine ball. All 2 handed actions. Slams, launches, side tosses, chest passes. High intensity explosive actions. No slow movements on any of these activities. We are training the body & nervous system to flash & react quickly. The foundation of throwing velocity. 

FWIW, my son's high school has them doing dumbbell bench press (not barbell) and dumbbell rows. Some sort of reverse wrist curl for the forearms/wrists. Medicine ball two-handed throws for the core/obliques . . . that's about it for upper body. Mostly they are focusing on lower body (deadlifts and squats).

In the interest of full disclosure, Elder, I have no idea if what they're doing in this regard in right or wrong -- just reporting what they have pitchers doing in the weight room. 


Our team also does a lot of the same stuff you listed there.   Unfortunately, baseball coach also helps coach football.  So, workouts don't start until later in the fall.     He's hoping to get a jump on things at home as he is trying to add protein to the diet and get the muscle gains from it.   

I think that many of the things you listed are probably pretty good, as long as they add explosiveness work to all of it, e.g., go out and sprint, do box leaps and agilities and such.

Steve A.,

I agree with you wholeheartedly.  Bulk for bulk's sake is not always good.  Flexibility and explosiveness are indeed key.

Thanks for chipping in your thoughts.

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