Conditioning for a pitcher

What is the best way for a starting pitcher to condition? What type of running do you guys reccomend?

30 yard sprints with full recoveries, med-ball throws, plyometrics, tempo on off-days,

Good stuff Blinky. I’d add some upper back and shoulder external rotaters work in there too just to keep things in balance.

Very useful too. I’d try to mimic pitching movements when you’re using med-ball throws such as standing how you would in pitching, then with both hands bring the ball from behind you and pitch it.

In Canseco’s book he said he trained like a sprinter. I guess this was to maximize the efficiency of his CNS, same goes for pitching.

Your training will depend on the type of throwing cycle you are on. These suggestion are excellent but alot of factors must be considered while you are in season.

1)How many games do you have in a season
2)How often are you asked to pitch
3)Are you a starter, mid relief, or a closer
4)Do you play any other position when you are not pitching

^ I am a starter in college. I am in the process of transferrng and I have to sit out this sprng. this following spring i will pitch anywhere from 60 -100 innings., i dont play any other position


my coach is giving me a chance to come up with a sample practice schedule for our fall season at my college. the first phase will be 6 days a week for six weeks. right now we have various programs we use. we will do extreme long toss for as much as 45 minutes, some times with weighted balls, we have a medball program and a drill series. some of our bullpens will be live, others will be with weighted balls. the main problem me an my coach are having is designing a running schedule. if bullpens were to take place on days one and four of the cycle, what type of running, how much, which days we have no clue. our throwing programs will be one of the most intense in the country, but we really want o make sure we get our running right. suggestion would be eagerly welcomed. thanks in advance -brett

I would be very cautious as to the purpose of using weighted baseballs. If you have attempted to use all other means at your disposal to increase velocity for your pitchers, than maybe you might try weighted balls. But stretching out that shoulder capsule and creating laxity in the joint is very risky. Risk vs. reward, if the arm or legs (supporting structures) are tiered in one of your throwing session (and all pitchers are different) and they blow their cuff, how will you justify the risk? Here is some info I found on weighted balls.

“Dr. Saltzer: I don’t like weighted balls. I don’t think it develops the proper proprioceptive control. Your muscles work by proprioception - that is the biofeedback of where the arm is in space at a given moment and what are the stresses on it at that moment. Those messages are sent to the brain and the brain sends back a response. The movement is initiated. That continues on with every throw.
When you have a heavier ball you are not developing that proprioceptive control. It’s basically confusing the brain.
And besides that the extra resistance of the weighted balls can strain the developing tissues. That extra weight is only going to accentuate the problem. I just think there is more potential for trouble than for gain.”
Not only does Dr. Salzer worry about the injury factor but he is also saying that pitchers will have control problems as well because they are confusing the brain by throwing a different weighted ball.
This is what you won’t here from those who are agressively selling them as a magic bullet instead of the way that all pitchers gain velocity…good mechanics, conditioning and working on developing your fastball by simply throwing it more.
Gene Coleman, the strength coach of the Houston Astros for over 20 years says they do not recommend weighted baseballs for their pitchers for fear of injury. Big league pitchers in other words have too much at stake. Why then would a high school pitcher use them whose mechanics are not nearly as good and whose overall body strength is much less?
In 1994, during a two week period my son Ryan used to throw a 6 oz softball as a warm-up, but he never threw weighted baseballs. During that two to three week period Ryan worked on developing better hip and trunk rotation. And it was that mechanical adjustment that pushed his velocity from 86-91 mph in that short period. We tried the softball because Nolan Ryan had been throwing a football. But it never really felt right to Ryan…especially because it was so much larger than a baseball. However, that is 9 years ago. We have learned so much more since then.
I do not see a lack of arm strength as the primary issue for a lack of velocity in high school pitchers although building a strong arm is certainly important. But as pitchers who throw a 5 oz ball from the mound, they should then also throw a 5 oz ball whenever they throw.
What I see are youth pitchers and most high school pitchers who simply lack explosiveness because of poor functional strength that cannot support a quality delivery. Their lack of overall strength prevents them from transferring forces from the large muscles to the arm. And their poor mechanics do not allow the proper sequence of movements so that the larger muscles of the hips and trunk are able to deliver the arm at optimum speed.
So no amount of throwing is going to change that. What these pitchers need is more functional strength and the mechanical adjustments that will help transfer that added strength to the baseball.
Many, many times a pitcher can simply fix a mechanical fault such as weight transfer or stride length along with getting more rotational power from the pelvis and trunk and together those can add that extra 5-7 mph. But again…mechanics alone are not enough.
So it is easy to help any pitcher increase velocity just by showing him what simple adjustments to make in his mechanics. And this is how those that are selling weighted baseballs actually justify velocity increases. They don’t just say “go out and throw these weighted baseballs” they also tell them to make some mechanical adjustments. But it is the mechanical adjustments that create the added velocity …not the throwing of the weighted baseballs. This is the deception that is going on from these websites.
So if that same player had just thrown a 5 oz ball while at the same time making mechanical adjustments, he too would see his velocity go up.
If all pitchers had to do to gain an added 10 mph on their velocity was to just purchase a set of $30 weighted baseballs, wouldn’t that be one of the most popular baseball products out there? Of course, and yet weighted baseballs, although around for over 30 years now are hardly ever seen or used by top performing pitchers, top college or pro teams.
Remember, it is the movement of the larger muscles first - the legs, the pelvis and the trunk that deliver the smaller muscles of the arm at high speed. Without the rotational forces of the pelvis and trunk the arm does not create that whiplike effect.
One more thing to keep in mind. The majority of youth and high school pitchers do not get very good use of their lower body and their trunk in an effort to reduce the stress from the arm. This means that by using weighted baseballs…the arm stress will increase even more.
Does it make sense to focus on throwing a heavier object when a pitcher cannot deliver a 5 oz baseball with good mechanics!
Those who have the most to gain if weighted baseball really were beneficial would be professional baseball since there are many minor league and major league pitchers who could use an extra 5-10 mph… as some sellers of weighted baseballs are promising. However, professional baseball has no interest whatsoever and will not risk using them.

As for your running program, one part regeneration for the arm and body the day of pitching(after the game), and the day after(tempo 100’s & 200’s @75%)(get rid of the idea of running poles, measure out 100m on your field for all your athletes)(100+100+100 / 100+200+100+100 / 100+200+200+100 / 100+200+100+100 / 100+100+100)(2200m +=short walk for rest /= 2:00 rest between sets (can be more when athletes begin training), Tempo is the most important element in your training program (flushes the system, regenerates the body(CNS), capillarizes the muscles(allowing athletes to recover faster, and hold their warm-up even in cold then build back up the speed and power of the pitcher with lifting, explosive MB, plyo’s, and short sprints. Pitchers can not tap their CNS all the time, you must alternate it.

nap, thanks for the suggestions on the running program. also, to address the possibility of injuring your arm with weighted balls, you might be correct. the harder you throw, the more stress you put on your arm and the more chance you have of injury. rarely will you hear of some kid who thew 78 blowing out his arm. he doesnt put any stress on it at all. the cold reality for all pitchers is that if you lack the velocity, you will not make it to the next level. so while there is a risk of injury, there is also the reward of throwing harder. mlb teams dont use weighted balls because everyone there already throws hard enough or they wouldnt have made it. the sole purpose of their trainers is to keep them from getting injured. so no i doubt majorleaguers will ever use weighted ball programs although i have seen them used as warm-ups. last season out of 13 pitchers, 11 gained at least 5mph. one kid went from 78 max to 92 in a 6 month span. he eventually hurt his elbow. we feel it was becasue of lack of psyical preperation. that is why we are trying to improve on our lifting and running program. our weighted ball and medball program is used by roughly 87 d1 schools and the avg is 6.7 mph increase in 1 yr time.