Having too much upper body strength!


one point in particular that stood out-

“…Too much upper body strength limits linkage to the lower body, as the lifter relies on muscle not quickness to lift the weight. There are very serious implications here for baseball players, quarterbacks and other ball throwing or implement throwing sports…”


This is the same guy who says you can’t improve speed after 22 years of age, and the same guy who hid and cowered when the Westside guys tried to engage him in debate.

The answers right there, Westside guyS, maybe he didn’t want to be bullied. Strength in numbers? Speed as an inherent quality is much easier to develop in the early years, you can still faster after that but it’s much harder. I don’t think you can get too strong but for a pitcher I would focus on lower body power and the core strength. Wasting time on upper body may hinder this as baseball players have precious little time in the weight room compare to football/track athletes.

These guys always misunderstand why a player gets to tight in the first place! If you always static stretch properly via microstretching everyday then you would never have these problems bc the ROM would always be there! On selection of exercises for a pitcher you could eliminate bicep curls at the elite level bc this would lead to extra mass the pitcher wouldn’t need when he is trying to accelerate his arm through thousands of degrees per second!

I would never limit any athletes development of strength, however when is enough strength enough, I guess that all depends on the athletes position and objectives. Yet, hypertrophy, yes, that may limit ROM. Pitchers should focus, as said, on core strength, power, and leg strength and power…

But wouldn’t the bicep come in handy for decelerating the elbow??? At max. velocities, isn’t the key element balance? You can never go faster than you can stop.


When we are talking about the anatomy and biomechanics of the throwing motion, you can go faster than you can stop!!

Poor mechanics and a fatigued rotator cuff, or fatigued legs, extra stress on the rotator cuff.

At elite levels the shoulder will move 7000 degrees per second. One of the most explosive movements in all sports.

The muscles of the rotator cuff are not very large and do not grow in propotion to other muscles of the body.

And the answer to my question was…


Balance is the answer to your question, test bench, upper body strength, test squat lower, test VJ, power, basic and easy to test for any pitcher, start here and see what needs improvement. I’ve worked with pitchers for 5 years, one in particular has made hugh gains in all three tests, last season he pitched 35 innings at one stretch without giving up a run, NCAA D III. FYI, we don’t do much bicep training. He’s lean at 4%, DL 405 for reps, VJ has gone from 28-34.5 and added more than 20lbs of solid mucsle

what does arm size have to do with arm velosity?

The basic idea is that a bigger muscle has a greater potential to be stronger, which then affects other types of strength leading to a greater velocity. The point he was making is that at the elite levels training for size is NOT necessary since they already have that framework in place and should instead focus on overall power and training the CNS.

The primary muscles involved in the actual throwing motion are the rotator cuff muscles and not the tri’s and bi’s.

There is also the analogy of the calf in relation to the running velocity, if to large it can disrupt balance.

The larger the arm mass the more work for the small rotator cuff muscles to decelerate the arm.

Speed of movement and quickness are different then explosiveness. Speed that occurs in 90% of all sport is more a measure of how much force comes along with the movement, which is why the ability to do simple unloaded tasks, such as tapping your fingers or your feet in place, does not necessarily correlate with the ability to sprint down the track etc., as there is little force involved in the former.

I think Charlie once said that speed of movement peaks at around age 21 or 22 but strength doesn’t peak until age 29 or 30. The combination of those 2 is what determines “sporting speed”. So most athletes in explosive sports should note their best performances somewhere in that 21 to 30 bracket.

The primary role of quickness is to produce high speed movement which does not encounter large external resistance or require great strength, power, or energy consumption.

Quickness may be referred to as the ability of the central nervous system to contract, relax or control muscle function without involvement of any preliminary stretch. It is measured as the time interval or reaction time between voluntary stimulation and the initiation of movement. This time should be distinguished from absolute movement speed, which is the interval from the beginning to the end of movement.

The average movement time of a simple task of unloaded movement of an extremity is .3 seconds, which can decrease by more than 50% in the case of highly trained subjects. Movement time is strongly influenced by motor coordination or precision of movement.

Quickness can involve simple or complex tasks, as well as single versus repeated actions. In boxing or martial arts, quickness would involve thrusting out a fist from rest to execute a punch. Examples of quickness in repeated actions are dribbling in soccer, hitting a rapidly returned shuttle in badminton, or a flurry of offensive blows in boxing. In the latter examples, quickness would refer to the frequency of repeated movements.


You don’t test for pulling strength?? Do you not see the lats as huge players in upper body rotation (the first link in getting the arm rotation started) and also in slowing down the humerous after the pitch has been released? I really believe a pulling exercise (pull up/chin up) would be much more acurate in determing their strength levels, and where to improve for upper body strength.

Big Rock,
I test chinups for relative body strength and not necessarily “pulling” strength. I have them do 1 set of max reps so I can see over the course of a program if they are achieving functional or nonfuntional muscle mass. That is the main reason. I think it is a test on the same level as the vertical jump per say. Unlike like bench and squat maxes which test maximum strength. That is unless you have them do max weighted pullup test which I do not see the need to do.
How do you personally test their upper body pulling strength?


No, your right. I don’t do max chin’s, but I do like to see them complete weighted pull ups (palms away). Usually for 5, sometime’s for 3, depends (as well as how you say, for max reps to see if strength ratio’s are improving). And it is tough, because BW is such a factor. It’s more of a qualitative analasys than a quantitative one for me. I also like BB Bent Over Row. But again, I need to see this being performed, as it is impossible to believe anyone in what they say the can row with ‘proper’ form.

Are you you answering the question for me? If so, good answer… Big Rock, any athlete let’s say less than 230lbs that can not do 15 pull-ups needs to improve their relative pulling strength. My test is not a true “test” but it’s part of the training, sometimes a competition of sorts. This year we did a 3 set total with 3 min rest. Our cf did 78, an alum from the lacrosse team did 102, I did 60 at 190lb.
Also, if I see athletes db rowing with 40-60, I address their lack of,pulling “back/lat” strength. What are the ways to test? I RM DB row. 1 RM bentover row, 1 RM cable row. Just thinking about it, why not… I’ve done this for kicks with workout partners, 207lbs for a 4 rep 1 arm row then we stopped, and a 4 plate T-bar 1 arm pull for ego…


Are you talking about true, ‘dead hang’ pull ups? To be honest, I can count the number of people I’ve ever met, who can do 15 true pull ups, on probably two hands. I go to a Canadian University, so I understand our athletics is nothing compared to what’s just a little South of us, but I’m just wondering if we are deferring on what we would let slide as a pull up.

Basically, (I catch, and play a little Right Field for my school) this year was my best year as far as shoulder pain and recovery are concerned. And the only thing different in my upper body training, is I dropped the focus on pushing (even added a little bit of overhead pressing), and really really focused on pulling. Whether it be Weighted Chins/Pull Ups, DB row, whatever. I threw harder, and had a significant decrease in shoulder pain, and had quick recoveries from games (as far as my shoulder). I really think these were due to all the work I spent hanging from the bar. I love bench, we all do. I just think for Baseball players, pulling needs to be addressed as slightly more important.

I do really like the ‘competition’ within the testing, and actually might steal your idea of testing a 3 set max. I like that. Most people’s numbers drop of huge after the first set. For me, if I can do ‘Chin Ups’ (palms facing) I think I might be able to beat you. Pull Ups (palms away), I think you might have me (I’m 185 - 190lbs).

C’mon, would that be any fun, “dead hang pulls”
a little leg kick, use speed, change grips, we just let it rip…and for the record my 60, chins on a 2" fat bar-28-16-16. Your right, performance drops, now it’s your turn, try it.

It makes for sound training for ball players to work their backs with a priority, I’m with you…LBM, leg strength, power, and core it’s all good.

On a side note, Pulldowns are good for something, have you ever tried scapular pulldowns? Hook onto the bar, use approx. 60% BW, just move your shoulder blades, depress then elevate, lower and raise,keep your arms extended body upright, this feels great and is shoulder mainstay once learned.

I just do the scapular pulldowns (hanging shrugs) on a chinning bar. Wide grip is good.