Swimming for pitchers

Just wondering if anyone has any literature relating swiming to increasing pitchers velocity or has any reccomendations for pool work to increase mph.

I don’t remember seeing any studies about this, because it would be highly unlikely that swimming would do anything for your fastball, unless you plan on throwing it underwater :slight_smile:

Seriously, in my opinion, pitchers (and baseball players in general) need to do more strength work, starting strength work, and speed strength work. Too many baseball players (even here at the college level) still shun weight training.
If you want to have a chance at increasing your ball speed, get out the video camera and have a qualified pitching coach break down your mechanics. Then, see what parts of your body are used to actually throw the ball in addition to your arm, and see hoe they work together.

By training your legs,hips, “core”, right up through your shoulders and arms, you will be able to get stronger, and hopefully more powerful.
Then you will have a faster fastball.
Of course, we caould talk about god-given talent and genetics, but that we be a different post :slight_smile:

I’m not trying to advertise anyones product, but a few friends and I have started training using Unbreakable Abs by Jon Doyle, and it is far and away the best baseball training book for all players regardless of position for core training. It ditches any mainstream training methods such as the high rep, slow movements for movements that are close to baseball specific as well as traditional lifts such as squats, deadlifts, and the variations.

As for any conversation on baseball training, it rarely happens here, but I would be glad to participate in it.


Not trying to be a wise-ass here, but are you saying that this author uses things like squatting and pulling, or that he ditches them?

What are some of the recommended protocols, and who is the author? (where/when he’s coached, education/learned from whom, etc.)

I’m always interested to know…

I think swimming would be great for any sport.
A lot of top NHL guys were competitive swimmers at a young age.

The only thing would be if you’re doing a lot of front crawl, your internal rotators would get too much work. So you’d have to add in quite a bit of external rotator work to balance the load on the shoulder girdle.

I had a look around to see what I could find on the Unbreakable Abs by Jon Doyle. From what I saw it looks pretty good. There is a pic of him doing an overhead squat in the bottom position so he does do squats. I see quite a few things that I saw in Pavel Tsatsouline’s vid Beyond Crunches/Bullet Proof Abs. I wouldn’t really call his work “baseball specific” but more “any sport specific” But I guess if you played NCAA baseball and you do a vid you need to market it to someone and not just a good abs vid.

I don’t think you’d go wrong with this guys stuff.

I remember a video I ordered from Paul Chek about ab training 10 years ago and he talks about pretty much the same stuff as this Doyle guy is. Rotational work is usually last on the list and trunk flexion gets way too much attention.

devils, the author, Jon Doyle, recommends/requires squatting and pulling techniques in all his programs. One of his basic theories is that baseball is a game where submaximal loads are placed on the body and must be moved at maximum speed while under control.
Example, a baseball bat isn’t the heaviest thing a hitter can swing, but he must move it as quicky as possible while under control so that proper hitting mechanics are not removed in return for higher bat speed. The same can be applied to pitchers, in that a ball is not the heaviest thing they can throw, but it must be thrown with maximum power under control so that proper throwing mechanics are not compromised and therefore the risk of shoulder injury is minimized.
Jon works under the Renegade Training website, run by John Davies, so I would assume that John has taught him a lot. Don’t worry about being a smart-ass, as long as you have a serious interest I’d be happy to answer your questions.

I’d agree that these assumptions about speed and weight of the bat/ball make sense…

It’s similar to an old article I read once,(by Yessis, I believe) which spoke about the tradition of using a weighted bat to warm up in the on deck circle.
He laughed at this practice, because most players use a bat that is entirely too heavy to gain any kind of benefit from doing this. He then went on to say that a player should use an array of weighted bats, including some lighter.
This all follows along with the old eastern european methods of training…

As a side note, I played baseball through college, and semi-pro after that. I too used a heavy weighted bat for warmup, so it’s not like I practiced what I preach :wink:

I would agree with some of your assertions, but only if you deal with may athletes who do not throw or hit all year long. The core by its nature is composed of predominantly slow twitch fiber, not fast twitch fiber. Its main function is to stabilize the spine and pelvis so that the arms and legs can move explosively. If an athlete hits and throws a lot than you will have to include those sessions as part of ballistic training, if you further burden the body with more explosive work (explosive medi ball / ballistic work) you may tap into the CNS too much. You must also be aware that most injuries to athletes’ occur in the transition from high speed to slow and vise versa. Hitters and pitchers are notorious for Low Back Pain LBP, and I believe it is related to fatigue/strength issues and not ballistic training.
You must also in your training provide regeneration for the CNS and core. General abdominal training is a must for baseball athletes, as it provides the base as to which other specialized qualities are built.

I think swimming can be a part of a pitchers training program, but does it improve a pitchers velocity? If your arm moves slower in the water than it does vs. wind resistance than the answer would be no. However, improvement in range of motion, ligamental-tendonal strength, shoulder flushing, and improvement of blood flow/capillary bed of shoulder could have some very beneficial results.
I would use it as a part of your GPP phase as another means to improve general endurance of the shoulder and legs. It would be a good alternative to CNS work - good regeneration.

Most players use the bat as a means of loosening up more than they use it to specifically prepare for the at bat. The extra weight is need to provide resistance, a light bat would not provide that resistance.

I think I mislead some people here. Not all the lifts are done at max speed, there is probably a 60/40 split of lifts that Doyle recommends done with a high/low speed respectively.

Devils, the method you speak of by training with lighter/heavier bats is covered in depth on beabetterhitter.com somewhere, I can’t remember/don’t know the link that I’m talking about though, but the site is very small and straight forward, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Not to hijack the thread, but I seem to be having either a hard time navigating this sites store or CFTS is no longer sold here. Is there a better book than CFTS or do I have to buy it somewhere else? Feel free to PM me if you don’t feel like clogging the thread as I just did.

I would pm Rupert,
That is an excellent question, there may not be enough room on the page any more, but I received my copy here, or maybe it was at CF’s conference.


If you can somehow utilize hyperplasia you might be onto something; otherwise, no.

Nap, found it, buying it.

You will not be disappointed. I try to incorporate many of the concepts with gpp, spp and baseball practices.

By the way, I was checking out the NSCA conference line up for San Antonio in January, and one presentation is “Improving Throwing Velocity for Pitchers”!

If I go to that talk, I’ll try and report back if anyone is interested…

Devils, as someone who is unable to attend for a variety of reasons that seem to never end, I would be very pleased if you took notes or summarized the presentation, or even something along those lines. I’m not a pitcher, but I’m pretty sure that mechanics aside, gaining velocity is no different from the mound than in the outfield.

Out of curiousity, how many people here play(ed) baseball, in high school, college, semi-pro, etc?

I played college, pro, and coached in the US for 5 years. I now am back in Canada running an athletic training facility and baseball academy.