Aug 17, 2018
Armed & Ready, Part 6
Tory Stephens

In our offseason strength and conditioning program for Texas Tech University baseball, pitchers do about 85 percent of the exercises that position players do. After all, they are athletes and need to train athletically — but there are exceptions.

For example, I give our pitchers the option of using dumbbells in all upper-body exercises that a barbell is listed for, or they can use a varied/neutral grip for pushing and pulling movements. Dumbbells improve grip strength and brachialis strength, which can prevent the bicep tendonitis many pitchers get. However, when lifting heavy, the loading and unloading of dumbbells can be risky when dealing with the shoulders and hands, so we don’t usually go into max effort reps and sets with dumbbells.

In addition, I shy away from most “high-five” overhead positions with pitchers, such as overhand pull-ups, shoulder presses, barbell push presses, or barbell jerks, especially when throwing volume is high during practice. Instead, I program push-up or dumbbell variations.

That being said, each pitcher is different, depending on his athletic background and arm history. I give a lot of ownership to the player to determine the stresses he can handle in the weightroom. We eventually want every player doing every exercise prescribed, but until that happens, specific modifications are made for each player.

Part 1 of this article can be found here.

Part 2 of this article can be found here.

Part 3 of this article can be found here.

Part 4 of this article can be found here.

Part 5 of this article can be found here.

Tory Stephens, MSCC, is in his 22st year as a strength coach and seventh as Assistant Athletic Director/Director of Strength, Conditioning, and Nutrition at Texas Tech University, where he works with the baseball team.

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