The majority of strength training will be similar, no matter the sport. Every athlete should train to squat, hinge, lunge, push, and pull if they are capable of doing such actions. These mechanisms of action are only about 80% of the training equation. The other 20% of the training equation is what makes each sport unique.
Every athlete will encounter specific demands of their sport- a football player’s ability to absorb force or a basketball player needing quick plyometric ability to jump repetitively for a possible rebound are examples of these specific demands. The specific demands placed on a baseball athlete are even more unique because of the physical adaptations which occur and the high risk that comes while throwing a baseball.
Listed here are a few things which are specific to throwing a baseball:
- When the arm gets into the full layback position to throw, about 60 pounds of force needs to be produced in order for the arm to rotate forward. This type of force is equivalent to five 12-pound bowling balls attached to your arm.
- If the arm is able to produce this magnificent force, the peak arm speed of elite throwers in the Major League ranges between 7000 and 8500 RPM’s. The peak RPM would be lower for players aged 13-21. A thrower’s arm would spin roughly 24 times in one second. For a good representation of this type of speed and power, the average car engine starts to red line at 6000 RPM.
- A recent study shows that with a decrease in the stride leg’s hip internal rotation, the risk of shoulder or elbow injury becomes significantly higher. This means that your hips could cause you to have elbow pain with the wrong mechanics, or lack appropriate hip range of motion.
So, what does this all mean?
Throwing a baseball is bad…. we were not physically created to have our arms move in this type of motion with such speed. Of course, not all injuries can be prevented but we do, however, know how to train our bodies in order to decrease the risk of injury. In order to increase injury prevention, the 20% of an athlete’s training which is specific to baseball should be focused on closely and carefully to make a more stress resistant athlete who is able to tolerate the demands of their sport.
I will be giving a more in depth talk about baseball strength training and why it is unique at the NAC Sports Training Center. If you would like to know more I would love to see you there.