Smart players at all levels are using an arm care routine to help them fight off injury. The fortunate side effect is arm care improves velocity too. If you look into some of the research, studies show that the addition of arm care can increase velocity by 2-4% (ref, ref).
It’s the reason why some people believe Tommy John Surgery provides magical performance-enhancing powers. Read more about this misconception here, but it’s not the new UCL that leads to throwing harder, rather the strengthening that occurs from the rehab following the surgery.
In this article, you will learn four reasons why Arm Care is the foundation for any velocity plan.
1. Builds your Brakes
Your body is smart and tries to protect you from injury. It does this by not allowing you to speed up what you can not slow down. The cornerstone of most arm care programs is strengthening the posterior shoulder muscles, which are the muscles on the back of the shoulder to apply the breaks to the arms. Without adequate strength, the body places a governor on the throwing motion so that it can be effectively stopped.
If you are struggling to take your velocity gains to the next level, evalutate if you are strengthening your deceleration muscles effectively.
2. Optimizes Mechanics
Feedback and correction drills in coaching may correct movement inconsistencies. Sometimes strength and mobility may stop a player from getting into certain positions to optimize the delivery. This is where arm care comes in as the problem is physical and not mechanical. Exercises to improve strength, stability and mobility of the arm decrease physical obstructions to movement and prepares the body for handling greater ranges of motion and to balance the arm’s acceleration muscles at front versus the deceleration muscles at the back of the arm. Balance, resilience and coordination will free your body up to throw your hardest (ref).
3. Maximize Energy Transfer
Pitching is a full-body action that begins at the ground and moves up. The energy created by the legs transfers through the core and trunk, and then the arm. Muscle contraction helps add to the force output—such as the internal rotators of the shoulder—but pitching performance is mostly via the elasticity of the body (ref).
The muscles act like rubber bands in a sense. By using the sequencing of the body to move as segments, it creates a whiplike effect, increasing speed as it transfers through the chain. However, poor stability in any one section slows down or decreases this energy transfer.
Many times players compensate for this loss of energy transfer at other segments in the chain. Most often, the shoulder or elbow is where players try to make up for the loss in torque. This overreaching is thought to add extra stress and increases the risk of injury (ref). That’s why an arm care program should include hip and core strengthening as well (ref). Not only does it allow for a more fluid transfer of energy for safe and efficient movement, but it optimizes the kinetic chain to deliver performance.
4. Health Drives Velocity
If your arm is painful, sore, tight, or fatigued, you will not reach your velocity potential and it will negatively impact your control. These are warning signs for injury and can alter your mechanics, both of which have psychological and physical consequences.
If your arm is not feeling right, please mention something to your coach and DO NOT THROW THROUGH PAIN.
An effective arm care program will help you address pain, soreness, fatigue and tightness to keep your arm fresh late into games.
Customize Your Arm Care to Unlock Performance Gains
Players at the highest level of play take their arm very seriously and perform arm care like brushing their teeth AND SO SHOULD YOU. To be a big leaguer, you have to train like one and stick to a routine.
To take your arm care routine to the next level, the Arm Care app allows you to specifically understand what ares of the shoulder need strengthening and balancing, allowing you to have a customized arm care program that not only protects you from injury, but increases your opportunity to safely throw at higher velocities. Click here to learn how Assessment Based Arm Care uses strength and range of motion tests to build a stronger, more durable arm.