Summary: If you’re after gains in your pitching velocity then start by dialing in your arm care routine. This article will reveal how an arm care program can strengthen weak links, improve throwing mechanics, and maximize energy transfer to yield baseball velocity gains.
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 wants to protect you from injury. It does this by limiting the ability to speed up what you can not slow down. The cornerstone for most arm care programs is strengthening the posterior shoulder muscles, which are the muscles on the back of the shoulder that apply the breaks to the arm. Without adequate strength, the body places a governor on the throwing motion so that it can be effectively stopped.
2. Optimizes Mechanics
Feedback and correction drills in coaching may correct mechanics and movement inconsistencies. However, the mechanical problems won’t be fixed with coaching if the problem is a physical limitation. If a player lacks strength or mobility it will stop them from getting into certain positions to optimize their delivery.
Exercises to improve strength, stability, and mobility of the arm decrease physical obstructions to movement. It prepares the body to handle greater ranges of motion and balances the arm’s acceleration and deceleration muscles. 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 areas of the shoulder need strength or mobility. A customized arm care program not only protects you from injury but it 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 and more durable arm.