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Off-season Conditioning, Part 1: Your Training Toolbox
September 14, 2011

When Summer Ball ends and Fall approaches, you must stop throwing because year-round baseball is the #1 risk factor for arm injury.

September should be a month of COMPLETE REST FROM ALL THINGS BASEBALL.

In place of throwing, play another sport in September and start "Active Rest" conditioning in October. Here's what you need:

Tool #1: Weighted Jump Rope

Hands down, THE BEST way to improves agility, posture, balance, and eye-hand coordination.

While regular jump rope can achieve this, it's the weighted jump rope that can increase your shoulder strength in as little as 3 minutes per day.

A 2011 study found that doing 3 1-minute sets of weighted jump rope for 8 weeks can increase rotator cuff external rotation strength by 55%! (click here for that newsletter):

Weighted 20Jump 20Rope 20Table

Why is this so important? Because this 2010 study found external rotation weakness to be a major risk factor for injury! (click here for that newsletter).

Tool #2: Small Towel

Just as hitters hit off a tee to perfect their swing, pitchers and throwers must do the same with a towel to perfect their throwing motion.

I have put together a 25-repetition towel drill program that you can find here.

Tool #3: A 3-lb Medicine Ball

A 2007 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed how 8 weeks of 3-lb medicine ball training

"can be a beneficial supplement to a baseball athlete's off-season conditioning by improving functional performance and strengthening the rotator cuff musculature."

Want to know the 3-lb med ball exercises? Click here to see Part 2: The Exercises.

Tool #4: 10-lb Medicine Ball

A 2008 study showed how several tests identified better baseball players

Kohmura Y. Development of a baseball-specific battery of tests and a testing protocol for college baseball players.
J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jul;22(4):1051-8

and one of these exercises involved a 10-lb medicine ball.

Want to know the exercise? Click here to see Part 2: The Exercises.

Tool #5: A Basketball

A basketball can be very good at strengthening the muscles around the shoulder blade to give greater shoulder stability, especially at a very important phase of the throw called "The Late Cocking Phase":

Clemens 20big 20chestBig 20Chest 203

Want to know the exercise? Click here to see Part 2: The Off-season Exercises.

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Dr. Arnold!