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Strength and Conditioning

Below is an example workout program and a throwing program that all players are able to use as reference when going through the offseason. If you have any questions about it please contact one of our BBA Front Office Staff members and we will be glad to help explain any exercises, as well as, help in any way we can.

Baseball Workout Plan

Day 1: Lower

  1. Broomstick Jump Squats                   (4 x 5)

Step off broad jumps                          (4 x 3)*

  1. Sumo Deadlifts                                   (4 x 4)
  2. Box Squats                                         (2 x 8, 2 x 6)
  3. Bulgarian Split Squats (3 – 0 – 1 – 0)   (3 x 6 each leg)**

Single Leg KB RDL                            (3 x 8 each leg)

  1. Nordic Hamstring Curl                        (2 x bodyweight)

Barbell or DB Step Ups                      (2 x 8e)***

Finisher: 4 x 10 yard starts; 3 x 40s; 2 x 60s

*Please be more athletic and explosive than the guy in the demo video.

**3 second negative, explode off the bottom, no rest at the top.

***Same tempo as the Bulgarian Split Squats

Day 2: Upper

  1. Single Arm Flat Dumbbell Bench       (3 x 6 each side)

Negative Pull Ups                               (3 x bodyweight)^

  1. Single Arm Shoulder Press                (3 x 4 each side)^^
  2. Barbell Rows                                      (4 x 6)^^^

Isometric Medball Push Ups              (4 x bodyweight)

  1. Angels of Death                                  (3 x 8)

Face Pulls       (3 – 0 – 1 – 0)                (3 x 12)

  1. 2 x 300 yard sprints                            (aim for both rounds under 1:10)

^3 count negative; and then explode up at the bottom of the rep. Pause at the top (chin over the bar) for a second and then back down.

^^Can be push press if sufficient weight available.

^^^Could also be supplemented by single arm dumbbell rows using dumbbell or weighted bag of some kind

Day 3: Lower 

  1. Mullti directional lunge 4×6 each side https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAafVEnFINw
  2. Consecutive broad Jumps 6×3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zMSqY5sbEg
  3. Duck feet RDL 4X25 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOv2TFt3A6U
  4. Calf raise 3×8

 D1)  Reverse crunch 3×8 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lkafd6GkaPo

  1. Groin iso hold 2×1-2 minutes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWoAkTgSneQ

Day 4: Upper

  1. Scap upward rotation 3×5 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rftFxHSgRmA

A2)  Side lying windmill  3×8/sdie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX21NOL61OE

  1. B)  Bird dog row 4×6 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccgAJsgB_P4
  2. C) Banded push ups 3×15 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOFwFzzLFWw

C2) Half kneeling banded pallof hold 3x30sec each side

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA0iX5KucJA

  1. D) Banded pull apart hold 2×1 min – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcFgGLaY0a8

D1) Yoga push ups – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvghDKEkT6w

 

Day 5: Timed Mile

 

Baseball Off-Season Throwing Program

 

Here’s some helpful links for elbow and shoulder exercises that should be performed before each of your throwing sessions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEDude8JcnM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbm0B73uKPA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It14DoUgjzA

Off-Season Throwing Program Overview

This throwing program may be used for both pitchers and position players.  You may find this program works well for you just as it is, or you may need to tweak it here and there. The premise is the same — work on building your base by starting gradually and progressing one step at a time.  Increase from 4 to 5 days a week of throwing if it feels appropriate. You don’t have to feel obligated to throw on the exact days suggested below, but this format is geared toward trying to optimize your recovery time and maximize your development.

Remember, on any given day, especially as you get into week 5 or 6, if you your arm feels like it wants to go beyond 240 feet, follow that instinct. Utilize that 5-10 minute window to allow your arm to continue to open up beyond 240 feet. You may be surprised how far out your arm will take you because of the base you’ve developed from the first month. For pitchers, you will also notice that by week 4, we recommend throwing change-ups at the end of your throwing session. Change ups are relatively easy on the arm, and throwing this pitch after the arm’s been stretched out so well is very effective.  The change up also happens to be a crucial pitch to command for any pitcher.  Remember to keep up the same arm speed on change-ups as you do for your fastball. 

 

Establishing The Right Time

Our philosophy is pretty simple — it’s of minimal importance as to “when” a pitcher or position player is expected to throw (whether it be his first bull-pen in the fall/winter or the first round of intense infield/outfield).  What matters most is what you do in this 4-6 week window leading up to the first weeks of practice in the spring or fall seasons, and understanding how to maintain or strengthen this base throughout the remainder of the Fall, Winter and Spring.  Without the proper base in place by rushing your pitchers back to the mound is like worrying about putting a roof on a house that doesn’t have a structure in place yet.

The desired rest period of the pitcher, along with the 4-6 week window of conditioning,  is the single most important factor in determining the pitchers health, strength, endurance and recovery period for the entire year (season) — or until that point in which he feels he needs another significant break (rest), and begin a new conditioning cycle. What we’ve found with the guys who have gone through our training program, and have been allowed to maintain their long toss (maintenance) program throughout the year, is that they have less of a need to have a significant rest or conditioning period throughout the year. But I would strongly recommend that every pitcher consider having a rest/conditioning period twice a year, even if it’s only for 2-3 weeks.

Building Your Base By Listening To Your Arm

The primary goal of our throwing program is to build an extremely strong base or foundation, progressively. Taking into consideration that the player is coming off of an extended rest of 2-3 weeks, like anything else you would “build” in life, start off slowly and surely — walk before you jog and jog before you run. By not being in a hurry to “get in shape”, the muscles have a chance to stretch out more progressively, develop more efficiently, and recover more quickly. That’s why the first two weeks of our throwing program place such a huge emphasis on Surgical Tubing and the Stretching Out phase of Long Toss.

Chief among all of our principles of our throwing program is the principle of “listening to your arm”. In essence, listening to your arm means to let it guide you — to follow it. As opposed to having a throwing program with a predetermined limit on how many throws you are to make, or for how many minutes you are to throw for, our philosophy is based on learning how to trust your arm by listening to it — allowing it to dictate the pace, amount, and distance of throws for that day. I love the metaphor of allowing your arm to take you for a walk. Since your arm is your lifeline as a baseball player, there could be nothing more important than being in tune with it. This is what happens when you learn how to listen to your arm and let it dictate the pace.

Only your arm knows from day to day what it needs, and by eliminating predetermined restrictions on your arm, your arm will probably surprise you as to how many throws it wants to make each day, and how many times a week it wants to throw.

Because endurance increases through this process as the muscles “get in shape”, recovery period improves because swelling tends to be minimized. This is conditioning at its best because we are allowing the higher intelligence of the arm to guide us, and you will almost assuredly find that the more you allow your arm to throw (smartly and progressively), the more your arm wants to throw. Or, as we like to say, “The more you use it (correctly) the more it produces.”

The arm will tell you what to do from day to day, and even throw to throw.  On days that you don’t feel great, try throwing through this feeling unless it is obviously a sign of pain.  The reason I mention this is pitchers may often shut down early because of “false” signs.  If the feeling doesn’t get better after a couple of minutes, or the pain is obvious, then shut it down.  Ironically, the more throwing you do, the more you understand the difference between unhealthy feelings and a “good” soreness that you can throw through.

The Throwing Program

Our off-season throwing program is based predominately on 4-6 weeks of Arm Care exercises (Surgical Tubing) and Long Toss.  Again, it is crucial for pitchers not to rush back onto the mound during this period. As you will see below, I have broken down our Throwing Program into 3 phases. Each phase lasts approximately 10-14 days.  Naturally, if a pitcher is truly listening to his arm, these increments may fluctuate.

Phase 1:
  Stretching Out (10-14 Days)

 

Before each day of throwing, we have our guys go through a very thorough arm circle (forwards and backwards) and surgical tubing program. Just as you are getting your arm in shape progressively, similarly, you also need to build a base with your arm circles/surgical tubing exercises. Focus on stretching, flexibility, range of motion, freedom, breathing and proper technique when doing these exercises. Symbolically, your first 10-14 days of throwing should also follow this same mentality: stretching, loose arm action, range of motion, freedom, and so on. In this 10-14 day period, the goal is to build endurance and distance through the Stretching Out phase of Long Toss (Long Toss is broken down into 2 parts: Stretching Out as you move away from your throwing partner, and Pulling Down or Strengthening as you move back in toward your throwing partner).

Stretching out means just that — maintain loose, relaxed arm action, put some arc on the ball and gradually move away from your throwing partner. Simply move away from your throwing partner each time you begin to sense that you are going to throw the ball over your partners head. Go out, each day, as far as the arm wants to take you that day — and stay at your furthest distance that day as long as your arm feels like it. There is no need to come back into your partner with any aggressiveness for the first two weeks of throwing — this will come in Phase 2, the Pull Down or Strengthening Phase. The goal of Phase 1 is to focus exclusively on “stretching”, hence the Stretching Out phase.

Depending on the amount of time off you took at the end of your last “in-season”, and how strong your arm is, you may throw as little as 5 minutes at 60 feet or 10 minutes at 90 feet on Day 1. Again, always listen to your arm. Regardless of how far out you get on Day 1 or how much time you may throw for, if you go out virtually every day for the 10-14 day period, and you are religious with your arm circles/surgical tubing exercises, your arm should begin to feel better with each passing day. Though Day 1 may only be 5 minutes of throwing out to 60 feet and Day 2 may be only 7 minutes of throwing out to 90 feet, by Day 8 or 9, you may be out to 250 feet or more for 20 minutes of throwing (again based on the arm strength of that pitcher). By Day 12, 13, 14, that same pitcher may be out as far as 300 feet or more for 30 minutes.

It’s hard to put a number of throws on it, or a time or distance measurement, but from my experience, based on a pitcher that throws in the 82-90 range, he will probably start pushing 240-300 feet by the end of the second week. The beauty of going out each day without the demands of bull-pens, etc., is that a pitcher can enter into a new threshold simply because he is allowing his arm to open up most effectively. This is where many pitchers, who have never truly built their arm the correct way in the off-season, may have a pleasant surprise waiting for them. For these pitchers, and even pitchers who have been on a good throwing program, they often find themselves pushing beyond distances they thought they had in them. These further distances are critical to gaining flexibility, range of motion, extension, which in my experiences have led to looser/quicker arm action, explosiveness, freedom, increased velocity and endurance.

For example, in the case of a pitcher who throws 90 mph but has never thrown beyond 120 feet or used surgical tubing, I could see where his 120 foot throw could turn into 300, 330, maybe even 350 feet over time. I’ve found that pitchers who can get out to 300 feet throw in the 88mph range, those who can get out to 330 feet may push the low 90’s and those who can get out to 350 feet are typically in the 93-98 mph range.

The beauty of allowing the arm to stretch out without any aggressive throwing in Weeks 1 and 2 is that it best positions the arm for Week 3 and 4, which is the “pull down” or Strengthening Phase of the throwing program. This is where we bring a stretched out, well conditioned arm from Weeks 1 and 2 into the more aggressive and explosive throwing dynamic of the arm into weeks 3 and 4.

Phase 2: Stretching Out & Pulling Down (10-14 Days)

Once the base has been built through the stretching out phase, the arm is in a great position to work from and strengthen this base through the Pull Down Phase of long toss. Because the first two weeks have created such a strong foundation, Weeks 3 and 4 deepen this base because each pitcher will actually go through the conditioning phase of Arm Circles, Surgical Tubing and the Stretching Out phase of Long Toss before the pull-down or aggressive throws that are made coming back in toward your throwing partner.

Now that the arm is ready to take this stretched out feeling “downhill” with some aggressive throwing, the mentality shifts from one of uphill to downhill. Though we still want our pitchers thinking “stretch”, “loose” and “freedom” on their pull-downs, we want them to do it in an aggressive manner. We want them to come back toward their throwing partner 10 feet per throw or so, with the same dynamics they made with their furthest distance throw that day (e.g. 300 feet). We just want them to start getting downhill without decelerating their arm. We also want them to understand what it means to maintain a loose and relaxed arm action (loose and relaxed mind) as they make their way back to their throwing partner. In essence, they are not necessarily trying to “throw harder” — they are simply maintaining the effort of a 300 foot throw into shorter and shorter distances without decelerating their arm.

For the first few days of Week 3, there may only be 10-15 pull downs after the player has peaked out to his furthest distance on that given day. Depending on how well he did the first two weeks, it’s possible that he may want to make closer to 20-25 throws on his way back to 60 feet. Regardless, Week 3 and 4 are very personal. Each player may respond differently. Some may throw a lot on the first day of their pull downs, and then only want to go out to 250 feet the next day and not pull down at all. Others may actually throw further distances the next day because the Pull Down phase actually opened their arm up even more, and they will have an even more aggressive pull down the next day.

This is where listening to your arm is imperative. Once the base is built from Week 1 and 2, your primary goal is to still condition in Weeks 3 and 4. If the arm is not ready to pull down in Weeks 3 and 4, continue to build distance and endurance. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to not even think about the Pull Down phase until you are comfortably throwing what feels like your max distance, and you are able to stay there comfortably for 5-10 throws.

Things to look for in Weeks 3 and 4 are pacing and recovery period. For example, the more you throw, the more you arm will probably want to throw. This doesn’t mean to push it beyond its means on any given day (Rule #1: ALWAYS listen to your arm). But if you feel like only stretching your arm out one day, or just throwing 150 feet, or not throwing at all on a given day, than do so.

Again, from my experience, the more you throw after building the base right, the more the arm seems to want to throw. For some players, that may mean stretching out and pulling down nearly every day for Weeks 3, 4, 5 and 6. For others, it may mean stretching out and pulling down only 3 days a week. For others, it may mean stretching out 6 days a week, and pulling down 2 days a week. Again, your arm will dictate its own needs to you. Your job is to put it in a position where it can best maximize its potential — and I can tell you from a lot of experience that this usually happens when you are doing more throwing, rather than less.

Phase 3:  Deepening The Base: Building Strength and Endurance (10-14 days)

Once your foundation is built, the remainder of the year becomes one of maintaining this foundation, and even strengthening this foundation. What you do after this six week period may differ from coach to coach, but if you’ve “built” your arm correctly, and are in tune with it through this off-season throwing program, than you will probably want to maintain some form of distance throwing throughout the year. A simple rule of thumb is to get in at least 2 good days of long toss during the season, and these days tend to be most optimal on your bull pen/game day (if you are a starting pitcher). The reason for this is that the arm tends to respond better on the mound after a good long toss session — it’s been trained for it. Velocity seems to come more quickly — endurance seems to last longer — swelling is minimized. Also, long tossing on bull-pen/game days is effective because the rest of the days of the week can be used for rest, recovery and rebuilding. Regardless, if you are in tune with your arm, it will tell you from day to day what it wants to do that day…what it needs to do that day.

The following distances are based on a college freshman with average arm strength. Therefore, depending on your arm strength and the history of your arm, you may find that these distances are too restricting, or not challenging enough for you.

Week 1(Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
40-60 ft — 15 throws
75 ft — 10 throws
90 ft + (optional 5 additional minutes of throwing and/or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
75 ft — 10 throws
60 ft — 10 throws (and any additional throws if needed)

Week 2(Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
40-60 ft — 15 throws
75 ft — 10 throws
90 ft — 5 throws
105 ft — 5 throws
120 ft — 5 throws
120 ft + (optional 5 additional minutes of throwing at same distance or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
105 ft — 3 throws
90 ft — 3 throws
75 ft — 3 throws
60 ft — 5 throws (and any additional throws if needed)

Week 3(Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
40-60 ft — 15 throws
75 ft — 10 throws
90 ft — 5 throws
105 ft — 5 throws
120 ft — 5 throws
135 ft — 2 throws
150 ft — 2 throws
150 ft + (optional 5 additional minutes of throwing at same distance or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
140 ft — 1 throws
130 ft — 1 throws
120 ft — 1 throw
110 ft — 1 throw
100 ft — 1 throw
90 ft — 1 throw
80 ft — 1 throw
70 ft — 1 throw
60 ft — 5 throws (or any additional throws if needed)
*** Flat Ground Work Begins on Tuesday/Friday (10-15 Change Up’s)

Week 4(Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
40-60 ft — 15 throws
75 ft — 10 throws
90 ft — 5 throws
105 ft — 5 throws
120 ft — 3 throws
135 ft — 3 throws
150 ft — 3 throws
165 ft — 3 throws
180 ft — 3 throws
195 ft — 3 throws
195 ft + (optional — 5-10 minutes of additional throwing at same distance or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
180 ft — 1 throws
170 ft — 1 throws
160 ft — 1 throw
150 ft — 1 throw
140 ft — 1 throw
130 ft — 1 throw
120 ft — 1 throw
110 ft — 1 throw
100 ft — 1 throw
90 ft — 1 throw
80 ft — 1 throw
70 ft — 1 throw
60 ft — 5 throws (or more if needed)
*** Flat Ground Work Begins on Tuesday/Friday (10-15 Change Up’s)

Week 5(Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
40-60 ft — 15 throws
75 ft — 10 throws
90 ft — 5 throws
105 ft — 3 throws
120 ft — 3 throws
135 ft — 3 throws
150 ft — 3 throws
165 ft — 3 throws
180 ft — 3 throws
195 ft — 3 throws
210 ft — 3 throws
225 ft — 3 throws
225 ft + — (optional — 5-10 minutes of additional throwing at same distance or increase distance if the arm “asks” for it)
210 ft — 1 throw
200 ft — 1 throw
190 ft — 1 throw
180 ft — 1 throw
170 ft — 1 throw

160 ft — 1 throw
150 ft — 1 throw
140 ft — 1 throw
130 ft — 1 throw
120 ft — 1 throw
110 ft — 1 throw
100 ft — 1 throw
90 ft — 1 throw
80 ft — 1 throw
70 ft — 1 throw
60 ft — 5 throws (or more if needed)
*** Flat Ground Work Tuesday/Friday — (15 Change-Ups, 10 Light Breaking Balls)

Week 6 — (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)
40-60 ft — 15 throws
75 ft — 10 throws
90 ft — 5 throws
105 ft — 3 throws
120 ft — 3 throws
135 ft — 3 throws
150 ft — 3 throws
165 ft — 3 throws
180 ft — 3 throws
195 ft — 3 throws
210 ft — 3 throws
225 ft — 3 throws
240 ft — 3 throws
240 + (optional — 5-10 minutes of additional throwing at same distance or increase distance if it feels ok)
230 ft — 1 throws
220 ft — 1 throws
210 ft — 1 throw
200 ft — 1 throw
190 ft — 1 throw
180 ft — 1 throw
170 ft — 1 throw
160 ft — 1 throw
150 ft — 1 throw
140 ft — 1 throw
130 ft — 1 throw
120 ft — 1 throw
110 ft — 1 throw
100 ft — 1 throw
90 ft — 1 throw
80 ft — 1 throw
70 ft — 1 throw
60 ft — 5 throws (or more if needed)   *** Flat Ground Work Tuesday/Friday — (15 Change-Ups, 10 Light Breaking Balls)

Summary:

In a sense, our programs structure is to be structure-less. This doesn’t mean reckless abandon. Quite the contrary. It means to abandon those contrived restraints that prevents the arm from being built the most effective way — by allowing the players’ arm to dictate the amount of throwing rather than following someone else’s pre-determined format. Only the arm knows from day to day, what it wants and what it needs. And that’s we want our players to ultimately learn to do….know their arm.

As you will see, this program is based on 3 days of throwing for week 1, and then evolves into 4 days of throwing for the next 5 weeks. We actually encourage that players throw for 4-5 days in week 1, considering that week 1 stipulates the lightest workload. If a player feels a need to throw for more than 4 days a week in any given week, simply do it. Again, the arm will tend to want to increase it’s workload from week to week as it progressively gets into shape. This is the essence of getting your arm into a positive “cycle”. It’s as if the better shape your arm gets into, the more it wants to throw — the more it “needs” to throw.

Finally, remember that the bottom line is to listen to your arm. How many throws you make at each increment is dependent on how your arm feels. How far you go out, or how fast you come in, may vary from day to day. Your job is to put your arm in a position to throw as often as possible, with awareness and sensitivity to your arm, in order to progressively build a strong base. This mentality is what optimizes your ability to insure health, strength, endurance and improved recovery period.