A lot of pitchers prioritize rotator cuff strength to help prevent injury and improve performance on the mound. Probably the most common program for this goal is ASMI’s Thrower’s Ten. Thrower’s Ten involves a lot of basic resistance band work and light dumbbell work in order to strengthen the muscles that make up the rotator cuff – supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. I have no problem with these types of programs, but so-called “band work” isn’t all that effective when you think about what happens in the typical pitching delivery. I talked a lot about this in my article “Is Resistance Band Work Overrated?” In that article, I said:
But is resistance band work overrated? That’s a really scary question to ask, and many people (perhaps including you) will have the same kneejerk response: Heck no! I want to make it clear that I believe that resistance band work makes up a lot of what we do at Driveline Baseball – especially with regards to scapular stabilization and mobilization work
Later in the article, I talked about maximum strength training being important for baseball pitchers to help decelerate the arm safely. However, since many athletes are either starting their seasons or are right in the middle of them, it’s tough to train for maximum strength in your in-season training program. Some great postural and mobility exercises that can help develop your pitching decelerators while your in the middle of your season or even in the off-season are:
- Rear Delt Flys
- Chest-Supported Rows
- Suitcase Deadlifts
Pulling and rowing variants are king here, since you’re very focused on developing upper back musculature and endurance. If you have a TRX setup, you can do lateral sagittal pulls and unilateral work to develop the trunk musculature that controls trunk lean – barbell work like suitcase deadlifts are great for this as well.
Here’s a few videos of the Rear Delt Fly and the Suitcase Deadlift – two lifts that aren’t very popular but do the job quite well!
Try throwing these in your training program and I’ll bet you see pretty good improvement in stability and you might find yourself going deeper into games as a result.