Muscles to Work Out to Throw Baseballs Harder (with Video)

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Although baseball is a team sport, the blame for losses is often heaped disproportionately upon the pitcher above other baseball players. While this is hardly fair, it is a reality, so pitchers need to take every advantage they can to help their teams win. One way to gain an edge is by working hard in the weight room during the offseason. Performing exercises to increase body strength and hitting certain muscles can help you throw a fastball harder via better internal rotation and frustrate hitters who can't keep up with the speed of your pitches. These exercises can also be done by those playing in the outfield or those playing softball.

Good exercises for shoulder muscles

The deltoids are the muscles of your shoulder, which play a crucial role in the external rotation of your arm. Strengthening these muscles will help you put more force in your wind-up, allowing you to throw the ball harder. Among the most effective shoulder-strengthening exercises are the standing military press, seated dumbbell press and upright rows. The military press and dumbbell press require you to hold a dumbbell in each hand and begin with your arms bent at 90-degree angles. To perform the exercise, extend your arms upward to lift the weights as high as you can, reverse the motion and repeat.

For the upright row, stand holding a barbell in front of you with both hands, planting your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift the barbell up to the level of your shoulders by bending your arms at the elbows; do not lift the bar above your shoulders during the range of motion or you may increase your risk of injury. Always warm up adequately by performing arm circles to avoid injuring your rotator cuff while performing shoulder exercises.

Good exercises for triceps

Bodybuilder doing cable triceps pushdowns during his workout in the gym

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Your triceps are located on the back of your upper arm and aid in the process of extending your arm at the elbow. This action helps you release the ball with force and push it in the desired direction. To strengthen your triceps efficiently and your arm strength at large, perform strength training exercises such as triceps pushdowns with a rope or pulley and close-grip bench presses.

When performing triceps pushdowns, stand in front of the weight stack so that you are facing it. Grip the rope or pulley with your arms bent at the elbow. Pull it down in front of you until your arms are straight. For the close-grip bench press, lie on your back on a weight bench under a racked barbell. Grip the barbell with both hands, with your hands about 6 inches apart. Lift the barbell from the rack, bring it down to your chest and push it upward to fully extend your arms. Do this for as many reps as you can.

A good bodyweight strength exercise to increase arm strength is push-ups. This is a great exercise for increasing pitching velocity in your throwing arm as it builds both your triceps and your shoulder blades among other muscles. Get into a plank starting position and lower yourself to the ground. Then push yourself back up into plank position.

Top exercises for the Latissimus Dorsi

Your latissimus dorsi, often referred to as your lats, are located on either side of your spine. These large muscles help produce force for throwing and help transfer energy from your legs to your upper body. Among the best exercises for strengthening your lats are pullups, seated cable rows, and bent-over barbell rows. For seated cable rows, sit on a row machine and pull on a handle attached to a cable-pulley system that lifts a weight stack when you pull the handle back toward your abdomen. To perform bent-over barbell rows, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend at the waist so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle with the ground. Begin by holing barbell in front of you with your arms fully extended. Pull the barbell up toward your chest as far as you can, then reverse the motion and repeat.

Top exercises for the Abdominals

Sporty man doing sit-ups exercise during home workout

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While many people exercise their abdominal muscles in hopes of attaining a six-pack, this muscle group is highly functional as well. A strong core facilitates the transfer of power from your lower body to your upper body, enabling your throws to benefit from the strength of your legs. Among the best exercises for your abs are hanging leg raises and Swiss ball crunch. For hanging leg raises, mount a Roman chair so that your arms are on the side pads and your legs are hanging straight down. Keep your legs straight as you swing them up to the level of your waist. Swiss ball crunches are performed as normal crunches are, except you are lying atop a Swiss ball rather than on the ground.

Top exercises for the Quadriceps

The quadriceps or quads are the major muscle group located on the front of your thigh and are key to the leg strength needed to achieve maximum throwing velocity. This large group of muscle tissue helps you power the ball toward your intended target as you step into your throw. Among the most effective exercises for the quadriceps are the barbell step-up, barbell lunge and barbell squats, which also work your abdominal muscles. The three exercises in this training program require you to hold a barbell across the back of your shoulders, behind your neck.

For barbell step-ups, step up onto a raised platform with one foot, then use that leverage to lift the rest of your body onto the platform. For barbell lunges, step forward with one leg until that thigh is parallel to the ground, then step back to the original position and repeat with the opposite leg. For barbell squats, begin with your knees slightly bent but your back straight and your head up. Slowly squat down as far as you can, then forcefully drive the weight up by pushing into the ground with your legs and standing up straight. When performing barbell step-ups, ensure that the platform onto which you are stepping is sturdy and balanced. Always have a spotter on hand when you squat to reduce the risk of injuries.