Want to increase pitching velocity, accuracy and overall dominance on the mound?
A strong core is critical for generating the power necessary to become an explosive and controlled pitcher. Whether you are throwing a fastball, curveball, slider, or any other pitch, you will be able to enjoy optimal control, balance and dominance on the mound. You will also reap the benefits of maintaining proper pitching mechanics finish the game stronger than you started.
WHAT IS THE CORE ANYWAY?
An easy explanation as to what the “Core” consists of is ANYTHING ATTACHED TO THE SPINE! So basically, your core includes your torso, shoulders, hips and abdominals. There are many movements required when throwing with proper pitching mechanics that involve these muscles both directly and indirectly. For example, when you throw the baseball you not only rotate (rotation) but you transfer your body’s force from the lower body through the upper body (weight transfer).
WHY IS CORE STRENGTH SO CRITICAL TO A PITCHER’S SUCCESS?
The easy answer is: Your core is the hub that connects your entire body’s kinetic chain. So, in order to transfer energy from the ground to your arm, that energy needs to transfer through your core.
Here is a list of your core muscles, locations and functions. This list will help you realize how important a role your core plays for athletic success.
Rectus Abdominis Abdomen Flexes the trunk
Transverse abdominis Abdomen Supports the abdominal wall
Internal Obliques rotate the trunk
External Obliques rotate the trunk
Multifidus Muscles Back Extend and rotate the spine
Spinal Erectors Back Laterally flex and extend the spine
Quadratus lumborum Low Back Laterally flexes the trunk
Gluteals, hamstrings, hip rotators Hips Extend and laterally rotate the hips
Throwing the baseball is a feet to fingertip exercise. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Therefore, If your weakest link is your core, you will have a difficult time generating optimal pitching velocity because of poor energy transfer from the hips through the torso to the throwing arm. You will also be more prone to injury as energy transfer will be inefficient and place undue strain on joints, ligaments and tendons. Pitchers increase their risk of developing lower back, shoulder and elbow injuries that can limit a promising future when they have a weak lower back, abdominals, or hip muscles.
In the past, many athletes ignored the core and did not take it as seriously as they could have. Much of this stemmed from the lack of knowledge available regarding the important role the core plays in an athlete’s stability and power.
It is highly recommended that as you follow a core program you focus on mastering the core movements first to activate and engage the core musculature. This will provide a strong foundation to build upon for effective and efficient movement in later on in your workout. Before you begin your pitching workout, it is crucial that you first take the time to warm up and prepare your core for the workload that pitching will require. You will create an effective and efficient delivery, prevent injury and optimize the time you are spending to improve your game.