Best Exercises to Increase Arm Strength for Baseball
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Different sportsrequire players to have strength and flexibility in different muscle groups. Hockey players, for example, need very strong and developed legs.
Evendifferent positions demand very different body shapes; in football, the players who rarely run need a bulky, heavier body type than those who do.
In baseball, the arms – and more specifically the triceps – are one of the most important muscles as they are responsible for throwing a winning ball.
Baseball players wanting to take their game to the next level should consider improving their arm strength. Baseball players use their arms more than any other body part.
Yes, of course, legs are important too, but every position in baseball requires you to throw the ball. Throwing requires a great amount of arm strength for distance and speed and batting also requires you to have a significant amount of arm strength too.
In short, arm strength plays a vital role in your success as a baseball player.
And in order to increase your arm strength for baseball, you need to know a little bit about how the muscles in the arm work, and you need to exercise as smart as possible.
Here we’ll explain how to increase your arm strength and subsequently improve your baseball game.
A Quick Overview Of The Arm Muscles
There are two main parts of a human arm: the forearm and the upper arm. The forearm is the part of the arm that extends from the elbow to the hand. The upper arm extends from the elbow to the shoulder. Baseball requires both upper and lower arm strength.
There are actually a lot of muscles in the arm. The upper arm has five muscles while the forearm has twenty, which is split into the anterior (flexor) and posterior (extensor) compartments. While it is not essential that you memorize every single muscle in the arm, this information can be useful for understanding how to improve your arm strength.
Your biggest takeaway of this section should be that your arm is more than just your bicep. In fact, for baseball, the bicep is not always as helpful.Forearm, wrist, and shoulder strength tends to be much more important than huge biceps. Correct batting requires strength and flexibility in your forearms and wrists. You need strong shoulders to put up with the wear and tear of pitching. Strong forearms and wrists also make pitching easier and more accurate.
How often should you work on arm strength exercises?
Before we begin discussing the exercises that you can use to increase your arm strength for baseball, it is important to talk about the frequency you should work out. If you work on your arms too much, it can actually work against you and decrease your arm strength.
Any time you ‘strength train’, you create tiny tears in your muscles. However, shortly these tears heal and create stronger tissues than were there before. This is how we gain muscle mass. An essential component in the strength training process is rest. You must rest to allow your muscle fibers to heal. If you train your arms too frequently, the fibers never heal, which can lead to injuries.
Arm strength training frequency will depend on a number of factors. Your age, as well as your fitness level,are the most important factors. If you are new to arm training or are a young player, then start slow. Consistency is far more important than frequency. University of Texas head coach Augie Garrdio claims that a regular exercise routine is essential for his team’s success.
Begin by performing arm strength exercises two to three days per week. If you and your coaching staff feel it is needed,after a few weeks you can increase the number of days you train your arms. Some players swear by short, daily exercises. In this case, keep the exercises to five to ten minutes and change them up regularly. Make sure that you are working on all of your arm muscles.
Your arm strength exercises may change during the baseball season. Similarly, if you feel pain or have problems recovering from a workout, slow down. It may also be important to consult a doctor in these instances as well.
Top Exercises To Increase Arm Strength
Now that you know more about the arm muscles, their importance for baseball players, and how to train, it is time to look at the ten top exercises to increase arm strength for baseball.
Curls are one of the most well-known arm exercises. They add strength to the bicep. You can perform them with either a set of dumbbells or a bar. Dumbbells are the most common and typically recommended for curls. To correctly do a dumbbell curl, follow these steps.
- Hold the dumbbells in each hand with your arms next to your sides
- Keep your elbows close to your sides and locked in place throughout the movement
- Keep your palms facing forward
- Bring the dumbbells up towards your chest, stopping when your elbow is at approximately a 45-degree angle
- Lower the dumbbells slowly back to your side and repeat
This exercise is one to repeat. You should do three to five sets of five to ten reps for strength building. Choose weights that challenge you, but that will not cause you to lose form.
With curls, the downward motion builds the most strength. You can bring the weights up to your chest quickly. But, always let the weights back down in a controlled manner. If you cannot do this, then you need to use a lower weight.
2. Lateral raises
Lateral raises, especially those performed at a 45-degree angle from your body, are ideal for baseball players. They strengthen your entire shoulder region. They are also quite easy to learn and get the hang of, which makes them great for beginners.
- Hold dumbbells with your hands facing your body. Your arms should be at a 45-degree angle from your body, not straight out or directly in front
- Lift your arms to just about shoulder height
- Hold for five seconds
- Lower in a controlled manner
As with the dumbbell curls, you will want to perform three to five sets of fiveto ten repetitions for strength gains.
3. Tricep pushdown
Tricep pushdowns can be done on a machine in the gym or at home with dumbbells. They work out your triceps which are located at the back of your arms. Triceps are not often injured in baseball. However, they are also essential for balancing out your upper arm. The stronger your triceps, the better your play and more resilient your body is.
No matter how you perform this exercise (with dumbbells, a small bar, or a machine), you will want your form to stay the same:
- Start with your arms in front of you at a 90-degree angle
- Your palms should face the floor while holding on to the weights
- As you breathe out, slowly bring the weights down to your thighs
- Hold for a count of five
- Bring the weights back up slowly
Control is the name of the game when it comes to the tricep pushdown. Your set and rep goals will be the same as in the first two exercises.
4. Tricep bench press
Bench presses are not just for your chest. While it is a good idea to work out the chest muscle as well, baseball players should also try the tricep bench press. As we mentioned above, triceps are a very important throwing muscle. They also ensure that your entire arm stays healthy.
To complete a tricep bench press you will need a bar, as you would for a regular bench press. Then follow these steps:
- Use either a rack or a spotter, preferably both. Bench presses of any kind are some of the most dangerous exercises around
- Hold on to the bar with a close grip. It should be about shoulder width
- Bring the bar down as you would a regular bench press
- Pause and then push the bar back to the starting position
One thing to keep in mind with the tricep bench press is that your triceps are probably much weaker than your chest muscles. Do not attempt your normal chest bench press weight. Use less weight at first and then raise it gradually as your triceps strengthen.
Pushups are one of the best exercises you can do to increase your arm strength. They also work your core, which makes them a wonderful exercise for baseball players. There are many different pushup variations. All of them involve starting in a plank position, bending your elbows about 90-degrees, and then returning to the starting position.
If you cannot do a full pushup, you can start on your knees. Doing pushups at an angle can also help you work up the strength to do the full version.
Pull-ups, like pushups, work many of the muscles in your arms. Theycan take a while to complete correctly. However, many manufacturers now make pull up bands that can help you work on your arm strength until you are able to do a pull up on your own.
You will need a pull-up bar that is positioned at the correct height.
- Start by holding on to the bar with your arms straight
- Pull yourself up by bringing your elbows to the floor
- You have not completed the pull up until your chin passes over the bar
- Slowly release until your arms are straight again
7. Medicine ball throws
The final exercise for arm strength that we want to highlight is the medicine ball throw. A medicine ball is a small, weighted ball. It will be harder to throw the medicine ball than a normal baseball, which is what increases your arm strength.
The correct medicine ball throw form is as follows:
- Stand holding the medicine ball with your side (right or left, it doesn’t matter which one) facing the wall
- Turn towards the wall quickly
- As you turn to release the ball towards the wall.
The turning motion in the medicine ball throw works your core muscles and flexibility. This exercise, especially, can increase your hitting effectiveness.
Best Ways To Practice Pitching And Throwing
We’ve split out the following three exercises because they both increase arm strength and improve throwing accuracy and velocity. In essence, these three baseball-specific exercises have morebenefits than just increasing arm strength. Use them often to increase your pitching and throwing ability.
1. Wrist throws
Wrist throws strengthen your wrists. Strong and flexible wrists are essential for any thrower or pitcher. The idea with this exercise is to throw the baseball using only your wrist. To do this drill
- Bend your forearm 90-degrees towards your shoulder.
- Hold the baseball.
- Use your other hand to hold the elbow of your pitching arm.
- Use only your wrist to throw the baseball forward.
This exercise is not hard, but you will be amazed at how quickly it adds strength to your wrist.
2. Long throws
Any baseball player, no matter your position, should work on long throws. To work up to very long distances, you will need to start with shorter distances. Begin by throwing the farthest you are able. Then gradually increase the distance, working your way up to ninety-feet or more.
Being able to throw distances of varying ranges is essential in baseball. While this exercise does not necessarily increase your arm strength, it will increase your range and durability.
3. Fast throws
The final baseball-specific exercise that can increase your arm strength is to practice fast throwing. You will likely not be able to do this exercise alone. Find a partner and then stand ten feet away from them. You and your partner should begin tossing the ball back and forth as fast as possible. Essentially, you want to pretend that you are a pitching machine set on high.
This exercise increases your arm strength quickly as well as your endurance.
Other Muscle Areas To Work On
Baseball is not just about the arm, wrist, and shoulder strength. A strong lower body and core muscles are essential as well. Any runner knows the importance of a strong lower body. Even pitchers need strong calves and thighs to generate enough power during pitches. Heavy weight training for your legs is ideal as it increases both strength and endurance.
A strong core allows you to twist properly while batting. These muscles are also essential for balance, which makes catching tough pitches much easier. Finally, the core muscles help you brace your entire trunk, including your spine. When they are strong you are much less prone to injury. Your ability to powerfully bat and throw increases as well.
Arm strength plays a major role in a baseball player’s development. How hard you throw a pitch may be somewhat genetically determined but increasing your arm strength will allow you to be the best you can be. You want to do yourself and your team proud. So, work on your arm strength, endurance, and flexibility consistently using the exercises described in this article. You will love the results and the raised level of your game.