Softball pitchers need unique workouts to strengthen their arms and improve performance. However, simply concentrating on the throwing arm and shoulder won’t translate into increased pitch velocity. Softball pitchers must have a strong base to generate power, meaning their workout routine should include exercises to strengthen the legs and core.
The core muscles, including the abdominals and obliques, provide softball pitchers with rotational force and stabilize the trunk, making it easier to transfer power from the lower body to the pitching arm. In a simple exercise to improve core strength, form a body bridge using only the elbows and toes for support. Hold your back straight throughout, with the abdominals contracted. Hold the position as long as possible, working up to two sets of 60 seconds each.
This core exercise involves a large workout ball. Put your elbows on the workout ball and extend the legs straight back, forming a bridge. The ball’s instability forces your core muscles to contract to stabilize the body. Then bend one leg at a time, bringing the knees up to touch the ball. The movement strengthens the lower abs, helping generate more power in the pitching windup. Perform two sets of 12 repetitions on each leg.
This exercise builds upper body strength and power in the pitching arm. Kneel down on your pitching-side knee. Place the other foot flat on the ground in front of you with the knee bent at 90 degrees. While keeping your back straight, fire fastball pitches to the catcher using your normal pitching motion. Eliminating the legs strengthens the arm. At least 30 throws make for a good workout.
Swiss Ball Sit-ups
Sit with your back, from your shoulder blades to buttocks, against a large exercise ball. The knees should be be at 90 degrees and the thighs parallel to the ground. Hold your arms straight out to the front. Pull in the bottom of your rib cage, and slowly curl your trunk, lifting your shoulder blades and upper back from the ball. Slowly lower back into the starting position to complete the movement. Perform two sets with 15 repetitions each to maximize core strength.
Softball pitchers need to keep their throwing wrist strong yet loose in order to have excellent snap at the end of pitches. To work the wrist, stand 15 feet away from the catcher, and snap pitches using only the wrist, keeping your pitching arm straight down at your side. Try to do 50 wrist snap throws each session.