Throwing a baseball consistently at high velocities produces a great deal of stress on the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the arm and shoulder. A baseball player with a strong, healthy arm will be more likely to find success than a player with a sore arm. There are exercises that every baseball player -- especially pitchers -- can use to strengthen their throwing arm. These exercises are sport-specific movements that are more than conventional strength training.
Full Can Raise
The full can raise is a modified lateral shoulder raise that recruits the rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff is a series of four muscles--supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis -- that help to stabilize the shoulder. These muscles are particularly important to baseball players to control the deceleration phase of each throw. For the full can raise, start standing straight with two light dumbbells -- 5 to 10 lbs. -- by your hips. Keep your palms facing forward and arms straight as you lift the dumbbells straight out to the sides. Imagine that the dumbbell is a full can of soda as you squeeze the shoulder blades together. Stop when your arms are parallel with the ground and slowly return the weight to the starting position. Perform three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Arm circles can be used as a warm-up exercise and will strengthen the muscles around the shoulder along with increasing stability, flexibility and stamina. Hold your arms straight out so they are parallel to the ground. Start with small forward circles and gradually increase the diameter of the circles. Perform approximately 15 to 20 circles and reverse the direction.
The body-weight row can be performed on a rope, squat rack or another piece of equipment that allows you to hang about three feet off the ground. The muscles involved in scapular retraction -- squeezing your shoulder blades together--help to stabilize the shoulder and improve posture. These muscles are important for a baseball player to prevent any shoulder imbalances that could potentially lead to injuries. Start the body-weight row on your back and grab the rope or bar with your arms extended. Pull yourself up while keeping your body straight until the rope or bar hits the top of your chest. The exercise will look like an inverted push-up.
Long toss is a direct sport-specific arm strengthening exercise for the baseball player. Every baseball player will play catch before practice and games. Long toss is a focused form of catch where you increase the distance and velocity of each throw that increases flexibility and endurance of the muscles in the shoulder and strengthens the throwing motion. Following a proper warm-up, gradually start increasing the distance between you and your partner. Focus on keeping each throw on a straight line and at a high velocity. Find the maximum distance that you can throw without a major arc in the throw. Follow proper mechanics during each throw.