My pitchers want to throw harder. I want to keep them healthy. This exercise (we call it "around the world") will accomplish both, hitting muscles involved with both acceleration & deceleration.
This exercise is most beneficial immediately following a game, bullpen, or long-toss session. The idea being that our body is already broken down from our workload - let's break it down a little more (without 'adding to the pitch count') to build greater arm strength & endurance for our next outing.
We start by putting our chest up against the wall, put a little flex in our knees, and pinch our shoulder blades to exaggerate our posture - this makes the exercise more shoulder-specific (it's easy to "cheat" and utilize other muscles we're not intending to work).
Start with the weighted ball (a regular ball is sufficient for younger guys) at 12 o'clock. A little flex to the elbow is okay, but the straighter the arm, the more difficult the exercise, and the greater the benefit. We tap as fast as we can, starting at 12 o'clock and slowly bring our arm down to 9 o'clock (3 o'clock for righties). This exercise is done for time, and 30 seconds is a realistic starting point for most ballplayers. We typically fluctuate between 3-5 reps based on the speed of the rep. Our guys finish out the exercise by spelling their names (each letter on top of the previous). The thought being that we see the greatest gains from the final 20% of the exercise. Dig deep for those final few seconds, but never sacrifice form!
Ryan Speier is a professional pitching instructor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He played professionally for 12 seasons, was a member of the 2007 National League Champion, Colorado Rockies, and has coached at the NCAA Division-I level. Ryan is a dad, husband, and follower of Jesus Christ. Find him on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/SpeierBaseball/