Weight Lifting to Build a Better Athlete


Question: My son is a pitcher and plays travel ball. What exercises should he do to continue building strength as he gets older?

Answer: For athletes it always begins with core training. Analyze the pitching motion which is pulling the knee upward, slightly rotating the hips backwards as you twist the torso, drawing the pitching arm back and as the arm extends over the shoulder the stored energy is released through the ball while the entire body drives forward.

Consider the movement chain and the sequence of muscles involved in the motion. Improving the power required for that requires activating core muscles. Double leg hip presses engage the glutes and the natural progression is to follow thiose with single leg hip presses. The glutes are the largest muscles in the body and their purpose is not sitting. It is power. Along with the hamstrings, they make up a vital part of the power chain in athletics.

Some conventional exercise methods that can be used include squats and deadlifts. High pulls also play an important part in core development.

The difference in what we emphasize is bar speed and form. Not just exercise form but properly activating the muscles that are targeted in the exercise. Simply moving more weight more slowly does not translate into improvement in sports performance. The idea is to add resistance through a natural range of movement while improving neural firing patterns and maintaining or improving speed of the movement.

Simply lifting heavier weights at a slower speed will not make a better athlete. Engaging muscles with added resistance while maintaining or increasing speed will make a better athlete and one that is less prone to injury. That is important especially with young athletes whose bodies are still developing.

God bless and keep training,