Joe Breen, Director of Baseball Operations, RBI Baseball Academy
This is a phrase used by Alan Jaeger of Jaeger Sports who has received a lot of publicity in the last few years for his philosophy on arm strength/arm care/arm conditioning. Jaeger was also featured in a Sports Illustrated piece about the new philosophy of Nolan Ryan and his Texas Rangers pitchers. I came across Alan’s work about 5 years ago as I was doing some research on some elastic tubing exercises for pitchers. The information I found through his site, youtube videos, etc was fantastic. As with any new interesting material I find, I read it, read it again, beat it to death, then form my own opinion based on the research and personal experience. Let’s just say there wasn’t a whole lot I disagreed with if any at all. Some of Jaeger’s instructions were things I had already practiced myself and with my pitchers, but the phrase “warm up to throw, don’t throw to warm up” really stuck with me.
So many times you hear coaches say “OK guys, go get your arms loose” and the first thing the kids do is find a throwing partner, grab a baseball and start throwing to each other. While this may be the least time consuming way of preparing your arm for a little league/high school practice, it is far from the most effective. After ordering a set of Jaeger’s “J-Bands” and performing the routine myself, I began using it with my pitching clients simply because the results were phenomenal. Without concrete data to back up that statement, I can tell you that I had more life on my fastball in games, I felt stronger in the later innings, and my recovery period was a lot shorter. The funny part about it was I was doing MORE work before games than I was before but rather than getting fatigued, I got stronger!
Here is a sample way to “warm up to throw”:
1. Full body warm up includes jogging, movement prep, and dynamic stretching. Things such as high knees, butt kicks, carioca, knee hugs, walking lunges, etc will warm up your body’s core temperature far more than your typical static stretches (“touch your toes”, “arm across chest”).
2. Arm Circle Circuit includes forward circles (10-20), backward circles (10-20), scissors/x-body (10), up/down (10), 90 degree rotations (elbows in line with shoulders) (10-20), and “windshield wipers” which starts in the same position as 90 degree rotations but you bring your elbows together in front of your face (10-20).
3. Elastic Tubing Exercises Click the link for a full list and instructions on Alan Jaeger’s “J-Band” Routine.
4. Begin throwing program (I will definitely be blogging a lot on throwing drills, long toss, etc in the near future)
By preparing your ENTIRE body to throw a baseball, you will undoubtedly maximize the results of your workout/bullpen session/game preparation.