How can I strengthen my throwing arm in 4 weeks?
April 13, 2008 7:21 PM   Subscribe

How do I strengthen my throwing arm for softball in 4 weeks?

I have a normal 40-something-year-old arm. I played recreational softball last year and am starting up again this year. I've decided that this year I'd like to be able to throw the ball all the way from 3rd base to 1st, and I'd like to be able to make a long throw without tearing something. How can I strengthen my shoulder for this?

What I have readily available is 10 and 15 lb dumbbells, plus of course pushups. How important is throwing practice?
posted by neuron to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In addition to strengthening your shoulder, you should think about doing some posterior chain/hip exercises. Throwing, with the exception of short tosses, is really a full-body motion. During the season when you're throwing a lot, you'll be doing a lot of internal rotation of the shoulder. Consider adding in some external rotation to balance it out. I find that doing it laying on your side is the most effective way to get a good range of motion.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:35 PM on April 13, 2008

Do you have someone to play catch with? Warm up by doing a lot of long-toss (100-150 feet). It should hurt like hell to throw the next day (the first couple times), but by the third or fourth time you should be fine. Just make sure to stop if it hurts while you're throwing.
posted by aswego at 7:45 PM on April 13, 2008

If you have someone to play catch with, I would just do long toss for a little while every day. Start off easy. Once you've played catch for a few days, you'll have better idea of your limits, and you can try putting a little pepper into a few throws towards the end of your sessions. The key is gradual buildup. If you overdo it, you could be done for the season ( because you are 40 ).

The moment it starts to hurt, stop. I'm nearing 40, and I recently went past the sensible point and gave myself tennis elbow: I couldn't even lift a coffee cup for 60 days.

I have two arm angles I can use from third base. I can whip it side-arm across my body, which is my zippiest throw, and I can kind of go over the top of my shoulder (like an outfielder does) if my sidearm throw starts to hurt. The sidearm throw has more to do with my elbow than my shoulder.

One thing to think about is that you may be playing too deep. The shortstop needs to be deep, but you need to be comparatively shallow if you hope to get anyone out.
posted by popechunk at 7:47 PM on April 13, 2008

How important is throwing practice?

Besides stretching and proper warm-ups, I'd argue that this is more important than any other exercise you could do in a reasonable time frame for this season. Concentrate on form, and do different throwing drills (short throws, long toss, take infield, etc).

Also, realize that in rec softball, throwing strength is rarely a significant determining factor in defensive success in the infield, simply because the average foot speed isn't going to be enormously better than the defense's skills (meaning, you're not Derek Jeter at short, but neither are they Ichiro Suzuki burning up the basepaths). Better to work on your field positioning, foot movement and basic strategy (i.e. the "what do I do if the ball comes to position X in situation Y" kind of thinking).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:51 PM on April 13, 2008

Most sporting goods stores carry weighted training balls. They are usually for pitchers, but you could certainly use them to increase your infield arm strength.
posted by netbros at 8:15 PM on April 13, 2008

Throw a football instead. The muscles and motion are more or less the same but the added weight of the football will quickly strengthen your arm.
posted by hangingbyathread at 9:54 PM on April 13, 2008

Jennie Finch has the answer!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:38 AM on April 14, 2008

Don't for get your rotator cuff! You can do several exercises with small dumbbells. A cursory google turns up loads of info, but basically looks like side raises and bent over flys. If nothing else, its a good way to prevent yourself from shoulder injuries.
posted by kableh at 6:21 AM on April 14, 2008

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