Baseball Toolbox

Resources for Baseball Coaches

Warm up to throw, don’t throw to warm up

By Brian Neal

Coach Neal is the head of Mississippi State University Olympic Sports Strength and Conditioning. He is Certified with the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), the USAW (United States Weightlifting), and CSCCA (Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association), he coordinates strength and conditioning at Mississippi State for baseball.

We must prepare our bodies for the most explosive motion in sport. Running a pole and static stretching for a few minutes does not meet the needs or the demands of throwing a baseball.

I’m sure you’ve heard me say “Warm up to throw, don’t throw to warm up.” This applies to all throwing athletes but more importantly to pitchers. I still see it nearly every day. A guy walks out to the left field line, does a few arm circles and some stretches, picks up a ball and starts tossing.

There’s no general warm up, no mobility or activation, and zero specific exercises to prepare him (or her) for throwing.

Every pitchers warm up can be a little different based on who they are, their velocities, their throwing style, even their nervous system. Here are a few exercises we like to utilize and is in every one of our warm ups.

These 6 exercises are in about 95% of our warm ups. We will add more exercises based on their specific needs as we see fit, and as we progress into the season and into their careers. Generally, our warm ups last about 10-15 minutes (shorter end for inherently loose guys, longer end for tighter guys) but the main theme is to prepare to throw.

Try some of these exercises before the next time you or your athletes pick up a ball.  These are just a few of the exercises we use to warm up. Take a look and see how they work for you.  

Also If you’re looking for that physical and mental edge in the weight room this offseason, check out our Elite Baseball Offseason Performance Program.  

Hip Mobility Series

Warm Up and loosen the thoracic spine

Activate the glutes

Inhibit the lat

Activate the rotator cuff, low and mid trap

Activate central nervous system