Most fastpitch players need to improve their softball throwing speed and accuracy.
When they focus on arm strengthening exercises, there are usually untapped miles per hour that we can unlock. In this article, you’ll learn a few great exercises to improve softball throwing velocity in a hurry, while also decreasing injury risk and conditioning the arm.
Softball Arm Exercise #1: The External Rotation
The external rotation is the one exercise I’d choose if I could only give a player one exercise improve softball throwing velocity. It targets the main deceleration muscle of the rotator cuff – the teres minor – which helps prevent arm pain and increases velocity by allowing the arm to slow down easier, which, in a sense, allows the body to accelerate harder.
Just like a drag racer on a short track, the driver can only go as fast as he or she has room to slow down.
The external rotation can be done with latex bands or light dumbbells (most softball players should start with a 1-2lb dumbbell). A small rolled-up towel should be placed between the ribs and the arm, as research studies have proven that this increases the muscle activity of the teres minor, which makes it even more effective.
If you’d like to grab one of the bands I use in the video above, click here. I’ll receive a small commission if you decide to purchase them, but we use them with all of our teams and athletes every single day, so don’t let that way you. (just wanted to let you know!).
Add this to your softball workouts for 3-4 sets of 15 repetitions.
Softball Arm Exercise #2: Blackburns
The blackburn series is loved and hated by athletes everywhere. The 6-minute series of 10-second holds produces an intense burning sensation in the rotator cuff and upper-back. But despite being uncomfortable, it provides maybe the best 6-minute shoulder-care workout possible – it targets all the right muscles and provides excellent endurance and conditioning.
This is a fantastic choice for coaches who want top-notch arm care that they can implement with an entire team at one time. We regularly do these with 10-15 athletes at once.
Softball Arm Exercise #3: Scap Push Up
The scap push up (short for scapula, the term for one’s shoulder blade) helps prevent the scapula from “winging” off the body, which happens when the serratus anterior muscle (a member of the rotator cuff group) is weak and has poor endurance.
When the shoulder blade “wings,” it changed the biomechanics of the throw in a negative way, and makes the shoulder more unstable. Unstable shoulders = painful and weak shoulders. And painful, weak shoulders do NOT throw softballs at high velocities. To throw her hardest, a softball player needs strong shoulders and rotator cuff muscles that have excellent endurance.
The scap push up is not glamorous, but it is HARD and very, very important. Add it to your regiment for 3 sets of 15 reps in every workout.
Arm Strength Exercises: Keys For Softball Players
- Use less weight/resistance than you think you’d need.
- Go SLOWER than you think you should.
- Seek out a local strength coach for supervision
- Don’t do any exercise that causes pain!
- If you have pain, get checked out by a doctor – it will only get worse!
Want Drills and Exercises to Improve Softball Throwing Velocity?
If you want to throw harder, I have an ebook that will really help. Click here to download my free eBook.
I also offer an extensive online course that will teach you everything I know about throwing harder with better accuracy. It’s called She’s Got a Cannon and it’s the only course of it’s kind on the web.
Have a great softball season! – Dan
Softball Throwing Velocity FAQ
Check out answers to common questions below!
What are some of the best arm strength exercises for softball?
Whole-body strength training is very important, and should be included in any arm strengthening regimen. Specifically, though:
1. External Rotations – these strengthen the teres minor, which is the prime mover of arm deceleration in the throw.
2. Subscapularis – this is the prime internal rotator and exercises like Internal Rotations help strengthen it.
3. Scap Push ups – these are great for strengthening the serratus anterior, an important muscle the controls shoulder blade movement.