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Exercises to Increase Softball Throwing Distance

written by: Summer Banks • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 7/12/2010

Softball is one of America's favorite sports. The sport involves running, hitting, catching, and throwing. For young or new athletes, finding exercises to increase softball throwing distance can improve performance and results.

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    Softball is a past time and sport for both men and women. For athletes who wish to exercise to increase softball throwing distance, exercises should increase arm, core, and lower body strength. As is the case with many throwing sports, like shot put, discus, and softball, throwing speed and distance is often attributed to a transfer of power from the lower body and midsection to the shoulders and arms. Using exercises to increase throwing distance can be accomplished with deadlifts, weight lifting, and flexibility exercises.

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    Deadlifts for Increased Lower Body Strength

    During a deadlift, the bar should rest on the floor just above the ankle. Straps should not be used to increase grip. If the bar is too heavy and grip too loose, try deadlifting a lighter weight and working up to heavier weights.

    Feet should be shoulder width apart with the bar resting about four inches from the shins. Squat down, bending at the knees and stick your chest out while grasping the bar. Grasp the bar with hands about 20 inches apart and look forward. Keep chest out, eyes forward, and pull the bar up toward the waist while standing up. Arms should stay straight for the entire lift. Drop the bat and repeat. Deadlifts increase back, leg, grip, and forearm strength and all work to improve softball throw distance.

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    Weightlifting for Spot Training and Increased Strength

    When using weightlifting as one of your exercises to improve softball throwing distance, it is important to focus on lean muscle mass versus bulk muscle mass. Lean muscle is built by working with lighter weights and higher repetitions. Circuit training is a typical form of lighter weight training, perfect for building lean muscle.

    Spot training can be used several times a week to improve strength in areas of the body crucial to throwing a softball harder and longer. According to Bodybuilding.com, “Shoulder and back strength, as well as the rotator cuff muscle group are important in throwing." A careful muscle balance requires working every muscle group, but spot training can focus on shoulders, back, and rotator cuff.

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    Flexibility to Balance Weight Training Outcome

    Flexibility is important to all sports. In football, athletes commonly use ballet to increase coordination, flexibility, and balance. Flexibility exercises should start before the softball season and continue throughout the season. A softball throw can improve significantly with an increase in flexibility.

    Increasing muscle mass, whether lean or bulk, can decrease flexibility, which helps these exercises to increase throwing distance even more important while training. When muscles are torn, they heal with “scar tissue" or new muscle. This is the source of muscle growth. New muscle can be stiff and lack flexibility, so while the softball athlete may be strong enough to throw farther, the lack of flexibility may limit distance.

    It may seem a simple matter of strength to increase softball throw distance, but athleticism in any sport involves working out all muscle groups and increasing flexibility. The body works as a fine tuned machine and can move strength from one area to another at the speed of light.

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    Works Cited

    StrongLifts – Proper Deadlift Technique http://stronglifts.com/how-to-deadlift-with-proper-technique/

    What is Specific to Softball? By Bodybulding.com http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/softball.htm

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