How to Build Up an Outfielder's Arm Strength

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Arm strength is critical for pitchers, but it is also an important part of outfield defense. Strong arms in the outfield help keep baserunners from advancing and can generate extra outs if a runner chooses to try to advance an extra base. To increase arm strength, an outfielder must strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and other muscles involved in throwing. A good training program will combine exercises aimed at increasing muscle strength with long-toss sessions.

  • Warm up the shoulder with arm circle exercises. For this, both arms should be completely straight and rotated in 360-degree circles. Arm circle exercises work best when the arms are moved in both forward and backward circles. This will help warm up the rotator cuff muscles, allowing the subsequent exercises to have the maximum effect.

  • Perform three sets of 10 45-degree raises. This exercise involves holding a dumbbell in each hand, starting with the arms fully extended at your sides and with your thumbs pointing up. Keeping both arms straight, raise the arms straight forward in front of you until they are at a 45-degree angle from your body. Slowly lower the arms down over the course of three-seconds.

  • Perform three sets of 10 shoulder abduction raises. This exercise also begins with the arms straight at your sides and with a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your arms straight, raise both to the side until your arms are at shoulder height. Lower your arms over the course of three seconds.

  • Performs three sets of 10 inward 45-degree raises. This exercise has the same motion as the 45-degree raise from Step 2, but the arm should be rotated inward so that both thumbs are pointing down, not up.

  • Perform three sets of 10 repetitions of the outward rotation exercise. Start by laying on your left side and put your left hand under your right armpit for support. Grab a dumbbell and hold your right arm at a 90-degree angle from your body. Rotate your arm so that you lift the dumbbell up into the air and then slowly lower it over a three-second time period. Do the same set of exercises for the other side.

  • Regularly engage in sessions of long toss. Long toss is very similar to playing catch, but with both players far apart. Because every outfielder has a different level of arm strength, there is no one distance that is ideal for long toss. Instead, you should place your partner as far away as you can throw accurately while keeping the ball on a low trajectory. Long-toss sessions will help you gradually build up the muscles that you use to throw a ball in from the outfield.

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