The Decelerators – Strengthening the FORGOTTEN Part of the Pitcher’s Shoulder

This is a guest post by Jedd Johnson, CSCS, RKC.

Did you know that NOW is the time for you to start bullet-proofing your shoulder for the season to come?

Yes, even if you are wrestling, playing basketball, diving, swimming or doing some other sport during the winter, it’s time to get serious.

You need to start putting in time to strengthening the back of your shoulder so that when the season rolls around you are at your best.

Now you may be wondering why I would be writing a post about strengthening the back of your shoulder. After all, isn’t pitching power generated in the lower body and core?

Sure it is, but the back of the shoulder is very important to invest time in.

Here’s why…

During the pitch, the gross musculature that is used to accelerate the arm far out-number the efforts to decelerate it.

Think about it…

The striding leg is moving toward home plate aggressively to create momentum.

All of the big muscles in the push-off leg are trying to accelerate and push this momentum upwards.

The abdominals and obliques and the rest of the core transfer this power from the trunk up through the torso.

All of this energy culminates in the arm being thrusted forward, launching the ball to the plate as if it were propelled at the end of a bull whip.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much left in the body to decelerate the arm at this point and the responsibility lies with the muscles in the back of the shoulder and upper back.

This heavily unbalanced ratio can cause a great deal of wear and tear on the shoulder.

While at the beginning of the season your shoulder feels like a million bucks, as the season progresses, the cumulative effects from the muscles in your shoulder absorbing all of this force can zap you of your pop.

Who wants “Dead Arm” to set in at the end of the season when it’s especially important to be on top of your game?

Nobody, and that’s why you need to start working to prevent that now.

Here are some movements you can start doing right away.


This movement combines the fun of the Glute Hame Raise and the joy of the Band Pull Apart.

Perform Glute Hame Raise and Hold it at the top with the glutes and hamstrings under tension. There you will perform Band Pull Aparts while remaining in the isometric position. This movement zaps everything from your hamstrings to your shoulders and works like a charm to strengthen the decelerating musculature.


The standard Superman exercise is used to promote endurance in the lower back and posterior chain, but we can modify it to target the muscles of the upper shoulder as well.

Instead of performing the standard Superman exercise on the floor, we will lie face down on a bench and wrap the feet underneath it. Once hooked hard, we will fire out glutes and erectors so that our upper body comes off the bench.

In this elevated position, we will then perform pressing and fly movements over a variety of planes, hitting the decelerators hard.

**In the images above, I am holding shots (steel spheres), but light dumbbells can be used just as well. I like the shots for baseball players because they are an odd object and they increase the demand on the grip component, strengthening the hands, fingers, and thumb.


For this exercise, you will work in the exact opposite movement pattern of the pitching mechanics, starting in the fully extended follow through position and working backwards to the upright position with stride foot forward.

Position the band or tubing in front of you and low to the ground. Take your stride position and grip the band out in front like you’ve thrown the ball. Now, move backwards from the follow through position to the leg-lift position, making sure to feel the contraction in the musculature in the back of the shoulder and upper back area.


Take a kneeling position and place a weight of some sort outside your front foot. This weight does not have to be very heavy.

Reach outside your front foot and grasp the weight. Now, slowly raise the weight to a position straight over your head in a very slow manner. Think of snatching a dumbbell or kettlbell over your head, but do so in a way that you can feel all of the upper back and shoulder muscles firing to get the work done.

**For increased Grip Training Emphasis, I am using a 20-lb sledge hammer head for the resistance, but a simple weight plate or dumbbell can be used.


Balance: For proper strength balance between both sides of the body, make sure to perform these drills with both the throwing hand and the off-hand.

Sets: Each drill can be done for 3 working sets. As far as repetitions are concerned, the range of 8 to 15 is probably the best, or until form breaks down. You should never work through pain or through poor form.

Placement: These drills are designed to be finishers, so perform these last in your workout.

Volume: You do not have to perform all of these drills as they work many of the same muscles and there is no sense in obliterating them. Instead, choose two to wrap up your workout. You can complete 3 sets of one movement followed by 3 sets with another movement, or you can perform circuits of two movements and perform 3 runs through.

Questions: If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at my website:

Baseball Info: For more Baseball training articles, check out Advanced Baseball

Training Videos: And to see many more strength training videos, subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

All the best in your training.


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