Fans and players at every level of baseball are in love with the fastball. Radar guns are almost as prevalent at little league baseball parks as they are at division 1 fields and major league stadiums. The quest for additional miles per hour starts in the gym. One of our elements of a pitcher’s workout includes Keiser rotations (measuring peak power). We believe this improves throwing velocity by enhancing arm, shoulder, and hip rotational velocities. While we think this is intuitive, there is little empirical evidence that supports this assertion.
This study presents a first look into the empirical relationship between Keiser rotations and fastball velocity. Specifically, we examine the following research question:
Do pitchers that record higher Keiser rotation scores also have higher fastball velocities?
Fifteen subjects were recruited to participate in the study. All subjects are high-school aged baseball players who pitch. Each pitcher is actively working to improve their fastball velocity.
The players were first asked to participate in a 10-throw max effort pulldown throwing session after completing: 1 – a dynamic warm-up, 2 – Jaegerband series, 3 – two sets of 10 pivot-pickoff throws and reverse throws with a 2kg Plyocare ball, and 4 – as many warm-up throws as needed with a 5oz baseball until the player considered themselves ready to throw at maximum intent. The velocity of each throw was recorded for all players.
Each pitcher was then asked to complete a Keiser rotational exercise. Each participant completed as many repetitions as needed at 50 PSI until the peak power score reported by the Keiser machine stopped increasing. We recorded this maximum power output for both left- and right-hand rotations. While we generally don’t train the Keiser rotation exercise for high-school aged athletes at 50 PSI, we wanted our results to be repeatable with college and professional athletes.
We examined the data using regression with the average peak Keiser scores as the independent variable and throwing velocity as the dependent variable. All conclusions of significance are based on a 95% confidence level.
The results of our study are presented on the table below.
|Sample||15 Subjects/10 Throws each|
Keiser rotation is a significant predictor of throwing velocity. It accounts for about 35% of the variance we observed in pitching velocity. About 1/3 of the differences we see in pitching velocity are attributable to Keiser rotational score. These results are statistically significant at 95% confidence with a P-value of 0.02.
While peak Keiser scores and throwing velocity both may be related to the underlying athleticism (strength, power, body weight, coordination) of the individual understanding how the Keiser exercise and throwing velocity are related will prove important to increase velocity. While there are characteristics of individual athletes that determine their throwing velocity, 1/3 of the variance in velocity can be attributed to the same characteristics that the Keiser rotation exercise also measures. Therefore, improving peak rotational power through exercises such the Keiser rotation (among a host of others) will also improve throwing velocity. Our study suggests that this may lead to improvement of up to 50% more velocity increase over routines that do not feature rotational components.
Future longitudinal research is necessary to establish a more concrete link between the two. If planned carefully, this research could isolate the effect of the Keiser activities and other more general strength training activities to determine how large the effect of each on throwing velocity.
2. WHAT FIELD TEST HAS MORE CARRY OVER TO THROWING VELOCITY, KEISER ROTATIONAL PEAK POWER OR MAXIMUM VERTICAL JUMP?
3. PLYO BALL VS. TOWEL DRILL
4. KBOX ECCENTRIC POWER VS CMJ/APPROACH VERTICAL JUMP