Top 4 Exercises to Generate Front Leg Power in Throwers

Written By: Nick Esposito
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Guest Contributor - Nick Esposito of Esposito Strength Club

Nick is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Nick is currently a Strength Coach at Champion Physical Therapy and Performance with Mike Reinold and some of the brightest Strength Coaches and Physical Therapists within the Boston region & nationally. At Champion, we work with all types of clients. This includes adults, multi-sport athletes ranging from youth, high school, NCAA, MiLB, MLB, and NFL.

Learn more about Nick and Esposito Strength Club at https://espositostrengthclub.com

In this Blog Post, I am going to focus on the lead leg when throwing. While arm path and direction are definitely something to not ignore, the lead leg plays a very important role when throwing a baseball, especially pitching.

Why is the Front Leg So Important?

Think of the front leg as a means of transferring momentum as energy gets built up. This allows for a optimal transfer of energy into the upper body through the throwing process.

The top pitchers in baseball often show similar traits and mechanics. While they each have a unique way to their delivery, most tend to hit similar checkpoints, and one of these checkpoints is a great front leg brace.

Without the front leg bracing and assisting in that energy transfer, where could all the force go?

Shoulder?

Elbow?

Your back?

All that will depend on the athlete, and their individual body makeup and throwing biomechanics.

HOW CAN YOU WORK ON THAT LEAD FRONT LEG?

The following exercises are some of my “Go To’s” I have used with MLB, MiLB, NCAA, all the way down to youth levels!

1. OVERHEAD MED BALL TOSS

This is a great drill to work on your front leg and knee extending. Watch the videos below to see what not to do, and how to optimally perform the med ball drill with the help of a ramp or wedge. We normally perform 2-4 sets of 3-5 reps on each side.

2. STEP UP JUMPS

This is a great drill to work on your front leg power and force. Start on a box around 12-18 inches based on your height. For reference, the athlete in the video is 6’3″ using a 18″ box.

Drive off your front leg to explode as high as you can. Allow your trail leg to perform a knee drive.

This will help to optimize your timing and production.

I personally like to use the gFlight to measure the athlete's jump height. Here’s what we found out about this RHP…1. His left leg was measuring about 11-13″ each jump. 2. His right leg was measuring 7-9″ per jump.

So that lets us know there is an imbalance of power and force.

Getting his right leg caught up will only help his plant lead leg when throwing.

We normally perform 2-4 sets of 3-5 reps on each side.

3. FRONT FOOT ELEVATED LUNGE

This is a great drill to work on your front leg power and force.

Standing on an elevated plate or riser allows the athlete to get near parallel or slightly below parallel in the lunge pattern.

The more weight, the more force you must produce to perform the exercise. I typically program 3-5 sets of 4-8 reps on each leg.

4. DUMBBELL STEP UPS

This is a great drill to work on your front leg power and force. This is a very similar leg extension seen in throwers.

We are now adding a weighted component, which will increase strength and power, and should help with force development.

The more weight, the more force you must produce to perform the exercise. I typically program 3-5 sets of 4-8 reps on each leg.

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