Verlander's tremendous focus on his lower body helps him with his pitching velocity. You can see how much extension and power comes from his legs.
Justin Verlander is no stranger to hard work. In fact, he’s a beast. Verlander completed a sweep of the 2011 Cy Young Award and MVP, a rare feat for a pitcher in the modern era. The 6’5, 225 lb. starting ace pitcher for the MLB’s Detroit Tigers can consistently throw over 100 MPH, a true token of his freakish strength and athleticism. So how does Verlander do it? His workout and training routine gives Verlander an edge in his dominance. Baseball is a game made of short and explosive movements, especially as a pitcher. Verlander does supersets in his workout regimen to not only fatigue the muscles but to condition the body for more endurance and durability. As a pitcher, you need to stay in the game as long as possible, trying to pitch those 8 or 9 full innings in a game. Supersets help keep Verlander in top shape and give him a perfect balance of strength and cardio training.
Verlander entered college at Old Dominion at 170 pounds. In his first semester he put on around 25 pounds of muscle, mainly all in his legs. He went from pitching 93 MPH to 97 MPH in a year. Do not underestimate the importance of strong legs for pitching. You can see how much this benefited Verlander’s pitching velocity. Strong legs in pitching will allow you to drive and explode to the plate as you pitch. You will be able to throw harder with less pressure on your arm. Contrary to popular belief, leg muscles – not arm strength- are where the pitcher’s power comes from. Most of the force of a pitcher starts with a good push off, accompanied by good form in the torso to transfer that energy through the body and out the arm. Therefore, Verlander does a lot of squats in his training. Squats are the best lower body exercise that hits all the leg muscles and provides a terrific cardiovascular benefit.
Verlander also uses a lot of resistance bands in his training. Resistance bands provide resistance through every part of an exercise, leading to better range of motion, which can help with flexibility. In addition, resistance bands can simulate a pitcher’s mechanics as they work on their release point and weight transfer, while simultaneously putting resistance on the muscle. You can replicate the pitching movements with tension. He does a lot of rotator cuff training with the resistance bands, which can be safer and even more effective than using conventional dumbbells. The most common injuries among baseball players originates in the shoulder and rotator cuff. It is imperative to keep these muscles strong and conditioned so resistance band training is essential. Not to mention, having a strong shoulder can help you throw with more velocity. With his resistance band routine, Verlander relies a lot on a six-pack scap routine. Everyone talks about the rotator cuff, which consists of four muscles that stabilize the shoulder girdle. Often times, pitchers forget about the scaps, which is your shoulder blade area. If your scaps don’t move properly, you’ll have instability in that shoulder.
Verlander does lunges to help take the stress off the hamstring to put more emphasis on the glutes, which can help maximize performance and build a lot of power for his pitching mechanics.
Besides squats and resistance band training, here are some of Verlander’s other preferred workouts:
Lunges- While the squat is the power generated movement, the lunge helps decrease injury. Lunges help take the stress off the hamstring and put more emphasis on the glutes, which can help maximize performance.
Leg Curl on Ball- This exercise is a two joint movement. This exercise targets the glutes and lower back to take even more stress off the hamstrings.
Flamingos- This works the core and works on balance and stability.
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift- Verlander does this workout at fatigue to get the muscles to fire right and balance.
NOTE: This is only part of Justin Verlander’s workout routine, in which we offer some additional commentary to his regimen. To see the whole routine and to go more in-depth with athlete workouts, be sure to check out STACK Magazine