Pitcher’s Single-Leg, Opposite Arm RDL
Jose Vazquez, PT, RSCC and Gene Coleman, Ed. D., RSCC*E
The pitcher’s RDL is a single-leg, opposite arm movement that allows a pitcher to train unilaterally while working on motor control, proprioception and balance. It is important for all athletes, especially pitchers, because it hits the major muscle groups on the backside of the body and can be used to help eliminate strength imbalances between the left and right sides. When performed properly with the back leg completely extended, it helps develop the hip and knee extension needed by pitchers to “get over” the lead leg in the pitching motion.
How to do it:
- Balance on one leg with or without a DB or KB in the opposite hand at the hip.
- With the support leg slightly bent and back flat, set the core and bend forward at the waist to lower the opposite hand, DB or KB as far as your flexibility allows and stop just outside of your support foot.
- As you bend forward, extend the non-support leg straight back at the hip so that there is a straight line from the ear through the hip to the heel.
- Forcefully contract your glute to extend the hip, hold for 1-2 seconds, return to the starting position and repeat.
- Perform the assigned number of reps on one leg and then switch legs
- Work through a full range of motion and bring your hand, DB or KB as low as flexibility allows just outside the support foot.
- Tightness in the hamstrings is very common, especially in young pitchers, making the RDL a valuable year-around exercise.
- Start with 2×10 on each leg and gradually work to 3×10.
- When you can do 3×10 perfectly correct, use a heavier DB or KB for more resistance.
Jose Vazquez, PT, RSCC is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Texas Rangers. Gene Coleman was the Head S&C Coach for the Houston Astros from 1978-2012 and is currently a S&C consultant for the Texas Rangers and Professor Emeritus in the Exercise and Health Sciences Program at the University of Houston – Clear Lake and Website Education Manager baseballstrength.org.