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Interval Throwing Programs at Distances Beyond 150 Feet Can Be Equivalent to Pitching Over Five Innings

      Purpose

      To determine the cumulative elbow varus torque (EVT) experienced during created interval throwing programs (ITP) and derive innings pitched equivalent for each step.

      Methods

      High school pitchers wearing the motusBASEBALL sensor who had at least 50 throws at 90, 120, 150, and 180 ft and game pitches were included in this analysis. Means for EVT per throw and torque per minute were calculated at each distance. Three throwing programs were created using a template of 1 phase at each distance with 2 steps per phase. Programs varied only by number of throws per set (20, 25, and 30 throws for Program A, B, and C, respectively). Total EVT for each step, phase, and program were calculated using mean EVT per throw at each distance. Total EVT for each step and program were converted to a mean inning pitched equivalent (IPE) and maximum pitch count equivalent (MPE), respectively, using in-game pitching torque values and expected mean pitch counts (15 pitches/inning and maximum 105 pitches/game).

      Results

      In total, 3,447 throws were analyzed from 7 subjects (16.7 years ± 0.8 years). EVT per throw increased at each distance (range 36.9-45.5 N·m), comparable to game pitches (45.7 N·m). Mean EVT per minute was highest for 90 ft throws (193.4 N·m/min) and lowest for game pitches (125 N·m/min). Throwing Program A had the lowest range of IPE (Step 1: 2.0 and Step 8: 3.7), and Program C had the highest range (Step 1: 3.0 and Step 8: 5.6). The phases of Program A never exceeded 1MPE. Program B exceeded this threshold after Phase 1, and Program C exceeded 1MPE at every phase. Total program MPE ranged from 3.5 to 5.2 (Program A and C, respectively).

      Conclusions

      Programs requiring 25 or more throws per set reached approximately 5 IPE per day. Increasing throwing repetitions by 10 throws resulted in a nearly 50% increase in IPE and MPE.

      Level of Evidence

      IV, retrospective cohort study.
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