The Baseball-Science Encyclopedia

Physiology, Biomechanics, PerformanceVisuomotor

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PHYSIOLOGY (10)

Physiology of Baseball Pitching Dictates Specific Exercise Intensity (Szymanski, D.J. 2009)

  • Long slow distance running (LSD) has been the most popular form of aerobic exercise in baseball for 70 years
  • Several authors suggest using tempo/interval training if body composition is not an issue
  • RT + sprinting = 3.0% increase in throwing velocity and 4.2% increase in anaerobic power (in comparison to control who did aerobic exercise)
  • Aerobic vs Anaerobic conditioning in college baseball –> speed/speed endurance training increased vertical jump (lower body power) by 15.3%, while the aerobic group saw a decrease in vertical jump
  • Relieving stiffness and soreness
    • Brief arm soreness = microtrauma (overuse and repeated movement) or inflammatory response that occurs after microtrauma
    • Increasing blood flow to the area will increase the amount of white blood cell recruitment, which are essential in the phagocytosis of unwanted metabolites
    • Increasing blood flow will also decrease blood viscosity making the arm feel better
    • LSD does not flush lactic acid…nor does baseball pitching produce enough lactic acid that will lead to a decreased performance
    • Higher than “normal” lactate levels (>12mmol/L) = greater than 35 pitches in one inning with 3 seconds of rest in between (OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T HAPPEN IN BASEBALL)
    • High lactate levels generally return to baseline 45-60 minutes after high intensity exercise; there are no differences in lactate levels pre and post pitching outings…
    • Most arm soreness comes from muscle damage; specifically, eccentric exercise to the musculature
    • DOMS usually peaks 24-48 hours after exercise; 96 hours it fades away; protective mechanism
    • Another possibility is that the musculature has not been adapted to the new stresses placed on it; more pitches/innings than usual, or throwing with more intent than usual (could be from high arousal in a game)
  • Energy Systems
    • 95% Creatine Phosphate (CP-ATP) and 5% Glycolysis (77-94% max HR)
    • case study à college pitcher threw 9 inning game (3 hours 10 min)
      • innings 4-9 = max HR between 158-186 (up to 95.5% age predicted HRmax)
      • resting heart rate never went below 100
    • 7 inning simulated game (6 college baseball players)
      • 14 pitches per inning, 20 seconds rest between each pitch
      • 5 warm up pitches each inning
      • measured HR, lactic acid, serum glucose, CK, VO2, and lactate dehydrogenase
      • 45% VO2 max during simulated game, and approximately 70% age predicted HRmax
      • Anaerobic capacity and VO2max are not limiting to pitching performance; training should use the ATP-CP system
    • Sprints and interval training
    • Power, resistance, plyo training
    • If using age-predicted HRmax, use 70-90% to match pitching intensity

Discussion

  • Sprinting is one of the most athletic things to train. Do it often
  • DOMS occurs between 24-48 hours post activity. During this time, recovery is MOST important
  • Ice will not help your arm. Ice will only reduce inflammation. Since there is no inflammation, heat is best to reduce blood viscosity and increase white blood cell count


Effects of Varying Recovery Periods on Muscle Enzymes, Soreness, and Performance in Baseball Pitchers (Potteiger, Blessing, and Wilson)

Intro

  • Creatine kinase (CK) and Lactate dehydrogenase (LH) are two markers of muscle damage
  • Eccentric muscular actions produce the most amount of CK and LH; higher tensions by active muscle fibers during eccentric contraction
  • Purpose of the study was to examine different periods of recovery between outings on serum enzyme levels, muscle soreness, and performance

Methods

  • 10 males with prior experience to pitching (how much experience?)
  • followed an 18-day training program with a specified number of pitches at % of maximum velocity; started at 55 pitches, increased 5 each session ending up at 100 pitches
  • after warm up –> 14 pitches per inning, 6 minute rest between innings, until they threw predetermined number of pitches
  • Game A to Game B = 4 days rest
  • Game B to Game C = 2 days rest
  • Blood CK and LDH taken before exercise, immediately after, 6 hours after, 24 hours after, 48 hours after, and 72 hours after
  • Pitching velo was used for performance measurement (maintained 95% intensity)
  • Recorded perception of soreness in pitching arm and legs

Results

  • All 3 games saw increase in CK
    • Peak occurred 24 hours after game A and B
    • Peak occurred 6 hours after game C
    • Normalized 72 hours after
  • All 3 games saw increase in LDH
    • Peak occurred 6 hours after for each game
  • Reported no muscle soreness after each pitching performance
    • I don’t know any pitcher that felt sore IMMEDIATELY after they threw a game…this occurs during 24-48 hours after
  • Slight decrease in velocity in game C (2.7% lower than A, 1.9% lower than B)
  • Does not allow conclusions to be made about which muscle groups were involved in enzyme release and possible muscle damage (blood measures taken from non-pitching arm?)
  • Decrease in velocity may be a marker of fatigue

The Effects of Various Therapeutic Measures on Shoulder Strength and Muscle Soreness After Baseball Pitching (Yanagisawa, O., Miyanaga, Y., Shiraki, H., Shimojo, H., Mukai, N., Nitsu, M., and Itai, Y. (2003)

Intro

  • The popular recovery method remains to be ice and ice only
  • Previous research shows that aerobic development will aid in the recovery process for the baseball player
  • can ice, paired with light exercise, be just as beneficial as ice?

Methods

  • 7 pitchers threw 98 pitches in a simulated game
    • the power of this study is already not going to be great
  • 4 different groups for treatment included ice, light shoulder exercise, ice and light shoulder exercise, and the control (no treatment)
  • shoulder strength and muscle soreness were taken before pitching, immediately after pitching, at the time of the intervention, and 24 hours post pitching
    • shoulder strength was defined as shoulder abduction, internal rotation and external rotation at 0* of abduction, and rotation with the arm abducted at 90*

Results

  • All 4 groups showed losses in shoulder strength immediately after pitching
  • Light exercise and ice treatment showed the greatest “recovery” from immediately after pitching to 24 hours post pitching
    • this group also showed the greatest shoulder strength 24 hours post pitching
    • what is defined as “recovery”?
  • soreness in shoulder internal rotation was actually increased from post pitching and continued for 24 hours
  • the ice treatment group and the light exercise with ice treatment showed similar effects 


In-Game Heart Rate Responses Among Professional Baseball Starting Pitchers (Cornell, D.J., Paxson, J.L., Caplinger, R.A., Seligman, J.R., Davis, N.A., Flees, R.J., and Ebersole, K.T. (2017)

Intro

  • Pitching is a highly short-duration task, therefore it is considered an anaerobic activity
  • Little research has examined the in-game physiological intensity associated with baseball pitching
  • There is a direct relationship between heart rate and oxygen uptake, so researchers monitored heart rates during real-time games
  • However, psychological factors such as confidence, motivation, and arousal level will affect heart rates

Methods

  • 16 Single-A pitchers (average 22 years old) were asked to participate during real-time games
  • Pitchers wore the Bioharness to collect heart rate data (which has shown to be highly reliable)
  • LIMITATION –> it was “not possible” to collect same number of innings across all pitchers due to some pitchers getting taken out early
    • innings ranged from 8 to 104
  • in-game data was normalized to age-predicted maximal heart rate (220-age) to create a %HRmax

Results

  • In-game heart rate max across all innings averaged out to 85%
  • There was a statistically significant interaction effect between inning and game location
    • %HRmax was different across innings, but only during home starts
    • first and second innings were significantly higher than the other innings (the jitters, perhaps?)

Discussion

  • Results show that pitching does seem to be anaerobic in nature due to high percentage of heart rate max
  • simulated games and bullpen sessions may underestimate true physiological intensity of pitching
  • The physiological intensity of pitching may be heavily influenced by the psychological demands associated with competition
    • the changes were only seen in home starts
  • The first inning was always the highest percentage of heart rate, but then it lowered as the game went on
    • pitchers beginning to “settle in”
  • Interval training, sprints, and other high intensity exercises are recommended to enhance the anaerobic system of the baseball pitcher 

Indicators of Throwing Arm Fatigue in Elite Adolescent Male Baseball Players: A Randomized Crossover Trial (Freeston, J., Adams, R., Ferdinands, R.E.D., and Rooney, K. (2014)

Methods

  • Cross over design was used: throwing exercise and running exercise, to determine which bout would results in the most amount of arm soreness would occur
    • also looking at throwing velocity, accuracy in the strike zone, and proprioception of the throwing arm
    • accuracy was determined by horizontal error, vertical error, total error, absolute error, and variable error
  • Participants stated they had played within the past 18 months…however, if the last time they threw was 18 months ago, then these results will definitely not be applicable
    • THINK ABOUT IT: the more frequently you throw, the less you get sore due to the body becoming accustomed to this type of activity
  • Shoulder proprioception was taken in 5 different positions: 1.5cm apart from 74* of external rotation and 85*
    • the participants had to guess which position their arm was in when they externally rotated to an object (1 through 5)
  • Threw 10 pitches from the mound with 10 seconds between each pitch to minimize the fatigue effect
  • Cross over design
    • Throwing = 60 near-maximal effort throws over 60-feet long, each throw was separated by 10 seconds
    • Exercise = 20-m shuttle run test (the beep test) until exhaustion
  • After each exercise bout, throwing accuracy and shoulder proprioception was taken again
  • After 3 minutes rest…all measures were taken again

Results

  • Velocity was equally effected after RUN and THROW…interesting
    • Now, does velocity really show us how fatigued a pitcher is?
  • Total error and horizontal error accuracy was effected more after THROW than RUN
    • vertical error error was not effected
  • Velocity, soreness, and accuracy is affected from throwing…duh
    • velocity was the least affected
  • Usually, when pitchers keep missing “high” it is because they are fatigued, resulting from less trunk tilt at ball release. However, this was not found in this particular study. Rather, pitchers kept missing off the plate
    • could this be resulted from lack of conditioning from the trunk? The legs? Inability to control breathing?
  • The ONLY problem I have with this study is validity of some sort. The CAUSE of this arm fatigue was from throwing 60 near-maximal throws with 10 seconds between each throw. Yeah, if i threw 60 pitches in one inning, my coach would be escorted off the field and I would be pretty tired too.
  • SORENESS and ACCURACY, according to this study, are greater indicators of throwing fatigue, and not just velocity alone. Use your mouth first (ask your pitcher how he feels), and use your eyes second. 


Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Baseball Players (Suchomel, T.J. and Bailey, C.A. (2014)

  • Throwing Velocity
    • Fatigued pitches show decrease in velo; significantly lesser during “final 2 innings” in comparison to the first 2
    • Trunk position becoming more vertical when fatigued = more reliance on the arm (negative energy displacement to the arm)
    • Decreased ROM at the GH joint and knee
    • Accumulate more innings = accumulate more fatigue
  • Pitch Count
    • Professional and college = 120 pitches for game (avg)
    • Negative relationship between pitch counts and subsequent performances
    • May look at amount of rest between performances…however this is usually a fixed amount of time
  • Running Times
    • Monitoring base running times throughout the season (home to first, first to third, stolen base); however, nothing has been published (yet)
    • Specific markers for position players have yet to be revealed!!!!
  • Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
    • Quantifying training load in athletes; comparing or adding load from the field is not easy
    • Modified Borg scale (1-10); athletes should be familiarized
    • Within 30 min of training
    • Adjustments to programming can be made based on session RPE
  • Perceived Recovery Status (PRS)
    • Laurent et al. à 0-10 scale (again, must be familiarized)
    • 0-2 = decline performance expected
    • 4-6 = similar performance expected
    • 8-10 = better performance expected
    • hopes to prevent accumulated fatigue during training
  • Body Composition
    • May lose LBM, or negative testosterone:cortisol (catabolism, bro)
    • Sum of skinfolds (3-site) may be the most reliant test to used with no access to a lab, as well as quickest test to use (what about bioimpedance)
    • Having access to body composition will allow for the coach to give nutritional advice
  • Vertical Jump/Rate of Force Development (RFD)
    • Decreased power output can be a sign of fatigue
    • Can be very sensitive to both acute and chronic fatigue
    • Hitting, throwing, running, jumping all require RFD


The Relation Between Anthropometric and Physiological Variables and Bat Velocity of High-School Baseball Players Before and After 12-Weeks of Training (Szymanski, D.J., Szymanski, J.M., Schade, R.L., Bradford, T.J., McIntyre, J.S., DeRenne, C., and Madsen, N.H.)

Intro

  • It is well known that being stronger allows for the player to swing harder and hit the ball farther
  • To determine if height, body mass, body fat percentage and lean body mass are at all correlated with rotational power, rotational strength, vertical jump, estimated peak power, total body strength, and angular velocities at the hip and shoulder
  • Rather than showing results of the study, the goal is to try and relay correlational data and how to interpret for Strength and Conditioning practices

Methods

  • 49 high school baseball players in either 2nd or 3rd year
    • Researchers made sure that a proper diet was maintained and no supplements were used, since this could compromise the results of the study
  • groups separated by class (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior) and body weight
  • Group 1 = 3-day full-body program, 100 swings per day with normal game bat
  • Group 2 = same as group 1, with additional medicine ball exercises
    • resistance training volume was not significantly different between 2 groups
    • started with HEAVY medicine balls to train fast-twitch fibers, slowly progressed to lighter medicine balls
  • Anthropometric tests =
    • striking a ball on a tee was used to measure angular hip and angular shoulder velocity
    • torso rotational strength (Cybex machine)
      • only limitation was that the participants were able to move their entire body, which is okay. However, the results may be compromised due to the inability to orchestrate same exact movement patterns consecutively
    • rotational power (2-lb. Medicine ball hitter’s throw, aka MB Scoop Toss)
      • Distance was used as the force output…apparently has a high test-retest reliability
    • vertical jump, estimated peak power (equation used to estimate)
    • 3RM bench press and squat

Results

  • PRE-measures
    • Lean body mass had a moderately-high significant correlation with bat velocity in both groups
    • Vertical jump had no significant correlation with bat velocity in both groups
    • Dominant torso rotational strength had a moderately-high significant relationship with bat velocity, but not in group 1
  • POST-measures
    • Both groups had an increase in bat velocity, but group 2 resulted in a higher correlation
    • The medicine ball hitters throw had a moderately-high significant correlation to bat velocity

Discussion

  • Taller players who weigh more will have greater lean body mass than a shorter player, resulting in a greater chance to produce more force
  • Lean body mass seems to be the greatest indicator of bat velocity 
  • Upper body and lower body strength had moderately-high significant correlations to bat velocity, which again stems from the amount of lean body mass
  • Contrary to popular belief, it is a myth that vertical jump predicts bat velocity
  • Adding rotational medicine ball exercises will aid in bat velocity development
  • Training status, maturation level, specificity of training, and mechanics must all be considered when programming to increase bat velocity


The Effect of Intermittent Vest Cooling on Thermoregulation and Cardiovascular Strain in Baseball Catchers (Bishop, S.H., Szymanski, D.J., Ryan, G.A., Herron, R.L., and Bishop, P.A. (2017)

Intro

  • Elevated temperatures outside result in a significantly increased core temperature of the body, which could impair muscle performance
  • Cooling before various athletic activities have shown to decrease core temperature, increase heat tolerance time, and decrease perceived exertion
  • The first study to investigate intermittent cooling for baseball catchers between innings

Methods

  • 6 catchers were recruited. Remember, the POWER of this study will not be strong
  • Familiarized with a heating chamber that emulated a hot and humid outside environment prior to testing
  • Participants caught 6 simulated games in the heat environment that consisted of 9-innings
    • participants caught two 3-series games
    • received 1 pitch every 20 seconds with a total of 12 pitches per inning for a total of 108 pitches per game (controlled variable)
  • 6 minutes of recovery were used between innings
    • 4 of which were used with a cooling vest
    • 6 minutes of no cooling
  • Rectal temperature was taken before and after each inning
  • Heart rate was monitored before and after each inning

Results

  • Significantly smaller rise in rectal temperature was found in the cooling treatment
  • Significantly lower mean recovery heart rate was found in the cooling treatment
  • Mean working heart rate was lower in the 9th inning for the cooling treatment group compared to the control
  • Significantly lower perceived exertion was found in the cooling treatment

Discussion

  • The interval nature of the game makes this study very applicable
  • Limitations = catchers ONLY caught and did not simulate running the bases, and for statistical reasons, the amount of work had to be constant throughout the groups
    • as we know, there are some innings where a catcher gets a beating behind the plate
  • The mechanism for vest cooling needs to be determined with future research
  • Vest cooling can decrease exertion, mean working heart rate, and lower recovery heart rates
    • future research with position players?


The Effect of Intermittent Arm and Shoulder Cooling on Baseball Pitching Velocity (Bishop, S.H., Herron, R.L., Ryan, G.A., Katica, C.P., and Bishop, P.A. (2016)

Intro

  • Pitchers will experience soreness and loss of strength in their throwing arm post-pitching
  • Ice has been used to decrease soreness and promote recovery
  • Cooling, or cryotherapy, can decrease symptoms of over-use pain, swelling, and inflammation
    • in some cases, it has shown to increase muscle fiber activation and improve sprint performance
    • there is conflicting results on DOMS
  • Recent research has showed that cryotherapy combined with light shoulder exercise were the most beneficial recovery methods during 24-hour recovery period
  • Which group of pitchers could 1. recover faster (physical recovery), 2. keep their velocity up, and 3. feel the most ready (mental/physiological recovery)

Methods

  • Pitchers threw a simulated 5-inning game, 1 pitch every 20 seconds
    • each inning was 12 pitches and given 6 minutes of rest between each inning
      • yes, this may not happen all the time, but researchers have to make sure that every is uniform inning-by-inning so they can use statistics to determine that the one intervention (cryotherapy) has an effect
      • what WOULD be interesting, is having the rest time a constant, but having a different amount of pitchers per inning
  • Pitchers reported an RPE (rating of perceived exertion) score of 6-20 post-pitching
    • This is the Borg scale…used for most for aerobic exercise.
    • 6 = no exertion, 20 = full exertion
  • Pitchers reposted a PRS (perceived recovery status) score of 1-10 post-pitching
    • 10 = fully recovered, 1 = not recovered
  • There were a total of 8 pitchers included in this study. Once reading this, we cannot take the power of this study with heavy weight
    • 5-7 days were taken between the 2 trials, this is known as a “crossover” design since each participant got through both conditions
  • Icing treatment = ice bag placed on the shoulder and forearm

Results 

  • When treated with ice between innings, pitchers were able to maintain throwing velocity. The greatest significant difference was seen in the 4th and 5th innings
  • For those who received the ice treatment, perceived exertion decreased by 35%
  • Not ONCE did the researchers mentioned how long the icing treatment was…and what the “intermittent” part was. This is pretty important information.
  • There is not enough “power” to this study, nor enough information to say “yeah, let’s try icing between innings and see what happens…” remember, you have parents paying money to watch their son pitch.

Assessment of Professional Baseball Players Aerobic Exercise Performance Depending on Their Positions (Yang, S.W. 2014)

Intro 

  • VO2max is used to evaluate an individual’s capacity to aerobic exercise. This “max” must be adjusted to bodyweight
    • However, baseball is not aerobic. Or, is it partly?
  • Lactate threshold is defined as an individuals capacity to exercise without producing any lactate. A higher “threshold” would be advantageous.
  • Do position players have a greater energy output than pitchers?

Methods and Results

  • 46 pitchers and 78 fielders
  • Performed an aerobic incline-walking test until exhaustion
  • Pitchers VO2 = 53.64 mL/kg, Position Players VO2 = 52.30 mL/kg
    • HOWEVER, high school baseball players VO2 max is greater than professional players.
    • These numbers are also biased because the atmospheric conditions are different in Japan where the study was conducted
  • The researchers keep stating “other endurance athletes” and this is where I say are we really calling baseball an endurance sport?


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BIOMECHANICS (18)

In-Season Functional Shoulder Training for High School Baseball Pitchers (R. Jason Brummitt)

Intro

  • Each phase of the throwing motion places different types of stress on the shoulder, which leads to different muscles firing/sequencing
  • Maximal external rotation can be anywhere from 170-170 degrees
  • Extreme ranges of motion are needed to throw hard. However, with loads of stress, lack of conditioning, and poor mechanics, this will all lead to injury

Muscle Firing 

  • External rotators –> Infraspinatus, Teres minor
  • Scapular stabilizers –> Serratus anterior, Rhomboids
  • Decelerators –> Supraspinatus, Infrapsinatus, Teres minor
    • Internal rotators –> Subscapularis, Latissimus dorsi, Pec major
    • tend to get very “tight”
  • Rotator cuff activity increases through the arm cocking phases
    • In the late cocking phase, there can be up to 650 N (143-lb.) of compressive forces
    • During deceleration, the shoulder literally comes out of the socket momentarily: 400 N of posterior shear forces, 300 N of inferior shear forces, and more than 1,000 N of compressive forces

Muscular Adaptations 

  • Throwing without taking care of your arm = poor scapular control and function, poor external rotation strength, limited shoulder mobility/flexibility
    • this alters the position of the shoulder joint at rest; usually the front of the joint is compromised
    • supraspinatus is usually the weakest of the rotator cuff group
  • A restricted posterior shoulder = humeral head anterior translation (ball-of-the-socket moves forward) and limits the amount of internal rotation during deceleration
    • this is why baseball players should be training their internal rotators…not just stretching them out all the time. A little bit of both will go a long way

In-Season Conditioning Considerations 

  • If the joint is stuck, move it around. If the joint moves to much, stabilize it.
    • much more important to maintain proper mobility
  • Mobilize the posterior shoulder and the pecs
  • Maintain previous physiological adaptations from the entire body, without performing too much volume from the previous phase
  • Since the arm goes into rapid deceleration, use exercises that put the arm in rapid external rotation to maintain strength and durability
  • Be sure that the plyometric-exercises are performed once per week
    • rapid wall bounces
    • backwards partner catches
    • ball taps/ball drops

Biomechanics of the Elbow in the Throwing Athlete (Fleisig, G.S. and Escamilla, R.F.)

Stride Phase

  • From push off to the front foot landing
  • The elbow should be flexed anywhere between 80-100 degrees at front foot strike

Arm Cocking Phase

  • From from foot landing to maximal external rotation; this is when the arm cocks/coils
  • This is when the pelvis begins to rotate towards home plate and the trunk stays back while the arm gets into position
  • The elbow and forearm muscles show the greatest activity right before maximal external rotation to resist large valgus forces at the elbow
  • The UCL contributes around 54% of the total load placed on the elbow, which results in 30-40nm of force.
    • this is near the UCL’s maximal tensile load tolerance!
  • Muscle contractions at the elbow take the tensile forces off of the UCL. Therefore, you DO need a strong forearm to take stress off the UCL
    • the forces become greater when throwing a curveball or slider due to increased supination of the forearm
    • 240-360N of force applied to the elbow to resist lateral translation of the forearm
  • The elbow achieves maximum flexion (85-105*) approximately 30 milliseconds before maximal external rotation of the shoulder, which is controlled by the tricep muscle both eccentrically and isometrically

Arm Acceleration

  • Highlighted from the moment of maximal external rotation to ball release
    • The FASTEST motion in ALL sports
  • Maximal elbow velocity is similar among all pitches except for the changeup, which shows to be significantly less
  • Elbow angular velocity comes from the rotational forces from all the other joints of the body, not from the elbow and triceps alone
  • Ball velocity at release is generated from other body segments rather than the upper extremities alone

Arm Deceleration and Follow-Through

  • From ball release to maximal internal rotation of the shoulder
  • The elbow flexors show moderate to high eccentric contractions to control excessive extension and pronation at the elbow
  • Internal rotation at the lead hip and rotation of the trunk over the lead hip take the eccentric stress off the elbow. This is why mobility and stability in certain positions will save your arm!


Relationships Between Bat Swing-Speed and Muscle Thickness and Asymmetry in Collegiate Baseball Players (Tschuikane, R., Higuchi, T., Suga, T., Wachi, M., Misaki, J., Tanaka, D., Miyake, Y., and Isaka, T. (2016)

Intro

  • In rotational striking sports, athletes have a dominant side. Is there a difference in trunk muscle thickness on either side of the trunk? And, is this difference related to bat swing speed?

Methods

  • 24 collegiate baseball players
  • Took 5 swings off of a tee, bat swing speed was measured; the first 3 fastest speeds were taken as a mean
  • Asymmetry % for the trunk was determined by (dominant side thickness / dominant side thickness – non-dominant side) x 100
  • Used intraclass correlation coefficients to make sure that they were actually measuring what they were supposed to measure, and do so in a reliable manner

Results 

  • Significant positive correlation between trunk thickness and bat swing speed
    • specifically, the abdominal wall and multifidus lumborum
  • Non-dominant side, interestingly, had a thicker abdominal wall and multifidus, but was NOT correlated to bat swing speed
  • The abdominal wall has greatest EMG activity during the loading phase and follow through phase of the hitting motion
  • Muscle thickness of the upper and lower limbs did not correlate with bat swing speed…remember, this is a COLLEGE population here

Discussion

  • In most cases, as skill levels increases, the level of training increases with it
  • In other studies, players who have a low relative strength (like the Bench press) have low swing velocity. When those players got stronger, then those players had a higher swing velocity
  • If you’re already strong, chasing more bilateral strength may not be the answer. Get stronger in planes that matter!
  • Lateral asymmetry is important…REDUCE YOUR RISK OF LOW-BACK INJURY! #BeASwitchHitter


The Relationship Between Gluteal Muscle Activation and Throwing Kinematics in Baseball and Softball Catchers (Plummer, H., and Oliver, G. (2014)

Intro

  • Catchers have a shorter stride to throw, more open foot position, and reduced hip-shoulder separation when compared to pitchers
  • Catchers also show a shorter angle at the elbow during the arm cocking phase and less forward trunk tilt at ball release
  • What is the relationship between gluteal muscle activation and pelvis and trunk kinematics when catchers throw to second base?
  • Gender differences were also considered in this study

Methods

  • 42 baseball (22) and softball (20) catchers recruited for the study, free from injury for 6 months (which is important because this will alter throwing mechanics)
  • One athletic trainer performed Manual Muscle Testing (MMT) to receive EMG data for muscle contraction. Each contraction was held for 5 seconds, and the first and last second was removed for data analysis (in other words, only the peak contraction was recorded)
  • Kinematics were separated by 4 different phases: front foot contact, maximal external rotation of the shoulder, ball release, and maximal internal rotation of the shoulder
  • Each catcher was asked to perform 5 accurate throws down to second base

Results

  • Stride leg glute max activity was greatest during the arm acceleration phase of throwing
  • Stride leg glue medius activity was greatest during the deceleration phase of throwing
  • Drive leg glute max activity was greatest during the acceleration phase of throwing
  • The magnitude of trunk rotational velocity was greater than pelvic rotational velocity
  • There were no significant differences between genders

Discussion 

  • Drive leg glute max activity was correlated with trunk flexion at front foot strike. Therefore, the front leg acts as a stabilizer when the arm is accelerating towards second phase, similar to the pitching motion
  • The stride leg glute medius contracts more and more as the catcher goes through the throwing motion, further indicating that a strong front leg is needed to produce a strong and accurate throw
  • For catchers, pelvic and trunk rotation occur simultaneously, which is slightly different from the pitching motion
    • In other words, catchers do not fully utilize trunk rotation at maximal external rotation simply because the body does not have time for that extra counter movement
  • Catchers of all ages and abilities should learn how to control the hips in both a dynamic and isometric environment 


Kinematic and Kinetic Comparison of Baseball Pitching Among Various Levels of Development (Fleisig, G.S., Barrentine, S.W., Zheng, N., Escamilla, R.F., and Andrews, J.M. (1999)

Methods

  • 231 pitchers were analyzed
    • 23 youth (10-15 y.o.)
    • 33 high school (15-20 y.o.)
    • 115 college (17-23 y.o.)
    • 60 professional (20-29 y.o.)
  • kinematic, kinetic, and temporal values were produced for 3 different pitches
    • 16 total positional and velocity parameters were analyzed

Results

  • 6 velocity parameters were significantly different between age levels
    • At front foot contact, elbow flexion was less between youth and high school players, high school and college players
    • During the arm cocking phase, college players showed a greater pelvic rotational velocity than professional pitchers
    • During the arm cocking phase, college and professional pitchers showed a greater upper torso rotational velocity than the younger players
    • During arm acceleration, college and professional pitchers showed a greater elbow extension velocity
    • During arm acceleration, college pitchers showed a greater internal rotation velocity then high school pitchers
  • Since mechanics and positional parameters were not significantly different between groups, younger pitchers should be taught proper pitching mechanics
  • Most of the differences that were seen between groups were most likely due to differences in height, mass, and strength levels
    • allow young kids to throw often. Arm speed is needed for velocity as they develop
  • It MUST be known that older, more experienced players are at a greater risk of arm injury due to the greater amount of torque they are placing on joints. For ALL age levels, a proper strength and conditioning program must be in place
    • labral injuries may increase from combination of anterior humeral translation, compression, and internal rotation
    • the biceps are most active during arm deceleration. Should players get some arm-farm in to save an elbow? I think, yes!

Relationships Between Ball Velocity and Throwing Mechanics in Collegiate Baseball Pitchers (Werner, S.L., Suri, M., Guido Jr., J.A., Meister, K., and Jones, D.G. (2008)

Intro 

  • There are certain timing mechanisms that must occur to throw hard. It is the efficient timing from stride foot contact to arm cocking to arm acceleration to ball release that will allow the thrower to see an increase in velocity
  • This study hypothesizes that multiple variables in the throwing motion would explain 100% of the variability in ball speed

Methods

  • 54 college baseball pitchers. 34 RHP and 20 LHP
  • Radar gun was used to assess the ball velocity of each pitch. Pitches that were thrown for strikes were used for data analysis
  • Temporal phases include: stride foot contact, arm cocking, arm acceleration, ball release, follow through
  • 26 reflective markers were placed on the body to determine joint positioning and angular velocities

Results 

  • Each reflective marker was chosen as an independent variable to determine the correlated value with throwing velocity
  • Average fastball velocity was 79 +/-  7mph
    • I would like to see a higher average and a smaller standard deviation. If you really think about it, college kids are throwing harder than 86 now
  • Mean maximal external rotation was 157*
  • At ball release, the lead knee was flexed around 58* and the trunk was forward flexed at 55*

Discussion

  • Ball velocity was most affected by …
    • Bodyweight
    • decreased time from stride foot contact to maximal external rotation
    • knee flexion and elbow flexion at stride foot contact
    • how long the head remained “over” the hips (aka keeping the weight back)
    • maximal ER
    • maximal trunk rotational speed
    • knee extension and trunk flexion at ball release
  • If you want to throw harder, make sure you weigh enough
    • Generally speaking, what I’ve seen from Dr. Heenan, take your height in inches, multiple it by 2.5, and that is your “ideal bodyweight”
  • A more flexed elbow will be able to move quicker in space
  • Being able to extend the knee during ball release allows the trunk to flex over the front hip, allowing for greater ball speeds
    • when the trunk begins to forward flex at ball release, this gives the baseball more time to travel during the arm acceleration phase


Kinematic Comparisons of Throwing Different Types of Baseball Pitches (Escamilla, R.F., Fleisig, G.S., Barrentine, S.W., Zheng, N., and Andrews, J.M. (1998)

Intro

  • Pitchers may want to produce similar kinematics between pitches to create a “tunnel” effect on the hitters
  • The average professional fastball reaches home plate in 0.5 seconds. It takes the human brain to process a visual stimulus in 0.35, leaving 0.15 seconds to decide to actually swing or not
  • No study has looked at the slider and changeup for kinematic data. The purpose was to compare these pitches with the fastball and curveball
  • “off speed” pitches should be quite similar in regard to velocity, largely because the hitter is easily able to detect a change in velocity rather than movement

Methods

  • 16 pitchers from NCAA Division 1 free from injury in the past 12 months
  • Pitches were throw in in randomized order and blinded from the participants
    • 5-8 pitches for each pitch variation, 30-60-seconds rest between each pitch
  • 3 trials per pitch variation were analyzed for each participant
  • 10 temporal measures were measured from the time the front foot contacted the ground all the way until ball release
  • 26 kinematic parameters were analyzed

Results

  • 16/26 parameters were significantly different
    • At lead foot contact, 3/8 kinematic parameters were significantly different
    • At arm acceleration and ball release, all 9 kinematic parameters were significantly different
  • Kinematic differences were greatest between the fastball and changeup
  • Limitation to the results was the omission of wrist and hand velocities/motions
    • Another limitation was that only 7 of the pitchers threw a slider, so those results don’t hold much power when comparing to other types of pitches
  • Mean of maximum upper torso angular velocity was 10% later for the changeup when compared to the curveball.
    • Does this tell us that slight early trunk rotation is needed to create more spin at ball release for the curveball?
  • Maximum pelvis and upper torso angular velocity was 5-10% greater in the fastball in comparison to the curveball
    • At ball release, knee flexion and shoulder horizontal adduction (towards the body) were 15-25% greater for the curveball, and fastball velocity was 25% greater
    • The rate of knee extension was greater during the fastball, and less during the curveball. In this population, this could be because the participants were slightly slowing their body segments to “throw a strike”
  • Stride length was 5% shorter during the curveball than the fastball. Why would we change mechanics for different pitches? Not only does the pitcher think about where the foot needs to be placed, but add that on top of throwing a strike
    • As a counter argument, maybe this 5% doesn’t matter and cannot be seen from the batters view
  • FINALLY I FOUND A STUDY THAT SAYS “WHAT IS LEAD FOOT CONTACT”?!
    • “Lead foot contact could be defined as when the toe, heel, or any part of the foot firs contacts the pitching mound or it could be defined as when the lead foot is flat on the pitching mound”
  • No significant differences were found between the curveball and fastball for the time of maximum elbow flexion and the time of maximum shoulder external rotation
  • Fastball and changeup had the greatest differences…
    • The changeup showed continuing knee FLEXION, rather than knee EXTENSION. Angular velocities were way off too. Were the pitchers trying to baby their changeup? Sounds like it
  • The curveball showed greater external rotation in comparison to the changeup
    • Again, I think their changeups in this study were being babied and not thrown like fastballs
    • The curveball showed 30% more lateral trunk tilt, probably because pitchers are told to “stay on top” of the curveball
  • In this specific study, the curveball and fastball did NOT show too many kinematic differences, whereas the changeup and fastball showed the MOST differences
    • This is not to say that every pitcher needs to throw their curveball all the time. Some days you will have it, some days you’ll get clobbered!
  • In this specific study, the fastball and slider showed the MOST similar kinematics
    • Only differences were forward trunk tilt at ball release and ball velocity
    • HOWEVER, only 7 pitchers actually threw a slider, so these results don’t really mean much to me
  • In this specific study, the changeup showed a greater front knee flexion at ball release than the slider


Shoulder Muscle Endurance: The Development of a Standardize and Reliable Protocol (Jean-Sebastien Roy, Ma, B., MacDermid, J.C., and Woodhouse, L.J. (2011)

Intro

  • NO study has looked at a standard protocol to measure muscular endurance in the shoulder
  • An assessment of local muscular endurance requires an individual to perform a series of repeated sub-maximal contractions at 50-80% of maximum mean peak torque

Methods 

  • 36 healthy adults participated with no history of injuries to their dominant arm
  • performed 5-RM and 3 isometric peak contractions on the dominant arm in shoulder flexion and external rotation at 90*
    • immediately following the shoulder endurance protocol, these measures were taken again
  • A dynamometer was used to measure the 5-RM isokinetic internal/external rotation velocity at 60*/second
  • Each participant performed 60 repetitions of internal/external rotation at 50% mean peak torque of at least 60*/second
  • A modified Borg scale (1-10) was used to measure RPE before and after the endurance protocol

Results

  • Maximal isometric strength was significantly decreased after the endurance protocol for the entire group
  • Isokinetic mean peak torque remained unchanged after the endurance protocol
  • Test-retest reliability of the post-fatigue and isokinetic and isometric strength measures was “excellent” (ICC > 0.84)

Discussion

  • 60 repetitions at 50% of isokinetic mean peak torque was able to induce local muscular fatigue to the shoulder
  • The high test-retest reliability, in other words, shows that this test was able to repeated again while showing similar results
  • For baseball performance, a variation of this muscular endurance test may be used before and after a baseball season to further study the loss of shoulder strength?
  • In the early offseason, reassess the shoulder strength on your throwing side. Most likely, it is going to be weak. Slowly progress from lighter weight of slow, controlled movements to more dynamic movements that require more muscle force to be produced from the shoulder musculature


Electromyographic Analysis of Lower Limbs During Baseball Batting (Nakata, H., Miura, A., Yoshie, M., Kanosue, K., and Kudo, K. (2013)

Intro

  • This study was looking at differences between “skilled” and “unskilled” baseball players
  • Previous studies have looked at muscle activity (EMG) during the baseball swing, but only one has looked at the lower limbs
    • trail leg EMG was recorded in semimembranosus (hamstring muscle), biceps femoris (hamstring muscle), and the vastus medialis (quad muscle)
  • It has been reported that the gluteus muscle group is highly active during the pitching motion. Since hitting is also a rotational movement, we can theorize that the same muscle groups would be active during the swing
  • Differences in swing EMG will show the timing of each movement, the muscle activity from phase to phase, and the peak amplitude of each muscle

Methods 

  • sEMG data and high speed cameras were used to time from phase to phase
  • participants hit a ball during soft toss in an indoor facility
  • 10 right handed skilled male players, 10 right handed unskilled male players
    • all had collegiate level experience, mean experience was 12 years
    • unskilled players played other sports and had experience swinging a bat but were never taught the correct way
  • sEMG was used bilaterally
    • rectus femoris (quad muscle), tibialis anterior (shin muscle), biceps femoris (hamstring muscle), and the medial gastrocnemius (calf muscle)
  • 60 batting trials were recorded
    • 45 “swing” trials and 15 “stopping” trials
      • stopping trial was defined as when the player stopped his swing
      • the thrower started the toss movement but stopped before releasing the ball…why they used this, I don’t know. Nothing was analyzed.
  • maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) for 4 seconds were used to determine % of MVIC during the swing based on sEMG
    • was taken AFTER the swing trials so fatigue would not affect the swings
  • the swing was divided into 7 different phases, where previous research used 4 and 3 phases
    • waiting
    • shifting body weight
    • stepping
    • landing
    • swing
    • impact
    • follow-through

Results 

  • the starting time was much earlier in baseball players when compared to the novices for shifting body weight, stepping, and landing
  • the starting time for the swing was much later in baseball players when compared to novices
    • showing us that baseball players time their swing more efficiently. A later swing time means the swing is shorter to the ball at impact
  • peak amplitude of sEMG activity was much larger in baseball players when compared to novices
  • shifting body weight occurred 1,418 ms before ball impact, stepping occurred 905 ms before ball impact, landing was 417 ms before ball impact, and the swing was 243 ms before ball impact

Discussion

  • MY question is, if the authors noted how important the glutes are during the throw and the swing, why was sEMG not used? Big limitation
  • the PEAK amplitude of sEMG activity was MUCH larger in skilled players, noting that these skilled players actually “used” their legs during the swing
    • novice players showed no body weight shift to the back foot
  • skilled players started each movement much earlier to get prepared for swinging the ball to make impact at the ball
  • The swing motion shows us that it is a series of kinetic movements: transferring energy from the lower limbs, to the trunk, to the upper limbs, to the bat, and finally to the ball
  • Did players use their “normal” swing during these trials since soft toss was used rather than live pitching? I’m sure results would be a little different
  • Previous studied have reported the importance of the external obliques and erector spinae to maintain a proper spinal angle to achieve rotation in the swing
  • SINGLE LEG TRAINING! Bilateral squatting is great for total force production, but may not be the most specific
    • Use lateral lunges and single leg squat variations that mimic the swinging motion to create a more powerful and timely swing 


Kinematic Analysis of the Wrist and Forearm During Baseball Pitching (Barrentine, S.W., Matsuo, T., Escamilla, R.F., Fleisig, G.S., and Andrews, J.R. (1998)


Hip and Shoulder Range of Motion in Youth Baseball Pitchers (Oliver, G.D., and Weimar, W.H. (2016)

Intro

  • There is a fine line between mobility stability, and this is exactly what we see in youth athletes. For pitchers, there needs to be a good amount of internal rotation of the drive hip and external rotation of the throwing arm. Together, these act as a couple timing mechanism.
  • Usually, the youth show us premature trunk rotation (aka no hip-shoulder separation)

Methods

  • 26 youth baseball players, approximately 11-years old, had to be free of injury in the past 6-months. This is important because previous injury will compromise joint mechanics
  • Passive Range of Motion (PROM) tests were taken from both hips and the throwing arm
    • Total ROM wa calculated with internal rotation (IR) and external rotation (ER)
    • hip ROM was taken in seated position with knees bent at 90*, and the leg positioned at 90* of hip flexion
      • this measurement is VERY important because if taken from a supine (on the back) position, it would be easier for the subject to cheat and hike one hip over to the side. On a table, you can clearly see when one side of the hip will hike up, showing a true measurement
    • For the throwing arm, participants were in a supine position, arm was elevated to 90* of abduction in the coronal (scapular) plane
      • measurement was taken as soon as there was scapular movement
  • Correlation coefficients were used to determine significance

Discussion 

  • There was a significant correlation between back hip IR and shoulder ER
  • Rotation of the hips cannot be isolated…it comes from the flexion and abduction of the hip first before rotation


Stride Leg Ground Reaction Forces Predict Throwing Velocity in Adult Recreational Baseball Pitchers (McNally, M.P., Borstad, J.D., Onate, J.A., and Chaudhari, A.M.W. (2015)

Methods

  • 18 competitive players with “competitive experience” were recruited; 6 of which were PO’s, the remaining 12 were position players with pitching experience. Already a flag being raised for the ecological validity of the study
  • Each participant threw 15 fastballs from the mound into a net in front of the mound
  • Last 5 pitches of first 15 were analyzed to ensure fatigue was NOT a factor; good idea

Results 

  • Drive leg force was NOT correlated to peak wrist velocity. This makes sense, since you’re simply measuring two separate factors. Arm acceleration had a significant relationship with wrist velocity
  • Drive leg forces in the vertical and posterior force vectors (most importantly, pushing posteriorly into the mound) were significantly correlated with peak wrist velocity in the arm cocking and arm acceleration phases
  • Drive leg force in the POSTERIOR direction was the greatest predictor of wrist velocity

Discussion

  • What bothers me about this study is that in the title, they say Throwing Velocity is predicted by stride leg ground reaction force. However, there were ZERO measures of throwing velocity in this study. Boo.
  • The drive leg force is most important during the arm-cocking phase of the throwing motion 
  • This study doesn’t tell us much since the results were so scattered. First, only 5 of the participants were actually pitchers, and there were no indications if these pitchers even made it to college or not. Poor study.


The Relationship Between Age and Baseball Pitching Kinematics in Professional Baseball Pitchers (Dun, S., Fleisig, G.S., Loftice, J., Kingsley, D., and Andrews, J.M (2007)

Intro

  • Previous research has shown that total joint range of motion decreases with age
  • The “prime” in a baseball career ranges from 19-27, usually towards the later years
  • Pitching kinematics are most likely different between age groups

Methods

  • 67 pitchers were tested; older group and younger group
    • one standard deviation above the mean = “older” group
    • one standard deviation below the mean = “younger” group
  • Ball velocity was measured with the JUGS radar gun, and kinematics were analyzed with a 6-camera, three-dimensional motion analysis system
  • 5 of the highest pitches thrown for strikes were used for analysis

Results

  • at lead foot contact, the younger group had a stride length 5% longer than the older group
  • the pelvis and upper trunk were in more “closed” positions, indicating that experience allows for the player to stay closed for a longer period
  • younger group showed 10* more external rotation, and a trend showed that external rotation decreased with age
  • angular velocities were NOT different between groups
  • younger group had a less flexed knee at ball release and a greater forward trunk tilt at ball release
    • other research in javelin throwers show that greater output velocities come from a more extended front knee at release
  • since body height, body weight, and velocity was not different between groups, age is most likely the contributing factor
  • interestingly, in other research, tennis players do not show great differences between shoulder external rotation in the dominant and non-dominant arms
    • perhaps, playing tennis could be a good “secondary” sport for pitchers?
  • To gain external rotation, keep throwing!
    • Important at a young age to develop humeral retroversion


The Relationship Between the Push Off Ground Reaction Force and Ball Speed in High School Baseball Pitchers (Oyama, S., and Myers, J.B. (2017)

Intro

  • previous research suggests that ground reaction forces through the back leg have a correlation to ball velocity
  • No studies have looked at GRF and ball velocity in the high school population

Methods

  • Cross-sectional study design
  • 52 high school players (40 RHP, 12 LHP)
  • Force plates were used on the pitching mound to determine GRF
    • impulse produced by the body results in forward momentum towards home plate
  • The number of pitches was NOT recorded…however, analysis was used for the 3 fastest pitches thrown for strikes

Results 

  • There were no significant relationships between ground reaction force and ball speed
  • During push off, participants averaged 1.3x bodyweight of vertical force and 0.5x bodyweight of horizontal force
    • previous research has shown elite players reaching 1.75x BW of horizontal force…does this tell us that high school players do not utilize linear drive?
  • proper sequencing of movements come from the “proximal to distal” theory
    • transfer of momentum between segments is maximized when the proximal segment reaches peak rotational velocity before the distal segment reaches peak rotational velocity
    • THEREFORE, the pelvic angular velocity must be achieved completely BEFORE the upper torso peak angular velocity, and BEFORE the arm accelerates at its peak internal rotation velocity

Discussion

  • Weakness of the pelvic musculature and poor motor control of the abdominal musculature can lead to a premature opening of the upper torso
    • this is what “staying back” means…some coaches use “keep the back shoulder away from the hip and keep the head behind the belly button”
  • Although push off force was the ONLY variable analyzed in this study, it’s important to note that this alone is not how you throw harder
    • Velocity comes from push off force, total body strength, control of the upper torso, control of the pelvis, and stride technique
  • Future research could also look at landing force in the high school population
  • HIP and CORE dynamic stability exercise must be in any pitcher’s program, along with getting the entire body stronger

/expand]


Biomechanical Comparison of Baseball Pitching and Long-Toss: Implications for Training and Rehabilitation (Fleisig, G.S., Bolt, B., Fortenbaugh, D., Wilk, K.E., and Andrews, J.R. (2011)


Biomechanical Analysis of Weighted-Baseball Exercises for Baseball Pitchers (Fleisig, G.S., Diffendaffer, A.Z., Aune, K.T., Ivey, B., and Laughlin, W.A. (2018)

Intro

  • The theory = throwing lighter baseballs will build arm speed, and throwing heavier baseballs will build arm strength
  • Current studies show that weighted implements +/- 20% seem to be effective
    • throwing AND holds while going through the throwing motion
  • Team handball studies showed that throwing heavier implements lead to a decrease in arm velocity (which makes sense because the arm must travel slower in space)
  • It is hypothesized that throwing objects lighter than normal (below 5 oz.) will show greater arm velocities, and joint kinetics would be greater with heavier baseballs

Methods

  • Participants had previous experience with a weighted baseball throwing program and were excluded if they sustained an injury within the past 12 months
  • 25 baseball pitchers (18 high school, 7 collegiate)
  • Pitchers warmed up with a 5 oz. baseball for as long as needed
  • 3 trials of 10 exercises were performed with max effort (order was randomized)
    • 4 oz., 5 oz., 6 oz., and 7 oz. baseballs were used
    • utilized a crow hop
  • “holds” were used with a 1 lb. and 2 lb. rubber ball WITHOUT releasing the ball
  • ball velocity was measured with a radar gun

Results 

  • As ball mass increased, ball velocity decreased
  • As ball mass increased, angular velocities of the pelvis, upper trunk, shoulder, and elbow decreased
  • Angular velocities with the 4 oz. baseball were no different than the 5 oz. baseball
  • velocities of the ball, pelvis, and shoulder were greater on flat ground than the pitching mound
  • As ball mass increased, elbow and shoulder joint torques decreased
    • not significantly different between 4 oz. and 5 oz. baseballs

Discussion

  • throwing the heavier baseballs did not shower greater joint kinetics/torque
  • Therefore, this study shows that using baseballs between 4-7 oz. will not significantly alter throwing mechanics, which make them a great training tool
  • Flat ground may not be the most specific for practicing proper pitching mechanics. However, flat ground can be used mainly for holds rather than releases
  • the 4 oz. baseball could be used in the younger population since arm velocities were shown to decrease
  • Flat ground holds with MUCH greater weight (14-32 oz.) produce a much greater elbow flexion torque, so these can be used to train bicep strength
  • Pairing weighted baseball throwing with traditional strength training will put the athlete over the entire spectrum of speed and strength. Using baseballs between 4-7 ounces seem to be the best fit where kinetics do not change 


The Effects of Various Weighted Implements on Baseball Swing Kinematics in Collegiate Baseball Players (Williams, C.C., Gdovin, J.R., Wilson, S.J., Cazas-Moreno, V.L., Eason, J.D., Hoke, E.L., Allen, C.R., Wade, C., and Garner, J.C. (2017)

Intro

  • Multiple players use weighted implements in the on-deck circle to prepare for the at-bat, hoping for the result of a greater bat speed
  • There is a kinesthetic illusion in that a heavier weighted implement makes the normal bat feel lighter
  • Previous research suggests that bats between +/- 12% weight of normal game bats maximizes bat velocity
  • No study has examined the 3D kinematics of the baseball swing and how the path of the bat potentially changes after warming up with various weighted implements

Methods

  • 15 Division I collegiate athletes participated in this study
  • 4 implements were used ranging in mass from 10.6 oz. to 55.6 oz.
    • fungo (10.6 oz.), standard bat (30 oz.), standard bat with a donut (55.6 oz.), and a standard bat held with weighted gloves (55.6 oz)
    • they mentioned the previous study by DeRenne saying that +/- 12% shows the greatest effects…for one, why not try and replicate? Secondly, 30 oz. to 55.6 oz. is a massive jump. I’m surprised there’s no “in between”
  • each participant swung 1 of the 4 implements 5 times to replicate the on-deck situation
    • participants then swung a standard game bat 5 times with a ball on the tee with 20 seconds rest
    • 10 minutes rest was used at the conclusion of the 5th swing
    • HOWEVER, the order was NOT randomized…hmmmmmmm
  • participants rated which implement provided them the best opportunity to maximize bat velocity from best to worst

Results 

  • There were NO statistically significant differences in kinetics and bat speed between any of the 4 weighted implements, which goes against previous research
  • Could this be because a collegiate population was used? Could this be because order was NOT randomized

Discussion

  • Perhaps, if YOU Are strong enough, heavier implements will not affect your kinematics and bat velocity
  • According to this study, in the collegiate population, athletes should choose which implement they feel the most comfortable and confident with in the on-deck circle
  • My interest: is there any relationship between 1-RM Bench Press and bat velocity using a specific implement? In other words, what is “strong enough” on the bench press? Usually, 1-1.5 BW


Changes in Shoulder and Elbow Passive Range of Motion After Pitching in Professional Baseball Players (Reinold, M.M., Wilk, K.E., Macrina, L.C., Cheheane, C., Dun, S., Fleisig, G.S., Crenshaw, K., and Andrews, J.M. (2008)

Intro

  • It has been documented that pitchers will gain a few degrees of external rotation and lose a few degrees of internal rotation to the throwing shoulder
  • Elbow extension has been shown to be lost after pitching as well
  • However, the concept of “total motion” has been accepted in the baseball community, where a throwers dominant arm will have these adaptations, and that is okay
  • No study to date looked at the effects immediately after throwing and leading up to 24 hours post throwing

Methods

  • 67 professional pitchers (51 RHP, 16 LHP)
    • demonstrated zero signs of injury and were not injuries in the past 12 months
  • bilateral passive shoulder ROM (ER and IR) were taken at 90* of abduction and 10* of horizontal adduction
    • along with elbow flexion and extension
    • allows for a within-subject design
  • ER and IR performed while stabilizing the scapula
    • extremity was moved until the shoulder visibly lifted from the table or until there was an “end range feel”
  • Measurements were taken before any warm up, immediately after a throwing protocol, and 24 hours after the intervention

Results and Discussion 

  • signifiant reduction in dominant shoulder IR (-9.5), total motion (-10.7), and elbow extension (-3.2)
    • remained present 24 hours after pitching
  • it is theorized that throwers develop “humeral retroversion” over time
    • basically, the upper arm (humerus) has a forward angle in relation to the lateral epicondyle of the forearm
  • MRI studies show that muscles of the rotator cuff undergo severe eccentric damage after throwing, which causes this acute loss in ROM
    • eccentric induced actions also result in tissue edema (fluid buildup) from the local inflammatory response
  • Baseball players may be more susceptible to injury if they pitch again before the arm fully returns back to baseline! 
    • decreased IR and total motion
  • Stretch, light exercise, and ice post-throwing to reduce the amount of ROM lost 

I am the target text.

PERFORMANCE (62)

Effects of Acute Static Stretching of the Throwing Shoulder on Pitching Performance of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Baseball Players (Haag, S.J., Wright, G.A., Gillette, C.M., and Greany, J.F. (2010)

Intro

  • Static stretching is currently used for increasing joint range of motion (ROM) and temporarily create changes in the musculotendonous unit (MTU) length. If a joint has a greater ROM, it has a greater capability of producing more force
  • Stretching-induced changes in the MTU may decrease force production due to an altered length-tension relationship
  • HOWEVER, if static stretching is included in a warmup, its negative effects would be “cancelled” out by the time a player throws a ball and gets ready to pitch
  • Few studies have investigated the acute bout of static stretching on the upper extremities; tennis studies showed that static stretching had no effect on the overhand serve
  • The purpose was to look at the effects of 6 30-second static stretches of the throwing shoulder on pitching velocity and accuracy

Methods

  • 12 NCAA Division III players participated all free from injury
    • 6 were pitchers, 6 were position players
  • Control condition involved a team warm up: light 200-m jog, throwing for 10-15 minutes
  • Experimental conditioned involved the same warm up, but added 6 30-second static stretches after warming up
  • 4 of the 6 stretches required assistance from an athletic trainer
    • which does not make this study very reliable, unless your coach is a certified athletic trainer and knows how to apply stretches to the throwing shoulder complex
  • shoulder horizontal adduction, horizontal abduction, external rotation, internal rotation, flexion, and extension of the shoulder
    • 30 seconds to a point of discomfort with 10 seconds between each stretch
  • 2 lowest and 2 highest recorded speeds were excluded from data analysis, the remaining 6 values were calculated as a mean
  • Accuracy was defined as the number of pitches (out of 10) that were thrown for strikes

Results

  • Independent Sample T-Test showed no significant differences between groups for average velocity and maximum velocity 
  • No significant differences were found in accuracy between the pitchers
    • there were some differences in those who were position players, but this makes sense because they are not pitchers

Discussion

  • Previous research has showed the acute static stretching has a negative effect on power when performed on the lower extremities, but this does not seem to happen with the upper extremities
    • this could be because muscle groups tend to be smaller in the upper extremities
  • rest periods between each stretch (10 seconds) were used to replicate how long it takes between pitches in a normal baseball game
    • previous research suggests that a rest time of 5 minutes shows no effect on performance measures
  • Previous research has showed that 30 seconds of a static stretch is sufficient enough to show an increase in joint ROM without any decrease in power or strength performance
    • perhaps, a greater volume of stretches could result in a negative effect?
  • Short-term changes in joint ROM from static stretching may not alter the performance of a skill that involves a complex neuromuscular pattern with multiple muscle groups 
  • Again, the sample number was way too low to actually make any claims about this study. However, the results are still interesting in a small sample size
  • Future research is needed to determine if static stretching in the lower extremities will effect pitching performance, since the throwing motion is initiated from the lower extremities and the lumbopelvic complex 


Effects of Stretching on Upper-Body Muscular Performance (Torres, E.M., Kraemer, W.J., Vingren, J.L., Volek, J.S., Hatfield, D.L., Spiering, B.A., Yu Ho, J., Fragala, M.S., Thomas, G.A., Anderson, J.M., Hakkinen, K., and Maresh, C.M. (2008)

Intro

  • Dynamic stretching usually consists of fast, specific movement patterns used in conjunction with, or in place of, static stretching
  • Static stretches are usually held anywhere between 15-30 seconds at a time to a point of slight discomfort
  • Static stretching can increase flexibility, but has also shown to negatively impact strength and power performances
  • There are not enough studies to date investigating the effects of static stretching with upper body performance tests

Methods

  • 11 healthy men a part of a Division I track and field team
  • 4 different stretching conditions = no stretching, static stretching, dynamic stretching, and combined static and dynamic stretching
  • Upper body performance tests = 30% 1RM Bench Press throw, isometric bench press, kneeling overhead medicine ball throw, and a seated lateral medicine ball throw
    • for each test, the highest value was used for statistical analysis
    • these participants were used since they were already familiar with these performance tests, which take the “learning curve” out of the question
  • 3 minute general jogging warm up followed by the assigned intervention
    • the order was completely randomized to eliminate order effect
    • static stretching was performed for 2 sets of 15 seconds for each muscle group
    • dynamic stretching was performed for 30 seconds each side
    • the combined group performed both static and dynamic
      • the authors did NOT state this particular order, which I think is a pretty important piece of information
  • After each stretching protocol, the participants immediately performed the upper body performance tests (in the order listed above)
  • each test was performed 3 times and 5-minutes of rest was allowed between each set of exercises
  • protocol visits were separated by 48-hours

Results

  • NO significant differences were found between stretching protocols for the following measures
    • Peak power (Pmax), Peak force, (Fmax), Peak acceleration (Amax), Peak velocity (Vmax), and Peak displacement (Dmax)
  • Overhead medicine ball throw = no differences between V-max and D-max
  • Lateral medicine ball throw = no differences in V-max
    • D-max was significantly larger or the combined group than the static group

Discussion

  • Static stretching may interfere with firing frequency of muscle fibers, alter the reflex sensitivity, and decrease motor unit activation
  • These results go against the hypothesis that static stretching would show a decrease in upper body performance tests
    • could be due to the 5-minute rest between tests
    • could also be due to the very short duration of static stretching (2 15-second holds)
  • We STILL do not know enough about static stretching and performance, and the underlying mechanisms that may cause a change in performance in lower body tests
  • TO BE SAFE, perform a dynamic warm up after your static stretching. This way, you are still combining the two, and the dynamic warm up will “offset” and “activate” those new changes 


The Effect of Intermittent Arm and Shoulder Cooling on Baseball Pitching Velocity (Bishop, S.H., Herron, R.L., Ryan, G.A., Katica, C.P., and Bishop, P.A. (2016)

Intro

  • Many baseball players use ice to “recover” their arm, since strength is usually lost
  • Cooling, or cryotherapy, has been used primarily as a recovery agent, but previous research shows that intermittent cooling can be a potential aid in performance
  • Previous research shows that cryotherapy can aid in inflammation, pain, and swelling
  • HOWEVER, there are conflicting results with ehe effect on delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
  • Previous research showed that cryotherapy, combined with light shoulder exercise, maximizes the 24-hour recovery window

Methods

  • 8 trained amateur baseball players with no history of shoulder or elbow injury were recruited for this study to throw a simulated game of 5-innings
  • Pitchers threw a fastball to a target at home plate for 1 pitch every 20 seconds to simulate game-like conditions
  • One inning = 12 pitches
    • 6 minutes of rest were given between innings
    • volume of throws was matched between groups (5 innings, 60 pitches)
  • Experimental condition had participants go through intermittent cooling, the control condition was no cooling
  • Inning RPE (Borg scale 6-20) and recovery (PRS score 1-10) were taken to monitor fatigue
    • I would like to see a modified Borg scale, since this is mostly used for aerobic activity
    • PRS scores were taken as not recovered (1) to fully recovered (10)
    • participants were familiarized with both scales before testing began
  • There were 2 sessions in this study. Session 2 was separated by 5-7 days
  • Cooling treatment = 2 bags of ice placed on the throwing shoulder and forearm
  • Average ball velocity was recorded every inning
    • Bushnell radar gun is the LOW END radar gun, so it is NOT the most accurate…

Results 

  • The cooling group saw a greater ball velocity in the 4th and 5th innings when compared to the control group
  • The cooling group seemed to recover better (higher PRS score) and were less fatigued (lower RPE score)

Discussion

  • I think it’s interesting that the authors say that cooling treatment can attenuate 2% of velocity loss in a “simulated game”. However, the tool that they used to measure ball velocity was NOT reliable. Therefore, I am skeptical of these findings
  • This is also assuming that every pitcher will work the same amount (60 pitches were controlled for)
  • Previous research showed that cooling treatments can result in 26% more work done. This may be good for chronic workload, but do we really need to throw “X” amount of pitches rather than “x” every game? Is more really better here?
  • Ice is mainly used for pain relief because it halts the pain-spasm cycle. This mechanism could be by pitchers “felt” like they could do more work
  • However, it is unclear how intermittent cooling can aid in “overuse” injuries. Throwing a baseball repeatedly has shown for an increase risk in overuse injuries
  • More study is needed to conclude the mechanisms behind intermittent cryotherapy. It’s application can be used in the game of baseball due to the intermittent nature of the game. 


Assessment of Professional Baseball Players Aerobic Exercise Performance Depending on Position (Yang, S.W. (2014)

Intro

  • VO2 max can be used to assess a player’s aerobic capacity
  • Lactate threshold is a better indicator of cardiovascular performance
  • Hypothesis is that position players will show a greater aerobic capacity than pitchers

Methods

  • 46 pitchers and 78 position players in the Korea Baseball Organization
  • Gradual maximal exercise test was used on a treadmill while participants were plugged up to a respiratory system to measure oxygen intake during exercise
  • 2 minutes at 5% grade and 3-mph speed; the grade remained the same but the speed increased 0.7-1.1 mph
  • When the respiratory exchange ratio (RER) was at a fixed point along with heart rate, this is when we would see a max in oxygen uptake
  • Before testing was done, body fat % was measured using the Body Biospace machine

Results and Discussion

  • Pitcher’s VO2 max was 53.64 mL*kg/min
  • Fielder’s VO2 max was 52.30 mL*kg/min
  • Korean high school baseball players have a higher VO2 max than professional players because most games are played in the day time, whereas professional players play at night
  • Baseball players have an anaerobic threshold of 77% VO2 max, which is more important for the development of the baseball player
  • Aerobic development is important for improving recovery for the baseball player, and anaerobic development is important for improving the performance a baseball player 


Strength and Conditioning Practices of Major League Baseball Strength and Conditioning Coaches (Ebben, W.P., Hintz, M.J., and Simenz, C.J. (2005)

Physical Testing

  • ONLY 21 COACHES RESPONDED TO THIS SURVEY
  • 21 coaches reported performing body composition assessments
    • most used skin fold tests
  • 9 coaches reported performing anaerobic capacity tests
    • 300-yard shuttle was the most popular
  • 7 coaches reported performing muscular strength tests
    • grip strength
    • 5-10 RM tests
    • 3-5 RM tests
  • 7 coaches reported performing agility tests
    • 5-10-5 (Pro-Agility)
    • Shuffle tests
  • 7 coaches reported performing muscular power tests
    • Vertical jump
    • Wingate
  • 7 coaches reported performing flexibility tests
    • sit and reach
    • trunk rotation
  • 5 coaches reported performing cardiovascular fitness tests
    • 1 mile run
    • 1.5 mile run
    • 2 mile run
  • 4 coaches reported performing speed tests
    • 60-yard dash
    • 40-yard dash
    • 20-yard dash
    • Home to first time
    • 10-yard acceleration
  • 3 coaches reported performing anthropometric tests
    • height and weight
    • muscle girth

Speed Development

  • All coaches reported that they train for speed in their programs
  • 21 coaches reported that they use form running in their programs
  • 18 coaches reported training speed endurance
  • 17 coaches reported using plyometrics for speed development
  • 11 coaches reported using resisted running
  • 4 coaches reported using assisted running

Plyometrics

  • 20 coaches reported using plyometrics in their programs
  • 9 coaches reported that they use plyometrics prior to their speed work
  • 8 coaches reported that they use plyometrics year-round
  • 10 coaches reported that they use plyometrics before their lifting
  • 8 coaches reported using a complex of weights and plyometrics within the same pairing of exercises
  • 2 coaches reported that it “depends on the player” when plugging in plyometric exercises

Strength/Power Development

  • 15 coaches reported that they train 4 days a week
  • 5 coaches reported that they train 3 days a week
  • 1 coach reported that they train 5 days a week
  • 16 coaches reported that their training sessions run between 45-60 minutes
  • Only 6 coaches reported using Olympic lifting exercises
  • The most important exercises listed: Squat, Lunge variations, Rotational Core variations, DB Shoulder variations, DB Row variations, Scapular stabilization variations, Push-Up variations, and multiple single-leg variations
  • Multiple coaches reported that they train the ENTIRE body EACH session
  • 18 of the 21 coaches reported that they create a periodized program with different phases/cycles

COMMENTS

  • 4 coaches reported that they do not perform percentage-based training. Rather, they auto-regulate and use workloads based on previous training sessions
  • 2 coaches reported that each athlete on the 40-man roster has an individualized program
  • Off-Season prescriptions = 2-6 sets, 1-15 repetitions
  • In-Season prescriptions = 2-3 sets, 8-12 repetitions
    • interesting how no one reported a 1-8 rep range in-season
    • 2 coaches reported they perform HIGHER reps IN-SEASON…uh oh…
  • 4 coaches reported using metabolic interval training for their pitchers
  • 3 coaches reported individualized programs, 3 coaches reported the opposite
  • 2 coaches believe that it is important to constantly train the aerobic system during the season to keep players on the field
  • 2 coaches reported re-occuring evaluations. If no one is getting hurt, they won’t change anything about the program


Complex Training for Power Development: Practical Applications for Program Design (Lim, J.J.H., and Barley, C.I. (2016)

Intro

  • Complex training aims to enhance the post-activation potentiation (PAP) effect
  • PAP is the enhanced neuromuscular condition after an initial bout of a heavier resistance training exercise
  • Theory 1 = within the localized muscle, the amount of high threshold motor unit recruitment is heavily increased, making actin and myosin (binding proteins) much more sensitive to Calcium (needed for muscular contraction)
  • Theory 2 = the spinal level where the muscle is potentiated is attributed to an increase in alpha-neuron activity, which is responsibly for activating more motor units

Intracomplex Recovery

  • defined as the rest time between the maximal exercise and ballistic exercise
  • muscle performance may improve if potentiation is greater than fatigue
    • muscle performance will decrease is fatigue is greater than potentiation
  • recovery ranges from 3-4 minutes
    • Big lift –> 3 to 4 minutes could be used on a mobility or stability exercise from opposing limbs

Training Status 

  • Lower body strength levels should be AT LEAST greater than 1.8*BW
  • Upper body strength levels should be AT LEAST greater than 1.4*BW
  • STRONGER individuals are able to dissipate fatigue better than weaker individuals due to amount of type-II muscle fibers
  • Moderately trained individuals may have a better training effect with the use of plyometric exercises
    • results in less fatigue being produced
  • Training for power, with the use of PAP, training cycles could last a anywhere from 6-10 weeks

Program example 

  • Highly trained athlete
    • A1 4×5 Deadlift
    • A2 4×12 Serratus Wall Slide with Lift
    • A3 Double Broad Jump
  • Moderately trained athlete
    • A1 3×6 Tuck Jumps
    • A2 3×2 min Foam Roller T-Spine Extensions
    • A3 3×6 Box Jumps SL landing


Comparing the Immediate Effects of a Total Motion Release Warm-Up and a Dynamic Warm-Up Protocol on the Dominant Shoulder in Baseball Athletes (Gamma, S.C., Baker, R., Nasypany, A., May, J., Seegmiller, J.G., and Iorio, S.M. (2017)

Intro

  • Due to sport specificity, multiple athletes will present muscular imbalances. Specifically in the sport of baseball, lateral asymmetry is a high indicator of injury risk
  • Static stretching has shown to increase flexibility, but it does not have a direct carry over to more dynamic movement
  • Dynamic warm ups are used to increase blood flow, decrease joint fluid stiffness, improve tissue lengths, and enhance neuromuscular coordination
  • The Total Motion Release System assesses the body as a unified system aiming to maintain a dynamic center of gravity during movement. Dysfunction at one joint will affect the joints above or below during movement.
  • The 6 movements in the TMR screen include: arm raise, single arm wall push up, trunk twist, single leg sit to stand, leg raise, and a weight-bearing toe touch (used unilaterally)
  • Previous research has shown that the TMR improves shoulder internal and external rotation deficits on the dominant shoulder in baseball players
  • The purpose of this study was to: assess the effect of improving shoulder IR and ER of the dominant shoulder compared to a general warm up, and determine if the order of applying the TMR system and a general warm up had an effect on changes in the dominant shoulder

Methods

  • 20 baseball players with at least 5 years of playing experience participated in this study
    • 17 right-handed, 3 left-handed
  • Cross over design was used so that each participant performed both interventions
  • Group 1 = General warm up to TMR, Group 2 = TMR to general warm up
  • Goniometer was used to assess joint ROM
    • for the shoulder, participants were in the supine position with the shoulder adbucted at 90* and elbow flexed at 90*
    • humeral head was NOT stabilized during the assessment so that the natural joint rhythm was not disturbed
    • pilot testing was confirmed that there was a high inter-rater reliability
  • General dynamic warm up was 15-20 minutes, ROM tests were measured again
  • Group 1 then performed the TMR system
    • 3 sets of a 30-second standing trunk twist to the side of ease with 30 seconds rest between each set
    • 3 sets of a 30-second arm raise to the side of ease with 30 seconds of rest between each set
    • ROM tests were taken again
  • Group 2 performed same TMR system movements, followed by ROM tests, followed by the general warm up, followed by ROM tests

Results 

  • A significant difference in shoulder IR was seen in both groups
    • There was a greater difference in shoulder IR in group 1 (6.2*) compared to group 2 (18.2*)
  • Group 1 experienced a great change in IR and ER following the TMR system
  • Group 2 experienced the opposite effects when performed the dynamic warm up AFTER the TMR system

Discussion

  • Group 2 produced a total motion arc of 180* on the dominant shoulder, and Group 1 did not show the same improvements
  • This shows us that a general dynamic warm up does not address specific joint needs
  • HOWEVER, when the application of TMR was AFTER the general warm up, changes in IR and ER were GREATER 
  • When performing a warm up, always go from GENERAL to SPECIFIC
  • Future research is needed to determine the time effect the TMR system has on lasting joint ranges of motion


Strategic Exercise Prescription for Baseball: Bridging the Gap Between Injury Prevention and Power Production (Gillett, J., O’Brien, L., Ryan, M., Rogowski, J. (2009)

Intro

  • Different phases of programming are to ensure the athlete develops a base of strength before getting into more power work and more specialized strength training
  • Age, experience level, genetics, movement profile, cognitive ability, agility, and gender must all be considered when programming

B.A.S.E.S Model

  • Balance, Agility, Strength, Explosiveness, and Speed
  • a model of programming determined by neurological order of learning
  • Balance exercises can be used for static or isometric contractions early on in a session (or at the end)
  • Agility exercises can be used for neuromuscular communication
  • Strength work is simply creating an external load that requires the internal load of the body to work harder and adapt to that stress
  • Explosiveness is a compilation of proper balance, agility, and strength in a multi-planar fashion
  • Speed work is applied at maximal velocity

Creating a Foundation of Stability 

  • Initial exercises when an athlete begins training should be focused on creating pelvic , spinal, and scapular stability
  • Single leg exercises should be focused on creating stability before advanced movements in later phases of training
    • aids in neuromuscular conditioning
  • Crawling variations are excellent for creating scapular stability
  • Once stability has been established, then move the athlete into larger ranges of motion to further strengthen

Proprioception vs Explosiveness 

  • Joint stabilization with movement = proprioception
  • serves to prevent injury and is a precursor for strength gains, power production, and speed output
  • Hip extension exercises in the correct firing patterns can be used to prevent hamstring strains
  • Properly progress stability exercises with movements that occur at higher velocities
    • Front Squat paired with a box jump

Superficial Strength vs Deep Strength

  • Common resting posture patterns are the “upper cross” and “lower cross” syndromes
    • Tight pecs and tight hip flexors and lumbar extensors, respectively
  • Mobilize the tight structures, and use isometric contractions to reteach the muscle how to fire in the correct position
  • These exercises do not have a carry-over to power production. Rather, these should be use as “correctives”

Baseball-Specific Adaptations

  • It is important to focus on multiple athletic qualities in one session since this is how the athlete excels in their sport
  • Progressions should be made each phase within the same movement patterns
  • There should be a difficulty rating for each exercise you have in your “library”
    • harder exercises should be used in later phases
  • Complex training (3-4 exercises at a time) are the best way to create multiple qualities in one session
  • ALWAYS use isometric core variations to create stability FIRST
  • Determine where each exercise fits in the B.A.S.E.S model


Engineering a Strong Pitching Elbow: An Off-Season Training Plan (Borrelli, A. (2009)

Phases of the Pitching Motion and the Elbow

  • Stride phase = the elbow joint should be flexed between 80-100* at stride foot contact
  • Arm Cocking phase = when the elbow goes under extreme torque and rotation, so stabilization in this position is critical
  • Arm Acceleration phase = the most intense phase for the elbow
    • the elbow should begin to extend as the trunk is flexing over the front leg
    • elbow extensors are responsible for for maintaining the maximal external rotation of the shoulder joint as the arm is accelerating through space
  • Follow-Through = the elbow rapidly extends towards end range and is decelerated by the elbow flexors

Kinesiology of the Elbow Joint

  • Major flexor muscles for the elbow = biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and the brachialis
    • act as stabilizers and decelerators during arm acceleration
    • The brachialis is the only flexor muscle that functions with the forearm in all 3 elbow positions of the throwing motion
  • Major extensor muscles for the elbow = triceps brachii and anconeus
    • responsible for concentric contractions during arm acceleration and follow through

Target Exercise Requirements 

  • The elbow must be trained to contract both concentrically, isometrically, and eccentrically in all 3 positions of supination, pronation, and in neutral
  • The shoulder should also be in multiple positions since the shoulder and forearm both work together when delivering the ball towards home plate
  • Elbow extensors should be trained to plyometrically contract in varied forearm positions
  • The wrist joint only contributes to 21% of throwing velocity. Getting your elbow stronger won’t result in you throwing harder, but it will save your elbow for increasing workload on your arm
  • The wrist should be trained to contract in multiple positions in the sagittal and frontal planes of motion
  • Decreased range of motion in the wrist will alter the length-tension relationship in the elbow
    • decreased supination of the elbow joint will effect the amount of elbow flexion
  • Stabilization drills of the elbow and forearm
    • MB ABS’s and rhythmic stabilizations
    • PVC grip work with stabilization’s
  • Concentric/Eccentric drills of the elbow and forearm
    • hammer curls
    • reverse curls
    • curls with supination/pronation during the movement
    • overhead elbow supination/pronation
    • elbow supination/pronation with the arm in 90* of shoulder flexion
  • Plyometric drills of the elbow and forearm
    • wrist flips in multiple angles of the forearm and elbow
    • ball drops in multiple angles of the forearm and elbow
    • drills with rapid deceleration
  • A pitcher with a history of elbow problems should start elbow training early in the offseason and continue to get it stronger in-season


A Reliable Method for Assessing Rotational Power (Andre, M.J., Fry, A.C., Heyrman, M.A., Hudy, A., Holt, B., Roberts, C., Vardiman, J.P., and Gallagher, P.M. (2012)

Intro

  • There has been no research to date investigating a reliable way to assess rotational power

Methods 

  • 23 participants volunteered for this study
  • 2 data collection sessions were used to measure the reliability of the rotational power tests
  • all participant started in the seated position until they reached 180* of rotation
    • 3 trials at 9% BW, 12% BW, and 15% BW
    • the repetition with the greatest peak power was used for analysis
  • the height of the pulley was set to the participants shoulders and was recorded for reliability
  • an external dynamometer was attached to the weight stack of the cable machine to measure peak power and mean power
    • the device they used has been shown to be reliable in assessing power

Results

  • 9% BW was 20.1 during session 1, and 22.3 in session 2. Statistically insignificant
  • 12% BW was 26.2 during session 1, and 28.7 during session 2. Statistically insignificant
  • 15% BW was 30.7 during session 1, and 33.5 during session 2. Statistically insignificant
  • Intraclass coefficient correlation was 0.97, 0.94, and 0.95 for 9%, 12%, and 15% BW, respectively

Discussion

  • the athletic population may need to use higher loads to show a reliable and constant measure of peak power. The sample used in this study were college-aged students who were not a part of any athletic team
  • it would be more specific if the participants were athletes and in the standing position. However, reliability would be lost because there are more “moving parts” when in the standing position


Injury Prevention for Throwing Athletes Part 1: Baseball Bat Training to Enhance Medial Elbow Dynamic Stability (Crotin, R.L. and Ramsey, D.K. (2012)


Preventing Lumbar Injuries in Rotational Striking Athletes (Gillies, A., and Dorgo, S. (2013)

Intro

  • Between 21% to 84% of rotational athletes have experienced some type of low back back
  • 3 primary subsystems work together in the lumbar spine
    • passive system = ligaments, intervertebral discs, and vertebrae
    • local system = muscles and tendons
    • neural system = nerves and neurons

Lumbar Spine Mechanics 

  • Rotation itself may not be bad for the lumbar spine. Rather, rotation allows for fluid to move around between the intervertebral discs (IVD) to increase nutrient turn over
  • The Safe Zone = the normal range of motion within normal function of the lumbar spine without putting too much stress on the tissue
  • Maximal available rotation for the lumbar spine is 5-7*, and is less during lumbar extension
    • spinal flexion paired with rotation increases lumbar rotation by 13.8%
    • extension decreases rotation by 24%
  • rotation paired with excessive extension puts violent compression forces on the IVD
  • The spinal position may be different and unique for each hitter, and will definitely change based on pitch location
  • The athlete must be able to maintain proper spinal posture at ball contact
  • For athletes with low back pain, the erector spinae and transverse abdominus may be weak (or the co-contraction of these muscles)
    • studies in golfers show that those with back pain fired their external obliques and erector spinae before the backswing, resulting in more compressive forces to be delivered during the swing
  • Training the musculature of the spine and trunk is vector specific
    • rotational power comes from the co-contraction of multiple muscle groups
    • rather than getting single-muscle groups stronger, it is important to train an anti-rotational and rotational exercise
  • Several studies have shown that those with low back pain also have decreased range of motion at the hip joint
  • Sub-optimal thoracic range of motion will also create compensations at the lower back

Training

  • Muscles that directly control intersegmental movement of the lumbar spine = erector spinae, transverse abdominis, multifidus, quadratus lumbordum, and psoas major
    • local musculature made primarily of type I muscle fibers. TRAIN YOUR CORE ENDURANCE
  • Global musculature = internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, upper and lower trapezius, rhomboids, and latissimus dorsi
    • create movements about the thoracic spine in relation to the hips
    • TRAIN YOUR CORE STRENGTH … much more important in the athletic population
  • Increase your core (spinal) stability before moving onto rotational core strength
  • Maintaining proper mobility and stability of the spine and in the hips will decrease the risk of in dry in rotational athletes 


Medicine Ball Training Implications for Rotational Power Sports (Earp, J.E., and Kraemer, W.J. (2010)


Multimode Resistance Training to Improve Baseball Batting Power (Ebben, W.P., and Fotsch, A. (2006)


Effect of Torso Rotational Strength on Angular Hip, Angular Shoulder, and Linear Bat Velocities of High School Baseball Players (Szymanski, D.J., McIntyre, J.S., Szymanski, J.M., Bradford, T.J., Schade, R.L., Madsen, N.H., and Pascoe, D.D. (2007)


Effect of Twelve Weeks of Medicine Ball Training on High School Baseball Players (Szymanski, D.J., Szymanski, J.M., Bradford, T.J., Schade, R.L., and Pascoe, D.D. (2007)


Comparison of Three Baseball-Specific 6-Week Training Programs on Throwing Velocity in High School Baseball Players (Escamilla, R.F., Ionnio, M., DeMahy, M.S., Fleisig, G.S., Wilk, K.E., Yamashiro, K., Mikla, T., Paulos, L., and Andrews, J.R. (2012)


Baseball Throwing Velocity: A Comparison of Medicine Ball Training and Weight Training (Newton, R.U., and McEvoy, K.P. (1994)


Plyometric Exercises for Overhead-Throwing Athletes (Pretz, R. (2006)


Preseason Training for College Baseball (Hammer, E. (2009)


Preseason Training for Youth Baseball Players (Szymanski, D.J. (2013)


Preseason Shoulder Strength Measurements in Professional Baseball Pitchers: Identify Players at Risk of Injury (Bryam, I.R., Bushnell, B.D>, Dugger, K., Charron, K., Harrell Jr, F.E., and Noonan, T.J. (2010)


Collegiate Baseball In-Season Training (Szymanski, D.J. (2007)


In-Season Strength and Conditioning Programming for Collegiate Baseball Pitchers: A Unified Approach (Kritz, M., Mamula, R., Messey, K., and Hobbs, M. (2008)


Comparison of In-Season Specific Resistance vs. A Regular Throwing Training Program on Throwing Velocity, Anthropometry, and Power Performance in Elite Handball Players (Hermassi, S., Van Den Tillaar, R., Khijfa, R., Souhaiel Chelly, M., and Chamari, K. (2015)


Effects of High Volume Upper Extremity Plyometric Training on Throwing Velocity and Functional Strength Ratios of the Shoulder Rotators in Collegiate Baseball Players (Carter, A.B., Kaminski, T.W., Douex Jr., A.T., Knight, C.A., and Richards, J.G. (2007)


Effects of Various Resistance Training Methods on Overhead Throwing Power Athletes: A Brief Review (Szymanski, D.J. (2012)


Increasing Ball Velocity in the Overhead Athlete: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials (Myers, N.L., Sciascia, A.D., Westgate, P.M., Kibler, W.B., and Uhl, T.L. (2015)


Effects of Strength Training on Throwing Velocity and Shoulder Muscle Performance in Teenage Baseball Players (Wooden, M.J., Greenfield, B., Johanson, M., Litzelman, L., Mundrane, M., and Donatelli, R.A. (1992)


Correlation of Throwing Velocity to the Results of Lower-Body Field Tests in Male College Baseball Players (Lehman, G., Drinkwater, E.J., and Behm, D.G. (2013)


Effects of Weighted Implement Training on Throwing Velocity (DeRenne, C., Ho, K., and Blitzbau, A. (1990)


Effects of Under- and Overweighted Implement Training on Pitching Velocity (DeRenne, C., Buxton, B.P., Hetzler, R.K., and Ho, K.W. (1994)


Effects of Throwing Overweighted and Underweight Baseballs on Throwing Velocity and Accuracy (Escamilla, R.F., Speer, K.P., Fleisig, G.S., Barrentine, S.W., and Andrews, J.R. (2000)


Implement Weight Training Programs (DeRenne, C. (1987)


Baseball Throwing Speed and Base Running Speed: The Effects of Ballistic Resistance Training (McEvoy, K.P. and Newton, R.U. (1998)


Data-Based Interval Throwing Programs for Little League, High School, and Professional Baseball Pitchers (Axe, M.J., Wickham, R., and Snyder-Mackler, L. (2001)


Defining the Long-Toss. A Professional Baseball Epidemiological Study (Stone, A.V., Mannava, S., Patel, A., Marquez-Lara, A., and Freehill, M.T. (2017)


Training the Shoulder Complex in Baseball Players: A Sport-Specific Approach (Jeran, J.J., and Chetlin, R.D. (2005)


Effect of a High-Intensity Isometric Potentiating Warm-Up on Bat Velocity (Gilmore, S.L. (2013, Master’s Thesis)


Relationship Between Upper-Body Strength and Bat Swing Speed in High-School Baseball Players (Miyaguchi, K., and Demura, S. (2012)


Contributing Factors for Increased Bat Swing Velocity (Szymanski, D.J., DeRenne, C., and Spaniol, F.J. (2009)


The Acute and Chronic Effects of Isometric Contraction Conditioning on Baseball Bat Velocity (Higuchi, T., Nagami, T., Mizuguchi, N., and Anderson, T. (2013)


The Effect of Pitch Type on Ground Reaction Forces in the Baseball Swing (Fortenbaugh, D., Fleisig, G., Onar-Thomas, A., and Asfour, S. (2011)


The Effects of Various Weighted Implements on Baseball Swing Kinematics in Collegiate Baseball Players (Williams, C.C., Gdovin, J.R., Wilson, S.J., Cazas-Moreno, V.L., Eason, J.D., Hoke, E.L., Allen, C.R., Wade, C., and Garner, J.C. (2017)


Effects of Small Muscle Training on Baseball Hitting Performance: A Brief Review (Szymanski, D.J., and DeRenne, C. (2010)


Effects of Training with a Dynamic Moment of Inertia Bat on Swing Performance (Liu, C., Liu, Y.C., Kao, Y.C., and Shiang T.Y. (2011)


The Effects of Baseball Bat Mass Properties on Swing Mechanics, Ground Reaction Forces, and Swing Timing (Laughlin, W.A., Fleisig, G.S., Aune, K.T., and Diffendaffer, A.Z. (2016)


The Effect of Different Warm-Up Procedures on Bat Speed in Baseball (Kim, Y.K. (2013)


Warm-Up with Weighted Bat and Adjustment of Upper Limb Muscle Activity in Bat Swinging Under Movement Correction Conditions (Ohta, Y., Ishii, Y., Ikudome, S., and Nakamoto, H. (2014)


Warm-Up with Baseball Bats of Varying Moments of Inertia: Effect on Bat Velocity and Swing Pattern (Southard, D. and Groomer, L. (2003)


Effects of Muscular Strength, Exercise Order, and Acute Whole-Body Vibration Exposure on Bat Swing Speed (Reyes, G.F.C., Dickin, D.C., Dolny, D.G., and Crusat, N.J.K. (2010)


Effects of Warm Up with Various Weighted Implements on Baseball Bat Swing Velocity (DeRenne, C., Ho, K.W., Hetzler, R.K., and Chai, D.X. (1992)


Effects of Various Warm-Up Devices and Rest Period Lengths on Batting Velocity and Acceleration of Intercollegiate Baseball Players (Wilson, J.M., Miller, A.L., Szymanski, D.J., Duncan, N.M., Anderson, J.C., Alcantara, Z.G., Morrison, T.J., and Bergman, C.J. (2012)


The Donut: Does it Improve Bat Velocity? (DeRenne, C. (1991)


After-Effects of Using a Weighted Bat on Subsequent Swing Velocity and Batters Perceptions of Swing Velocity and Heaviness (Masafumi, T.O., and Kinoshita, H. (2002)


Evaluating the Effects of Underloaded and Overloaded Warm Ups on Subsequent Swing Velocity (Miller, R.M., Heishman A.D., Freitas, E.D.S., and Bemben, M.G. (2017)


Game Speed Training in Baseball (Crotin, R. (2009)


Baseball (Part II): A Periodized Speed Program (Szymanski, D.J., Fredrick, G.A. (2001)


A New Method for the Evaluation and Prediction of Base Stealing Performance (Bricker, J.C., Bailey, C.A., Driggers, A.R., McInnis, T.C., and Alami, A. (2016)


Assessing Running Speed and Body Composition in Professional Baseball Players (Coleman, A.E., and Lasky, L.M. (1992)


Relationship Between Performance Variables and Baseball Ability in Youth Baseball Players (Nakata, H., Nagami, T., Higuchi, T., Sakamoto, K., and Kanosue, K. (2013)


Performance Eating for Baseball (Bonci, L. (2009)

The Pre-Nutrition

  • It takes approximately 1 hour for 30 ounces of fluid to leave the stomach and be absorbed. Staying hydrated throughout competition can positively affect the athlete’s mental and physical state
  • Caffeine is a great tool to use pre-game for mental focus and priming the central nervous system to be more “awake”
    • 200-300 mg pre-exercise has shown to improve focus and reaction times
    • STAY AWAY FROM ENERGY DRINKS … although high in caffeine, they also contain random chemicals that increase heart rate, decrease thirst levels, and increase gastrointestinal stress
  • “Quick carbs” before a game might be a good thing; the body will use this quick energy as fuel right away, sparing muscle glycogen which can lead to earlier fatigue
  • Pre-game nutrition is going to be highly variable on the individual: some players like to play “hungry”, some players need to play with some food in their stomach. Communicate!
  • Snacks higher in fats take longer to digest, and will make the athlete feel more “full” prior to physical activity
  • FLUIDS must have 5-8% sugars and electrolytes, especially when playing in the heat. It’s safe to have 20 ounces an hour before game time

The “During” Nutrition

  • Sweat Rate
    • (Pre-Exercise weight – Post-Exercise Weight) / number of hours spent during exercise = hourly sweat rate
    • how can we make this “applicable?”
  • consume 24 ounces of water for every pound lost during activity
  • An easy way to determine if you need more water is to assess your thirst and urine color. If your saliva is bubbly and dry, you need water. If your urine is dark, you need more water
  • Always have a quick source of carbs ready
    • Fruits
    • To-go apple sauces
    • Trail mix and others
    • Granola and granola bars, and other cereal bars
  • Check your baseball hat. On a hot day, do you have a bunch of white marks on the inside where your forehead sits on? If so, you need to make sure you place sodium and extra electrolytes in your drinks to prevent dehydration and muscle cramping
    • Add ½ teaspoon of salt to a 32 oz. sport drink
    • Throw some salt on your snacks if already low in sodium

The Post-Nutrition

  • Carbohydrates and protein need to be paired together to begin the muscle-rebuilding process
    • If you pitched, your body is going through severe stress and remodeling, so this is the time to eat as part of your “arm care” program
    • 50-75g of carbohydrates, 20-30g or protein
    • peanut butter and jelly, beef jerky, greek yogurt, low-fat chocolate milk or almond milk
  • Post-game nutrition should be considered within 0-30 minutes of the last out of the game

Breakfast

  • Should be consumed within an hour of waking, including 16-20 ounces of water
    • Options: Eggs, toast, orange juice, protein shake, fruit bowl, oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly, smoothies
  • The time when you wake up must also be considered: what if you have an 8am game? This will affect when you eat and how much you will eat, and will “set the tone” for the rest of the day

Lunch

  • Choose foods higher in carbohydrates
    • Turkey/ham/chicken/tuna
    • Pasta and beans/rice
    • Grilled chicken salad with bread

Dinner

  • If you have a very late game, make sure you eat light. Having a heavy meal will affect your digestion and sleeping patterns at night
    • Baked fish with veggies
    • Pasta and some type of meat
    • Chicken or steak fajitas
    • Soups
    • Cereal with some sort of fruit or yogurt (or both!)


I am the target text.

VISUOMOTOR (5)

Accelerating Expertise with Part-Task Training of Macrocognitive Skills in the Baseball Workplace (Fadde, P.J. (2016)


High Performance Vision Training Improves Batting Statistics for University of Cincinnati Baseball Players (Clark, J.F., Ellis, J.K., Bench, J., Khoury, J., and Graman, P. (2012)


Effects of Stimulus-Response Compatibility in Mediating Expert Performance in Baseball Players (Nakamoto, H., and Mori, S. (2008)


Intensive Baseball Practice Improves the Go/NoGo Reaction Time but Not the Simple Reaction Time (Kida, N., Oda, S., and Matsumura, M. (2004)


Improved Vision and On Field Performance in Baseball through Perceptual Learning (Deveau, J., Ozer, D.J., and Seitz, A.R. (NR)


The Baseball-Science Encyclopedia™

Jarad Vollkommer, CSCS, B.Sc.

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