Analyzing Spin Rate and How to Incorporate it into Training Pitchers

By Robbie Aviles (RHP Cleveland Indians, Pitching Lab Coach)

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There is no doubt that the pitching world is begin taken over by new information.  MLB’s Statcast system, Trackman radars and Rapsodo cameras and devices are showing up everywhere measuring velocity, spin rate, spin axes, among other things.  And pitchers and coaches are digging in to see how to include all this information in their preparation and training. [Read more…]

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Protecting the UCL (Tommy John Ligament)

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

Elbow Image

A recent study in The Physician and Sports Medicine showed that 29% of youth baseball players up to the age of 12 reported episodes of shoulder or elbow pain.  Another report in the Journal of Arthroscopy noted 31% of pitchers up to the age of 22 have experienced an arm injury as well.  Over a third of Tommy John procedures performed are done on youth pitchers.  Here is a graph showing the rise in Tommy John surgeries performed on youth each year by Dr. Andrews:

UCL surgery chart

Today, I want to touch on three things we do here to help stabilize and protect the UCL (Tommy John Ligament):

  1. Strengthen the “Flexor / Pronator” Groups
  2. Improve Shoulder Mobility
  3. Controlling Excessive ROM During the Season

1. Strengthen the “Flexor / Pronator” Groups – These are some of the muscles that help stabilize and protect the elbow, especially in the “layback” position:

  • Flexor Digitorum Superficialis
  • Flexor Carpi Radialis
  • Flexor Carpi Ulnaris
  • Pronator Teres

The flexor digitorum superficialis is an extrinsic muscle that allows the four medial fingers of the hand to flex. These fingers include the index, middle, ring, and pinkie fingers.

flexor digitorum superficialis

The flexor carpi radialis muscle is a relatively thin muscle located on the anterior part of the forearm. It performs the function of providing flexion of the wrist and assists in abduction of the hand and wrist.

flexor carpi radialis

The flexor carpi ulnaris arises along with the other superficial muscles, from the medial epicondyle of the humerus. These muscles flex the wrist and adduct it (move it laterally in the direction of ulnar).

flexor carpi ulnaris

The pronator teres muscle is located on the palmar side of the forearm, below the elbow. its function is to rotate the forearm palm-down. This is also known as pronation.

pronator teres

Here are a few of the exercises we do to strengthen the flexor/pronator group.

  • Stretch – Wrist flexion/extension Stretch (x 20-30 sec/side)
  • Strengthening Exercises (1-2 sets ea / 2x per week)

(Isolated DB Wrist Curls – x10/side)

(Grip Strength – x3/ea way)

(Pronators – x8 reps)

2. Improve Shoulder Mobility – A lack of shoulder flexion has been shown to place stress on the medial elbow. Improving shoulder mobility will go a long way in helping to take extra torque /stress off the UCL.

(Band Res. Shoulder Flexion)

(Side Lying Windmill)

3. Controlling Excessive ROM During the Season – Gains in external rotation (ER) happen naturally from throwing during the season, but excessive gains in ER can create an unstable shoulder, forcing the elbow to have to take up the slack and placing added stress on the UCL. Monitoring throwing volume as well as participating in a good strength training program complete with shoulder stabilizations during the season can be a career saver.

See ya in the gym…
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Throwing 1x per Week Simply Doesn’t Cut it

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

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The pitching police tend to fall into one of 2 categories. You have those that believe:

  • there are only so many bullets in the gun “crowd”, and then,
  • there are those who believe you can load as many bullets as you need.

[Read more…]

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Parents… Stop Wasting Your Money – Part 3 (Catchers and Position Players)

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-owner RPP)

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Here we go with Part 3 of this series on “Stop Wasting Your Money”.  This one is for catchers and position players (please click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2, related to pitchers).

[Read more…]

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Hitters Rx… Inside the Nets

By Mike Rozema (Power 5 Baseball, Director of Hitting at RPP)

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Hitters Rx is a comprehensive hitting and strength and conditioning program designed to cover just about every aspect of a player’s off-season training as well as teaching them the necessary skills to play at any competitive level.  It is divided into several pieces, including Day 1 Assessment, Mobility, Absolute Strength (November/December), Strength/Speed (January) and Speed/Explosiveness (February) and of course a completely well thought-out and pre-programmed hitting program inside the hitting nets.  [Read more…]

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Parents… Stop Wasting Your Money – Part 2

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-owner RPP)

Toilet Paper Dollar Bills

When I wrote this article on ball players wasting their money, I didn’t think that there would be a Part 2 (click here for Part 1) or a Part 3.  But then we were provided with several years of showcase results and data by a showcase operator.  So, here we go with “Stop Wasting Your Money – Part 2” related specifically to pitchers (Part 3 will cover position players).

[Read more…]

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Pitching Lab… How We Merge Pitching and Strength Training

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

Collusion Pic (2)

The Pitching Lab is a unique training program specifically designed to produce the “complete pitcher”. It is truly a merger of strength training (in the weight room) and pitching (inside the nets).  Most players that haven’t trained with us probably don’t appreciate how intertwined our strength training is with our pitching / throwing program.

[Read more…]

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Creating Power in the Swing – Part 2

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

Power in the Swing Top

In Part 1 of this article (click here) we discussed different phases of the swing and how they need to be trained with different methods in the weight room. Today, we’ll take a brief look at how we do that. This is an integral part of our hitting programs. [Read more…]

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Training Explosiveness with Plyometrics

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)

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When most of us think of what comprises a great strength training program, we think of training force production.  While this is crucial to enhance performance, the dissipation (absorption) of force is vital not only to performance, but for reducing the risk of injury as well.  We can’t talk about either force production or dissipation without talking about plyometrics. Numerous studies have shown that performing plyometric training:

  • Improves soft tissue quality
  • Helps reduce the risk of injury
  • Increases throwing velocity

[Read more…]

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Please Stop Wasting Your Money

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-owner RPP)

Dollar bills fly in flocks

Someone has to say it…  Please stop wasting your money.  I am telling you this, because unfortunately, as a parent I wasted plenty. [Read more…]

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