If Running Poles is Bad, What Should We Be Doing Instead?

October 7, 2017

 

As fall ball picks up over the next month or so pitchers across the country are most likely running dozens of poles after their outings. It’s time to put this longstanding baseball tradition to rest. It does not help you pitch longer into games and it most definitely does not flush out the lactic acid. (Blood lactate levels return to normal after pitching)

 

There is plenty of evidence out there to support this:

Potteiger, J., Blessing, D., & Wilson, G. D. (1992). The Physiological Responses to a Single Game of Baseball Pitching. Journal of Applied Sport Science Research

 

Rhea, M., Oliverson, J., Marshall, G., Peterson, M., Kenn, J., & Ayllon, F. (2008). Noncompatibilty of Power and Endurance Training Among College Baseball Players. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 230-234.

 

https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/methods-for-training-baseball-players/

Although the evidence clearly suggests that baseball player’s strength and conditioning should focus on developing power, it is important not to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Your aerobic capacity does not play a major factor in pitching performance, but it does have a role in recovery (Not flushing lactic acid!). Pitchers need to be able to recover between pitches and between outings.

 

Distance Running Alternatives

 

 We understand that pitching is predominately an anaerobic exercise, aerobic capacity still plays a role, but distance running is a horribly inefficient way to do it.

 

So what alternatives do we have that will not zap our athleticism and compromise our speed and power output? Evidence will suggest that as long as the aerobic activity is kept below 60-70% of max heart rate it will not affect your strength or power.

 

Here’s what we recommend:

 

Interval Training

 

Interval training has shown to increase Vo2 max without having to do long steady state aerobic training. Interval training involves a bout of high intensity, which should be an anaerobic exercise, paired with a recovery period.

 

A couple examples of this would be shuttle runs (suicides) and tempo sprints.

 

For a shuttle run we’ll set cones at 5, 10, and 15 Yards. The athlete simply runs to the 5 yard marker and back, the 10 and back, and the 15 and back for a total of 60 yards. We’ll prescribe 5 reps with 45 seconds of rest between each rep.  This should give the athlete roughly a 3:1 rest to work ratio. An added benefit to this is the change of direction training. Lord knows there’s a lot of pitchers out there that could use some extra athleticism. (Another argument against distance runs)

 

Tempo sprints will go as follows:

 

  • Set Cones 60 yards apart

  • The athlete will sprint the distance at approximately 80-90% intensity

  • Walk back for recovery

 

It is important to tell the pitcher that this should not look like a jog. It should be sprint mechanics but at less than 100% RPE. The walk back recovery time should again give roughly a 3:1 rest to work ratio. We’ll have our athletes do 8 reps.

 

Mobility Circuits

 

This is a newer form of conditioning that I stole from Eric Cressey a couple years ago and so far it has worked out great for our pitchers. It is simply a series of mobility drills paired together and performed circuit style. This can be a great option for stiffer pitchers that could benefit from some extra mobility work on their off days from lifting. I prefer not to use this on our pitchers that have more joint laxity, but if I did it would consist of core and stability drills rather than mobility.

 

A sample Mobility Circuit would look something like this:

 

A1) Dead bugs w/ full exhale 3x8/8

A2) Hip Bridge w/ Reach 3x8/8

 

B1) All Fours T-Spine Extension/Rotation 3x8/8

B2) Spiderman w/ Reach 3x8/8

 

C1) Bowler Squats 3x8/8

C2) Forearm Wall Slides w/ Lift Off 3x8

 

D1) Knee Pull to Reverse Lunge w/ Reach 3x6/6

D2) Band Pull Aparts 3x10

 

E1) Quad Stretch to Lateral Lunge w/ Reach 3x6/6

E2) Lateral Band Walk 3x10/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Faer, Ryan. “Facts Behind Running Poles For Pitchers – And Two Alternatives.” Driveline Baseball, Driveline Baseball, 6 Mar. 2017, www.drivelinebaseball.com/2016/09/facts-behind-long-distance-running-pitchers-two-alternatives/.

Rabena, Rob. “Should Pitchers Distance Run? What the Research Says.” Ericcressey.com, 2012, ericcressey.com/should-pitchers-distance-run-what-the-research-says

Potteiger, J., Blessing, D., & Wilson, G. D. (1992). The Physiological Responses to a Single Game of Baseball Pitching. Journal of Applied Sport Science Research

Rhea, M., Oliverson, J., Marshall, G., Peterson, M., Kenn, J., & Ayllon, F. (2008). Noncompatibilty of Power and Endurance Training Among College Baseball Players. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 230-234.

 

DiLallo, Matt. “Methods for Training Baseball Players.” Www.nsca.com/Education/Articles/Methods-for-Training-Baseball-Players/,

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Recent Posts
Please reload

Archive
Please reload

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
REDLINE ATHLETICS SJC
32405 CALLE PERFECTO  SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA 92675
949-661-6846
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon