Overtraining - A Serious Problem

I wrote an article to my blog (Driveline Mechanics) about the phenomenon of Overtraining and how prevalent it is in high school sports. The article can be found here:

http://www.drivelinemechanics.com/2009/10/20/1093212/training-overtraining-or-what-i

Many people on this board post workouts that are used by MLB players or college coaches, or simply make them up with 10 exercises done per day, four times a week. These are unacceptable workout plans for novices, which nearly everyone is (heck, I’m still a novice in many of my lifts).

Being a novice is not a bad thing: It means you can add weight every workout session without fear of overtraining. This assumes you have a solid workout program in place - something like Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength protocol or Eric Cressey’s Maximum Strength program.

An effective lifting program is simple and must (absolutely MUST) have some form of the squat in it.

“If you can’t squat, don’t bother training.” -Mark Rippetoe

Avoiding the Overhead Press is probably a good idea for pitchers, as it is a contraindicated lift for overhand throwers. However, the rest of the lifts build overall fitness and will make you a stronger (and more powerful - not the same thing as strength) athlete.

What do you think of my workout log kyle?

http://www.letstalkpitching.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=11644

[quote=“JR.Navarro34”]What do you think of my workout log kyle?

http://www.letstalkpitching.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=11644[/quote]

I think it is admirable that you are working very hard towards a very difficult goal. That being said, I think your particular workout isn’t great. You should choose a workout plan that works the entire body and uses the stabilizer muscles as well. Machines are not good - the Hack Squat is not a squat by any real definition.

Your programming is similarly poor. Pyramiding your weights (12-10-8-6) is not the best way to build strength. Sets across is - 5-5-5 of heavy squats, bench press, and power cleans, for example.

Your complex/circuit training is good.

You need good barbell training. I recommend the following workout:

MWF - Weight lifting. Find your working sets for the listed lifts and then alternate the following workouts:

Workout A:
-Front Squat
-DB Bench Press
-Power Clean
-Back Extensions

Workout B:
-Front Squat
-DB Cuban Press (Google should explain what this is)
-Deadlift
-Reverse crunches

T-Th - Light tubing/DB/BW work.

-Thrower’s Ten (Google will find this program for you)
-Reverse crunches, 2x10
-Push-ups, 3x8
-Chin-ups (assisted by a jump if need be), 3 sets to failure
-SPORT SPECIFIC: Light long toss.

Sat: Metabolic conditioning and max bullpen.

-Circuit training, similar to the running up stairs with a 45 lb. plate, squats, etc.
-Throw a maximum velocity bullpen.

Sun: Rest.

Above all, you need to get off the machines and replace them with functional barbell and dumbbell workouts.

So you are basically saying Im working hard, but not smart?

The only problem with the squat, according to my baseball coach, is that technique is extremely important for injury prevention. He doesn’t like us doing it without some kind of supervision - either his or a certified trainer like you would find at the Y.

Woolforth says the same thing in his stuff. Woolforth uses box jumps and lunges to do the same thing for pitchers as squats. He says you are less likely to get hurt since technic isn’t as critical to doing these exercises. It is also easier to find the equipment to do lunges - since you can do these with dumbbells. And you could probably have this equipment at your house- where you probably don’t have an olympic bar, squat rack and 300 lbs of weights at your house for doing squats.

I really don’t know though - my father and I squated over the summer and we squat in baseball class - but for the most part I stick with lunges and box jumps. in my after school workouts.

If you do want a instruction of how to do squats - Crossfit.com has video of how they should be done. They also have video of a whole bunch of other lifts, including the olympic lifts.

my son’s workout does not include squats. it did but his spine cannot handle the stress. is mark a baseball specific trainer? does he train anyone in the big leagues or first round draft picks?

how much dedicated forearm work do your guys do? how many guys do you train. what is your background?

your program is almost 180’ from what we are doing. we do drop sets and machine lifts. need to evaluate what we’re doing based on your information. what is the background of the 2 guys you recommend?

Yes, exactly. Work hard AND smart. But finding someone who will work hard is much tougher, so give yourself a lot of credit there. :slight_smile:

[quote=“kidmullen”]The only problem with the squat, according to my baseball coach, is that technique is extremely important for injury prevention. He doesn’t like us doing it without some kind of supervision - either his or a certified trainer like you would find at the Y.

Woolforth says the same thing in his stuff. Woolforth uses box jumps and lunges to do the same thing for pitchers as squats. He says you are less likely to get hurt since technic isn’t as critical to doing these exercises. It is also easier to find the equipment to do lunges - since you can do these with dumbbells. And you could probably have this equipment at your house- where you probably don’t have an olympic bar, squat rack and 300 lbs of weights at your house for doing squats.

I really don’t know though - my father and I squated over the summer and we squat in baseball class - but for the most part I stick with lunges and box jumps. in my after school workouts.

If you do want a instruction of how to do squats - Crossfit.com has video of how they should be done. They also have video of a whole bunch of other lifts, including the olympic lifts.[/quote]

Huh? You are way more likely to be injured by doing box jumps and plyometric work as compared to squats.

But I agree. Squats need to be done properly. I advise buying Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore and reading it.

[quote=“dusty delso”]how much dedicated forearm work do your guys do? how many guys do you train. what is your background?

your program is almost 180’ from what we are doing. we do drop sets and machine lifts. need to evaluate what we’re doing based on your information. what is the background of the 2 guys you recommend?[/quote]

No dedicated forearm work except for occasional static holds with a thick bar or gripper work (left to the individual). Forearm and grip strength come naturally from doing deadlifts. You can wrap a towel around the bar if you want to make it tougher. Pull-ups and chin-ups help grip as well.

I’m studying Health and Human Performance and will have my NASM-CPT in about two weeks. I coached a HS freshman team for two years and currently I train a few HS and college players through word of mouth - all pitchers.

Machine lifts and drop sets have to go. Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore are both exercise science experts and have been training lifters in all sports for decades. Check out “Starting Strength” for more.

matt holliday (former nl mvp and $22M man) does drop sets with his legs and upper body using machines every other day. also does a dedicated forearm workout that takes about 40 minutes just to do his forearms 3 days per week. he is considered one of the strongest players in the game. pujols does the same type workouts for over 2 hours per day in the off season. uses squats but also uses machines.

the general rule of thumb for holliday’s workout is no more that 3 lifts for the front and three lifts for the back of a muscle group. you strengthen a muscle in the plane that it grows, you train it to work in the planes that you use it. these are not always the same. aggressive rotational training and flexion/extension of the spine are great ways to tear up your back.

you are right about overtraining and strengthening the wrong muscle groups (which is why forearm work for baseball players including pitchers is extremely important).

[quote=“dusty delso”]matt holliday (former nl mvp and $22M man) does drop sets with his legs and upper body using machines every other day. also does a dedicated forearm workout that takes about 40 minutes just to do his forearms 3 days per week. he is considered one of the strongest players in the game. pujols does the same type workouts for over 2 hours per day in the off season. uses squats but also uses machines.

the general rule of thumb for holliday’s workout is no more that 3 lifts for the front and three lifts for the back of a muscle group. you strengthen a muscle in the plane that it grows, you train it to work in the planes that you use it. these are not always the same. aggressive rotational training and flexion/extension of the spine are great ways to tear up your back.

you are right about overtraining and strengthening the wrong muscle groups (which is why forearm work for baseball players including pitchers is extremely important).[/quote]

This is the fallacy that I see all the time.

First of all, professional athletes are pre-selected to be the genetically gifted ones. Most of us aren’t so lucky.

Secondly, machine work can be right for people who are in the advanced/elite levels of training - but absolutely not for novices and most intermediates.

Just because Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols have crazy workouts (which they both do) doesn’t mean that the average HS athlete should do them. This only makes common sense, because your average HS athlete is not Matt Holliday or Albert Pujols.

A loaded lumbar in flexion is one of the biggest no-nos in weight training. Never once did I advocate for it. But you are being too vague with “spine” and also don’t make sense when you say a “spine in flexion/extension.” A loaded lumbar in extension is very good form - this is what you see in the proper squat. Same with thoracic extension. You do not want lumbar rounding in any lift (unless you are specifically training for this, which is fine for stone lifters and a lot of strongman competitions) nor do you want thoracic rounding, though the latter is not that big of a deal.

I will disagree with professional players being genetically gifted when it comes to the weight room–maybe gifted within the sport, but not necessarily when it comes to lifting and training.

I do agree that just because an MLB player practices a certain training regimen that it is also proper for high school kids who are just starting their training. Most MLB players have a certain base of strength and they are grown men–much different from a developing high schooler.

Roger Clemens swore by machine leg curls. Doesn’t mean that’s the key to powerful legs for pitching and a 95 mph fastball. He was doing this training to maintain his already powerful body.

Now that’s not to say that a high school kid can’t get anything out of a Pujols/Holliday/Clemens program, just that using them as an example doesn’t necessarily make it right.

Truth is, most high school kids are so weak, they can almost do any kind of strength training and see gains.

The opposite is true as well - professional athletes are so gifted that they succeed in spite of poor training methods.

HS athletes (and all novices) will see gains by doing anything that’s not sitting on the couch. This is true. But we shouldn’t settle for that.

you make very good points. i am talking about the spine bearing the weight, such as squats and olympic lifts. if you can do them, great. if your back can’t you will injure yourself. our trainer is a physical therapist/spinal expert who trains matt holliday. he started my guy 2.5 years ago with holliday’s program and light weight. it included squats, but his back could not do it, so all his core and spine work is done on the floor, bench or machine fully supported without loading the spine with weight.

the spine is not designed to handle enormous amounts of weight while performing rotation and also exercising in hyper extended and flexed positions. exercises like roman chairs and bending over a pad or bench doing surfboards holding a weight against the chest is an invitation to back surgery.

he was taught by the same person that taught tiger woods’s personal trainer.

holliday was signed by nike to be a spokesman for sparq training and began using it. it has rotational stuff and he went on the dl for the first time in his career. he stopped and the back problems stopped. this is consistent with the findings of assembly line workers who rotated to put the wheel/tire assemblies on the model a and broke down (the first workman’s comp cases).

anyway, something to think about. there’s nothing wrong with squats and olympic lifts if you can do them. there were three high schoolers who went down with stress fractures of the spine last year, all of them did extremelt heavy squatting.

I’ve seen good results following this methodology, particularly within a team (18u Travel Squad) setting.
Last time they were mentioned on the forums someone from Sparq came on and provided some good information…maybe they’ll do another nexus/lexus search and we’ll hear some more 8)

I agree with olympic lifts being risk/reward for young lifters. Proper form is a must, and supervision is usually limited for high schoolers.

Even some of the experienced strength coaches I’ve talked to are reluctant to teach olympic lifts to some experienced lifters who simply haven’t performed those lifts yet. Teaching proper form can take a long time, and the injury risk is real.

I don’t think that olympic lifts are necessary to have a “perfect” training program, although they’re obviously a very good exercise. There are easier versions of the exercises too that can be performed more safely.

What about deadlifts? or more specifically, trap bar deadlifts?

few exercises can rival the posterior chain, upper back musculature (traps, lats, etc) and forearm development that a properly performed trap bar deadlift can produce. (Farmer’s walks come to mind too)

[quote=“LankyLefty”]What about deadlifts? or more specifically, trap bar deadlifts?

few exercises can rival the posterior chain, upper back musculature (traps, lats, etc) and forearm development that a properly performed trap bar deadlift can produce. (Farmer’s walks come to mind too)[/quote]

Trap bar deadlifts are exactly what I was referring to above as a great alternative exercise to the “true” olympic lifts that can sometimes take years of practice to master. They are a fantastic exercise, and I’ve found them to be very beneficial as part of a complete training program.

in summation, if you’re going to be really good, weight training is a great benefit. find one that works for you and does not injure, and get after it. different programs work for different people. be careful using generic programs developed for geteral strength. most involve football developed routines. a baseball specific routine is important.

i’ll leave it with you guys.

kyle do you advocate the mike marshall pitching motion, i looked at the website driveline that you referred to, and i think that term was coined by marshall.