Phantom Weight Sleeves


#1

Has anybody used these yet? I got a number of sets for testing, but was curious if anyone else had used a phantom sleeve yet. Theyre a new product but I think they have pretty good potential as a training tool.

http://danblewett.com/2010/03/phantom-weight-sleeves/


#2

I haven’t seen them in the flesh, but what concerns me about the concept is that they’d place too much stress on the shoulder socket.

Also, unlike a med-ball or baseball where when you throw it and it releases, this weight stays on your arm all the way through the follow through, which isn’t sport-specific per se. And by not being sport-specific, I mean it’s not what actually happens when you throw. At least with weighted baseballs, for example, the weight releases when the ball is thrown, which more closely resembles what happens in baseball pitching.

And finally, why would any pitcher want to add weight which slows down arm speed? Especially when there’s nothing to counter balance the slowing down. Sure sprinters wear chutes, which slows them down. But then they wear bungees attached to their front, which pulls them faster. That type of training is more balanced and beneficial. Just don’t think that’s it’s been duplicated in baseball quite yet.


#3

Let me pose this to you, Steve:

A pitcher starts a weight training program. He adds 10 pounds of muscle in 6 months. When he started, his forearm was 10" around and his biceps were 12". Now, after his program, his forearm is 11" and his biceps 13.5".

His arm, now covered with more muscle tissue, weighs more. Probably upwards of a pound or two. His shoulder has to perform more work to move as quickly as it used to, thus strengthening it. If he were to suddenly drop that muscle tissue from his arm, his shoulder would still be capable of the same power output.

This is the premise of the weighted sleeve. The weight is distributed evenly, which doesn’t increase torque at the elbow substantially more, and only increases torque on the shoulder about the same as if one gained muscle mass in the arm.

Now, you might say that adding muscle mass to the arm isn’t analogous because the muscle mass aids the acceleration of the arm. This is somewhat true, but weight gained at the lower arm and forearm don’t produce force at the shoulder.

It’s true that adding weight slows a muscle down, but it also increases force output. This is the reason that plyometric training peaks and plateaus after 8-16 weeks and needs to be supplemented with weight training to increase a muscle’s strength output. Weighted anything, to produce higher velocity output, needs to be paired with no weight or underweight contrast training, which produces a substantial response by Post-Activation Potential. PAP is a muscles’s enhanced capability to produce explosive force after being subjected to maximal or near-maximal contraction. Squat 300 pounds then perform a jump squat, and you will jump higher than you otherwise could. The same principle is at work with weighted balls and weighted sleeves, only the weighted sleeves allow eccentric loading after the throw, whereas weighted balls leave the fingertips and thus only allow concentric loading.


#4

I appreciate the thoughtful response. You bring up a lot of very good points. How have your pitchers liked the device?


#5

These are an interesting product. My pitchers use wrist weights for specific drills and weighted balls for partial throws, but I haven’t seen sleeves. My first concern is that they may change the biomechanics of the throwing motion, and if these are to be put on a pitcher who throws fastballs in his usual way, that would be very detrimental to the pitcher.

Dan addresses this in his post when he says they’re only .25 to .5 pounds each so it’s unlikely that they would change the mechanics of the throw, but I’m not convinced - especially if you only wear one on your throwing arm. This ruins the “equal and opposite” preaching that the NPA and Tom House are huge on (and that I agree with).

Attempting to mimic a sports movement with loaded implements that change the nature of the sports movement is a great way to lead to injury when it comes to insufficiently trained individuals.

I’d like a set of these to experiment with, but I would advise serious caution. Of course, I’d love to talk about this topic with Dan and Steven in an open forum.


#6

I received these yesterday, and so haven’t had much time in the gym with them, but they feel natural. I threw with them yesterday, and my arm action was unchanged. Keep in mind that these aren’t really intended for mound work, more flat ground and long toss. The few high schoolers who played catch with them shared the same sentiment about the feel.

As far as equal and opposite goes, people make too big a deal about it. My right arm is bigger than my left, and always will be. My right scapula has more muscle development. I throw with a 5oz ball only on one side of my body. Equal and opposite gets taken way too far in the strength training community - no matter what you do, you will always have disparities. Sure, you use corrective therapy to compensate, but you will never have full equality, and thats OK.

Which hand do you carry groceries, or your newborn baby with? With which hand do you handle the keys and unlock your house? 99% of the time, its your non-dominant side carrying the heavy things and your dominant, finely-controlled side doing the dextrous work. Your body is always going to work as a whole, but still have asymmetry in unilateral tasks. To obsess over it is a waste of time. If a righthander throws 90 pitches in the bullpen, would Tom House advise throwing 90 pitches with his left? Not to mention a 1 lb glove on the non-dominant arm…

It’s important to remember that the weight of the baseball, the weight of ones arm, etc. etc. are all arbitrary. They are only standard because they’ve been standard. The body can and does adapt to new stresses, which is the reason new surgeries like Tommy John can take a weak tendon and convert it slowly into a super-strong ligament. It’s Wolf’s Law…the strength of a tissue’s matrix is directly proportional to the stresses placed upon it during it’s development. Would you strap 10 pounds to your arm? No way, but 1/2 pound evenly distributed is only a few percentages over the arm’s natural weight, which should only provide a mild new stimulus, and shouldn’t be harmful.


#7

About a year and a half ago I heard Tom House speak about the importance of strengthening the decelerators. He was interested in the relative lack of shoulder injuries in top tennis players. IIRC he felt some of this was attributable to never letting go of the racket during the stroke. By the nature of the sport their decelerators were well developed from having to stop the heavy racket. He was interested in how this could apply to baseball.

At the time House was advocating adding a baseball to the towel drill to get some overload training for the decelerators. The sleeves would seem to be a similar concept but with perhaps slightly different dynamics since if used while throwing the 5 oz ball is still leaving the hand.

IMO it shouldn’t affect opposite and equal- the pitcher is already fighting an imbalance wearing a 1.5-2 lb. glove on one side.


#8

I want to reply to this as I’ve done quite a bit of thinking on this topic, but I’m pressed for time. So, in short, I want to briefly discuss the idea that a 1 lb glove violates equal and opposite in the pitching motion: It doesn’t because the glove is a normal training stimulus and will always be on the pitcher’s hand. The phantom weight sleeves will not be on the pitcher’s arm in competition.


#9

The best solution is for all of us to get one of these sleeves and put it to test. IT’s just too hard to pass judgement one way or another, in my opinion. Dan - get us the hookup :slight_smile:


#10

I’ve actually contacted the company in question and they immediately responded with some very big discounts for people who train pitchers. I may take them up on the offer, but the price is still somewhat expensive for demo units.


#11

You have to pay for it?? lol. Good luck.


#12

I understand argument that adding resistance to an already “unnatural motion” can be a cause for concern. That actually is the #1 opposition to the weighted sleeves. However, you can’t argue with the science and proof that’s backing Phantom’s products and programs; therefore after looking into more detail on this matter, this argument also happens to be the #1 largest misconception. Phantom has consulted numerous professionals in the athletic field from orthopedic surgeons, to kinesiologists, physical therapists, and even chiropractors to construct a training device that is the perfect storm. They succeeded and members of the athletic community are predicting this to revolutionize the athletic and medical industries for the following reasons:

  1. Problem - Weighted balls, donuts, etc. place all the weight at the end of the lever (if your arm/leg were a lever). This places all the stress on the fulcrum (elbow, knee). One pound of weight in your hand is 8lbs of pressure on your shoulder in a stress analysis test so all of that added pressure is placed on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) during the throwing motion.
    Solution - Placing the weight closer to the fulcrums reduces the stress levels. Additionally, placing the weight on the larger muscle groups (forearm, biceps, and calf for each of the different sleeves) allows your body to biomechanically absorb the weight easier, thus resulting in reduced stress.

  2. Problem - Weighted balls, donuts, etc. disrupt your body’s autonomic nervous system (ANS), thus resulting in a depletion of skill, not additional skill. In layman’s terms, when you exercise with any ball/bat other than your normally game weighted ball/bat, it throws off your “repeater muscles.” For example, after you’ve thrown with a weighted ball for a while and switch back to a normal 5oz. baseball, do you find yourself spiking the ball into the ground on the first few throws? This is because your brain doesn’t know where to release the ball with any accuracy.
    Solution - by placing the weight on your arm/leg in optimal locations, you are able to exercise with your normally game weighted ball/bat of choice thus not disrupting your ANS. Mechanics and location are not disrupted at all.

  3. Problem - You can only throw/swing a ball/bat as fast as your decelerators allow you to. Example: you wouldn’t drive your car 90mph if your brakes only worked up to 60mph. Your arm works the same way. Any added benefit of weighted balls is gone by the time they release your hand-- there’s nothing there to strengthen the deceleration portion of that motion which is equally important.
    Solution - With the weighted sleeves, even after you release the ball, the weight is still attached to you to strengthen the deceleration portion of the user’s motion.

Sounds like Phantom did their homework and professional/collegiate athletes are jumping on board pretty fast! And if they give an athlete 3-4mph, who wouldn’t pay a hundred bucks for that? The opportunity cost is too great not to buy one. 3-4mph could get that college scholarship, get you drafted higher, or take an MiLB guy to the Bigs… Sounds worth it to me.


#13

JP, you beat me to it. You are correct about the tennis player comparison. Tennis players get elbow problems but don’t generally get shoulder problems.

House does promote doing the towel drill using a “sock towel” with a baseball - even a weighted ball - stuffed in it. The idea is that you hold onto the ball and this does cause strengthening of the decelerators since you must decelerate the weight of the ball in addition to the weight of the arm. But keep in mind that House recommends that all weighted ball work be done with balls that are within 20% of a regulation ball. That means 4, 5 or 6 oz balls only - anything outside that range IS significant enough to alter the throwing motion. This was confirmed using high speed video and motion capture technology.

House also recommends that throwing weighted balls only be done after achieving a basic foundation fitness, joint stability/integrity conditioning and sport specific strength conditioning. I agree with this strategy. And just like it concerns me when young pitchers resort to weighted balls as a shortcut to higher velocity, I would have the same concern with the sleeves. This is not to say the sleeves are a problem - just that therre is a right way to use them and a wrong way. Any recommendations for them should include appropriate guidance, IMHO.


#14

Just an observation: it seems that Tom House’s name is thrown around as if what he says is Biblical. Does anyone find it funny that his theory on pitching or how to get it done changes every 2 years?

For instance: it’s mentioned in the last post that House says one should stay within a few ounces of the normally weighted game ball (5oz.)… Well, I was talking today with an ex MiLB guy, currently training with Tom at USC to make a comeback in Indy ball this year (I’ll leave him anonymous since I don’t have his permission to throw his name around) and he says that House is now a proponent of “Velocity day where we get clocked throwing a 1lb ball, a football, and every ball between 4-6oz…”

Can someone please tell me how getting clocked throwing a football calculates into MLB success?

Even more extreme, can someone tell me how throwing a 1lb ball is beneficial for ANYTHING? Sounds like suicide on your elbow to me…

What’s next? All I’m saying is to do your homework and find out what really and truly has science and RESULTS behind it. Here are a few things that do have some validity:

Arms are breaking down in the US - why? Because we’re not training them to do what we ask of them in the game…
http://www.jaegersports.com/press.php?id=9

House doesn’t like Long Toss. Do we tell marathon runners to run a mile, run a mile, and then run 26.2 on game day? NO! But that’s what we tell pitchers to do. How can we stick to a 120’ throwing program when a 90mph fastball (avg MLB fastball) thrown at 35 degree angle will travel 300’??? That means we’re preparing our arms at 40% of their ability!!! What other sport on earth do we train like this??? Watch this video and tell me how distance doesn’t equal velocity… If we train our arms to throw, that’s exactly what they’ll do for us int he game:

Note — I’m not against Tom House. I just want you guys to find what has the results backing up the talk. Find out why Barry Zito or Dan Haren have never missed a start. Find out why Cole Hamels had a down year in 2009 but will have a great 2010. Baseball is a simple game that we make complex. The answers are right in front of us!!!


#15

House continues to study, research and learn. He doesn’t work in a vacuum - he collaborates with the likes of ASMI, The Andrews Institute, and Titleist Performance Institute so he gets some validation from other pertinent experts. He changes his ideas as his research dictates. Why would you fault him for that?

[quote]For instance: it’s mentioned in the last post that House says one should stay within a few ounces of the normally weighted game ball (5oz.)… Well, I was talking today with an ex MiLB guy, currently training with Tom at USC to make a comeback in Indy ball this year (I’ll leave him anonymous since I don’t have his permission to throw his name around) and he says that House is now a proponent of “Velocity day where we get clocked throwing a 1lb ball, a football, and every ball between 4-6oz…”

Can someone please tell me how getting clocked throwing a football calculates into MLB success

Even more extreme, can someone tell me how throwing a 1lb ball is beneficial for ANYTHING? Sounds like suicide on your elbow to me…?[/quote]
I am aware of velocity day and throwing 1lb balls and I believe you are mixing apples with oranges. House’s recommendation to stay within 20% of regulation ball weight applies to pitching baseballs at full distance using a full pitching delivery. From what I know they are not throwing the 1lb balls at full distance nor with a full pitching delivery. But I won’t say much more because this is preliminary, unpublished work House is doing and he won’t be releasing any results of this for another year or two. (Folks should not take this discussion as approval to go start throwing 1lb balls!)

I’m wondering how you can say this product has results when, according to Dan’s initial post, it is a new product. Do I have that wrong? If it already has the results, why is Dan testing it?

[quote]Arms are breaking down in the US - why? Because we’re not training them to do what we ask of them in the game…
http://www.jaegersports.com/press.php?id=9[/quote]
Definitely agree that arms breaking down is a huge issue. But the sport medicine folks are claiming overuse is the leading cause followed by pitching while fatigued.

[quote]House doesn’t like Long Toss. Do we tell marathon runners to run a mile, run a mile, and then run 26.2 on game day? NO! But that’s what we tell pitchers to do. How can we stick to a 120’ throwing program when a 90mph fastball (avg MLB fastball) thrown at 35 degree angle will travel 300’??? That means we’re preparing our arms at 40% of their ability!!! What other sport on earth do we train like this??? Watch this video and tell me how distance doesn’t equal velocity… If we train our arms to throw, that’s exactly what they’ll do for us int he game:


It seems to me that a ball thrown 90mph on a line that travels 120’ and a ball also thrown 90mph but at a 35 degree angle that travels 300’ require about the same amount of exertion. Maybe I’m missing something? Note that this is neither an argument for or against the weighted sleeve product.

BTW, House is not against long toss. What he is against is pitchers doing it using other than their normal pitching mechanics. His pitchers do long toss - they just go out only as far as they can maintain proper pitching mechanics.


#16

What I find ironic is that every Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to break out an over-priced training aid, uses House as a punching bag…could it be that they think by taking his techniques down a notch that it will build up their repute?
Look, ok I buy that you don’t “dislike” House or whatever…you and Dan do seem to have a nice little sales script working here. A hunsky is a bunch of money for de-cell conditioning that can be accomplished very effectively via use of much less expensive training aids. I guess a sophisticated and hi level sales attack is needed at that price point.
Personally I like Jeager, I admire House (No one else in America devotes as much energy in training people how to safely and consistantly train pitchers at a high level)…but I come by my knowledge and training another way. We’ll see this product…if it has merit, in college training scenarios… before that, well meaning dads will be convinced of the 3-how-ever many mph increase and drop the cash…but I fear that this will just lead to mis-use with either ineffective results or injury.
One thing is certain, we don’t train our pitchers to condition properly as a general rule…if they think there is a “magic” pill/device/aid, they’ll opt for that over dedicated hard work…it’s just how our society has evolved over time.
Owl/Dan good luck…hope you sell enough to pay the mortgage.


#17

I would never fault Tom for continuing to learn-- isn’t that exactly what we’re all doing through letstalkpitching? But what I’m encouraging is to try things out for yourselves, not just take his word on blind faith.

I no way, shape or form is comparing a 1lb ball w/ an apple or orange. Mix that with a Tommy John surgery for the amount of stress you’re putting on the UCL. I know, for a fact from hearing it 1st hand, that Tom uses the 1lb ball, and many other balls from full distance which is definitely OUT of the 20% range. And if he is “testing” them, I hope he is considering their arms and careers.

Phantom Sleeves have been out for a year now, public since January. They have been tested and/or evaluated by numerous doctors who would not associate their names with the products if they didn’t 100% believe that these were game changers (Dr. James Disch, Head of Kinesiology @ Rice University-- 8 week study results published next month in Performance Conditioning magazine). Johnny Bench has been quoted saying that Phantom will make its impact 10-1 medical over athletic. However, just like Tom, there will always be a need for people to continue running various tests to check efficiency of new possible venues for new and existing products. Jim Lefebvre is running testing on the sleeves for hitters-- he states that the sleeves CORRECT bad swing mechanics. Bold statement.

Long toss is an art form. Throwing ever ball on a line to “not alter your release point” is a large misconception. If you didn’t want to alter your release point, then every throw you ever make should be from 60’6" off a 12" high bump. Any other throw from flat ground would be a different release point, correct? I encourage you to try Jaeger’s long toss program. What you’ll find is that through various release points, you’ll become in tune with your arm, more athletic, and be able to make pitch to pitch adjustments because you’re familiar with your body. Throwing on a line limits that potential.

Lastly, I’m not Tom, Dick or Harry. I’m someone like you interested in learning and spreading good word. Dan doesn’t work for Phantom, he’s doing a great job putting his feelers out so he can continue to acquire knowledge and help his students the best he can. From what I can tell, he is incredibly educated and unbiased. That’s the types of people who we need to sift through what works and what’s a gimmick. Too many people complain about the price tag of a sleeve gimmick that actually has been PROVEN to work yet they see no problem dropping $350 on a new metal bat each year that MIGHT give their kid 10 extra feet off their bat… Just a thought.

Sorry, one last thing-- I love these discussions. I haven’t been this excited to chat baseball in a while. Thanks guys, hope I’m not coming off as the brash newcomer. I appreciate your time and thought.


#18

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Derrick Jeter put his name on the “Hit-A-Way”
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
I have no problem plunking down $350 on a custom glove either…but he won’t be catching with one of those sleeves…nor do I think he’ll hit any gappers with the “Sleeve”.
You are right though…the annual $350 prayer for a .600 avg with leading the league in Hr’s is a rite of passage we dads lay before the great baseball Gods “Louisville the Slugger”, TPX the Knock-it-the-hell-outta-here, Stealth the Thunder God…their ilk have nice condo’s in Maui thanks to those prayerful daddys…and a few moms to boot :wink:
Rice is an excellent school for baseball, if the company is actively working with quality schools, well then we’ll see it soon enough like I said.


#19

[quote=“RiceOwl34”]

Sounds like Phantom did their homework and professional/collegiate athletes are jumping on board pretty fast! And if they give an athlete 3-4mph, who wouldn’t pay a hundred bucks for that? The opportunity cost is too great not to buy one. 3-4mph could get that college scholarship, get you drafted higher, or take an MiLB guy to the Bigs… Sounds worth it to me.[/quote]

Hi Scott - Thought that was you. Why not just come right out and let everyone know that you’re the owner of the Phantom Sleeve, and that Dan B is helping to promote your product??

Seems incredibly disingenuous, in my opinion, to offer any advice whatsoever about your product, without first identifying yourself and your relationship to Dan and the Phantom Sleeve.


#20

Understand that I’m not getting anything out of Phantom except for some networking, and I defend products and training methods that make sense to me.

I am, objectively, testing the sleeves. I am just now getting underway with it, but there is no marketing scheme here. I think the premise is sound, as I have outlined in my argumentation for it. I also think weighted balls can have their place, and I’m not declaring any training method to be the end all be all.

I have not given these physical sleeves my endorsement yet, but I absolutely endorse the premise behind them, which I think is sound, and which is why I am defending it. I don’t care who is behind a product or training modality, if it has value to me I will lay it out to you why. There is no “sales script” here. I emailed Phantom, having heard of their products from a friend who attended the ABCA, and asked them to try out their sleeves, because as a strength coach, pitching instructor and pitcher, I am interested in the new technology out there. These could very well be a tool of my trade with my clients, and if the premise behind them is sound, which I strongly believe it is, then why would I be wrong to investigate, and give my endorsement if I was satisfied with the results?

Relax with the witchhunt.