Some Questions I asked Robert "dos" Remedios

Coach “Dos” was NSCA’s collegiate strength coach of the year this past year.
He has written a great book, Power Training, and is very active and prompt at answering posts on his message board.

I wrote him asking some various questions, he’s a big olympic lift guy. I thought everyone could probably benefit from what he had to say.

Hey coach,

I am a HS baseball pitcher and had a few training related questions, if I could get even a few answers it would be much appreciated…

What are your thoughts with regards to pitchers and heavy pressing? I am more compelled to squat or deadlift than to benchpress but i almost feel like I’m not pressing enough. I’m pulling twice for every pressing movement. [quote]
I think you’re on the right track since most people have imbalances to fix etc. However, you should be pushing both horizontally and vertically…I have never been phobic of overhead lifts with any of my overhead athletes (throwers, swimmers, volleyball etc.) and have never had problems. I rely a lot on push presses and jerks overhead and we often drop the bar from overheard rather than lower to the shoulders when using very big loads.[/quote]

Do you incorporate the olympic lifts with pitchers? If so do you do any snatch work (I am unsure about heavy overhead work). Also I have been told that the catch part of a clean is very rough on the shoulder and throwers need to avoid it, any thoughts?[quote]
Yes, we do, our pitchers tend to be our strongest in the weightroom as well…especially in the Olympic lifts. never had a problem with catching on cleans OR snatches for that matter (we tend to use a lot of narrow grip snatches). Like I said, i am not one of those that freak out about throwers lifting overhead…you do throw overhed as well.[/quote]

How would schedule lifting when pitchers are actively throwing? I am upping my throwing volume and my lifting is starting to take away from my pitching. I am still not at 100% on the mound from a ME lower day in the middle of the week.[quote]
The key is to build a great base in the off season and pre-season. We treat fall ball as praactice so we train through all games etc. until the season actually starts. Soreness etc. should be fading once you get into the rhythm of a program and the loads etc.[/quote]

What does your inseason lifting look like for pitchers? If I am playing games on Tuesdays and Fridays, what would you do for a lifting week?

How much value due you see in rotational medicine ball work and that sort of thing for pitchers? If you use it, how much volume would you recommend so as it doesn’t take away from actual skill work. I have strayed away from most, (I hate this but its an easy term) “core” work, as I felt like it would fatigue me and take away from my skill work.

I’ve had an awesome offseason thus far (started earlier than most), destroying every goal I set for myself in the weightroom with several weeks to spare. However I am now at the point where I am searching for a more direct translation to on field play. The only goal I haven’t achieved is my velocity goal, and well I am starting to get this feeling where it’s constantly hanging over my head, and I wonder if I am going to be able to reach it or now.

Sorry for the long post, I’ve got kind of a running list of questions I haven’t found solid answers to throughout my constant reading and research.

By the way, Power Training is one of the best training books I have picked up, its one of few that I will have told peers to invest their money into. And above all, thank you for making it fit into a HS kid’s budget, haha.

[quote]You’re welcome…good luck in your training and look at some of the training templates…they will fit your needs nicely!
[/quote]

Interesting stuff, especially his thoughts on overhead pressing. Goes against much of what we’ve been hearing lately.

I guess I’m gonna have to buy that book now… :lol:

Yeah, the overhead stuff is probably what I found most significant. His book was like $15 bucks shipped for me, and I’ve heard of people finding it a bit cheaper. He doesn’t go deep into the whole “theory” of it all but for that price if I only learn a few things it’s totally worth it.

Really the largest portion of the book is the exercise index. Sure you can find stuff online, but it’s organized so well and a very solid reference. For someone like my younger brother, who is less research motivated it was great to have it all layed out in front of him. Tons of stuff, and even includes hybrids and complexes.

There’s some templates and various other info that is worthwhile.

He has some great progressions for the olympic lifts and categorizes the exercises really well. He uses things like Hip Dominant and Knee dominant. I found a few new exercises to add in and it’s just an overall great reference for $15.

well, let’s see. there are three muscles in the front of the shoulder, and threre are two muscles in the back of the shoulder that along with the connective tissues, form the rotator cuff that is primarily used to throw a 5oz baseball at maximum effort 100+ times an outing (for high school guys). will extremely heavy olympic lifts and overhead training work these muscles and build endurance in them. i say no.

if you lifted a 4 to 6 lb pair of dumbells over 600 times and pulled on a 4 ft large dowel rod with someone holding resistance on the dowel in the varius planes necessary to get these small muscles to fire and develop, i think you would see enormous results.

you also must rest these muscles. if you work them every day, the do not get a chance to recover. even little muscles are made of muscle fiber. work your core HARD three days a week and rest the other four. most guys who really are serious about developing strength to pitch, overtrain their muscular system, especiall their shoulders.

it just dawned on me today (i’ve been reading on this hard lately). when you throw a 5oz (or similar weight) ball. your shoulder preforms a plyometric style stretch relex cycle to throw hard. right?

if this is true, and you’ve studied plyometric training of the hips, what is critical to training properly, REST. if you do plyometrics on your hips every day, they will break down. if you throw at maximum velocity every day, or more often than every other day, you are probably going to break down from overtraining the shoulder to fatigue and failure levels. then the connective tissue takes over and it will become irritated and break.

be careful with weight training. most of it is used to develop power type strength, olympic lifts, football, slow power requirements;

or hollywood muscle (bodybuilding). neither of these are good for developing the muscular endurance and speed training needed to throw a baseball 90+

physical therapists will tell you rotational exercises (like extremely heavy medicine ball rotations) or training the spine using extreme rotational or hyperflexing exercises, is actually counterproductive. what is the thrird thing to go on a pitcher after the elbow and the shoulder, the lower back. some of this is caused by improper training methods.

be careful. we want you to allow your body to do it’s best.

It doesn’t really have anything to do with lifting really heavy, but if you look at Dos’ site, he is all about the rate of force development (RFD). That is why he does so much Oly lifting in training for athletes.

[quote]We will look at the bench Press vs. the Power Clean using the following formula:
Equation for “POWER”
POWER = Mass X Distance ¸ Time

1RM 300 Lb Bench Press = 300 Lbs x 2 feet (600) / 2 seconds =

300 ft lbs. power

1RM 300 lb Power Clean = 300 lbs x 5 feet (1500) / 1 second =

1500 ft. lbs. Power
Robert dos Remedios, Copyright 2007
[/quote]

So in that way I would agree totally with the use of Oly lifting. You dont stand on the mound and do lateral raises with the baseball, you are exploding forward and trying to impart as much velocity as possible to the ball. The body needs to have a high level of explosiveness to achieve that. I’m all for doing work to protect the rotator cuff, but you cant confuse “protection” and enhancement. I probably wouldnt emphasize Oly lifts as much as Dos, but they are important to developing explosive strength, and definitely should be used.

[quote]be careful with weight training. most of it is used to develop power type strength, olympic lifts, football, slow power requirements;

or hollywood muscle (bodybuilding). neither of these are good for developing the muscular endurance and speed training needed to throw a baseball 90+[/quote]
I disagree with this completely. Although we’ve probably beaten this argument to death, max strength is necessary for power. Steven has talked about squatting over 400 when he was in the MLB and throwing faster than 90, and Kyle Farnsworth would be working right next to him (he is in the 100 mph range). Max, explosive and speed strength - you need all three to be effective. I’m just curious as to where you found evidence that lifting, and Oly lifts in particular are not good for developing a 90+ fastball?

And if you wanna check out Coach Dos’ site: www.coachdos.com

:bowdown:
You guys kick my butt!
Great questions CF and an excellent retort KC.

I can’t say this enough but you guys and Barber make this forum one of the very best of it’s kind. The research alone is just top flight!

So I also asked Coach “Dos” about his thoughts on conditioning and running, he responded with the following:

[quote]
I like LOTS of interval work. Not a fan of foul poles since I see to much steady state, survival style running when the athletes do this. I like to mix up longer sprints (100 yards) and shorter springs (10-50 yards). Length of sessions depend on the intensity of the sprints. The closes I would get to steady state running is fartlek style runs of continuous running with 30 yard strides - 40 yard sprints-30 yard strides-20 yard walk etc. etc.[/quote]

my program and information comes from john carey. he is a degreed physical therapist who has trained matt holliday of the colorado rockies since he was 15, and is considered one of the most knowledgeable strength and rehab specialists in baseball today. he is an expert in the spine and strengthening the spine.

yes, you can improve mph doing olympic lifts. but in his opinion, and i agree with him after seeing the results we have achieved in 8 weeks. if you train the core and arm properly, it will protect the arm and the muscles used to throw the baseball. most programs target the big muscles (the ones used for heavy lifting, and neglect the small muscles.

if all you want to do is develop maximum power, all you need are the deadlift and single arm press with a barbell (pavel tsatsouline of dragon door.com) he defected from russia and trained their elite athletes and kgb. he is a world champion kettlebell lifter. it looks like he has 2 rolls of frozen sausage on each side of his spine. he can also do the full side splits with both feet on phone books taking the groin past 180’.

if you are lifting for baseball, start with the core, move to the forearms (usually neglected), then move to the heavy stuff. that is the order of importance in his mind. i think he is right. so does matt holliday and luke scott of the houston astros. if you’re a pitcher, you might want to keep that chest flat.

[quote=“dusty delso”]
yes, you can improve mph doing olympic lifts. but in his opinion, and i agree with him after seeing the results we have achieved in 8 weeks. if you train the core and arm properly, it will protect the arm and the muscles used to throw the baseball. most programs target the big muscles (the ones used for heavy lifting, and neglect the small muscles.

if you are lifting for baseball, start with the core, move to the forearms (usually neglected), then move to the heavy stuff. that is the order of importance in his mind. i think he is right. so does matt holliday and luke scott of the houston astros. if you’re a pitcher, you might want to keep that chest flat.[/quote]

I should start off by saying it may look like my opinions have been formulated solely from Remedios’ replies. But that is in fact far from the truth, I just thought it was awesome to get a great answer from a big time strength coach so I posted it on the board. My opinions have been formulated from dozens of S & C coaches as well as building my own personal understanding of how the body works and adapts.

Edit: I thought I should also note this was the first time I have performed an olympic lift since the end of September. They are another method to go about things.


You say that most programs target the big muscles but neglect the small ones… Maybe I am misinterpretting the statement, but in terms of physiology, the smallest ones are always used, and the largest are rarely used. In fact most people aren’t efficient enough to activate their largest motor units and/or muscles well. Let alone in a span of a fraction of a second that is given to pitch a baseball.

Any time you are generating any sort of motion the smallest muscles are going to be activated. The body wants efficiency and will thus will use as small amount of muscles as possible to do the task.

That’s why it’s necesary to lift for either maximal force or at maximal weight in order to improve nervous system efficiency and truly improve upon the largest most powerful muscle fibers. That’s why guys that do 3 sets of 10 all the time come up short on their results. Their never even tapping into their biggest, highest potential to grow and become stronger, muscles.

Using primarily the heavy method, my grip strength has improved immensely, I can hang onto weights well into the 300lb range for several seconds. 100lbs for minutes. But things like rice digs and stuff are also extremely awesome for grip/forearms.

I think that if you are only doing the “core” and forearms you are missing so, so much. I think the potential to progress with “core” training has a fairly low ceiling compared to if your improve neural efficiency, rate of force devlopment, and overall strength.

It just seems like you are limiting yourself to improvement. There is SO much more that can be done and improved well beyond the “core” and forearms.

I do not know anything of Dr. Carey, but I will point out a few generalized statements that are worth thinking about, I may come of cynical, and for which I apologize…

  • Every PT seems to want to hit on the rotator cuff and “core stuff”, more specific stuff to address common injuries.

  • Every S & C coach would want to train the body as a whole unit, usually using substancial weights. They generally include RC and “core” stuff as well. The best place everything in balance in the programming to reduce injury rate of athletes exponentially.

  • It has been said that ANY program will work for about 8 weeks…

  • The most anabolic hormonal responses triggering the body to release more growth hormone and testosterone are created by the high levels of stress of heavy lower body training.

  • Rotator cuff work is generally considered pre-hab over actual progress creator.

  • The heavy training I speak of works both the “core” and forearms, often to a higher stress level.

  • High level athletes are trained with very low risk stuff generally. They are already elite. They are trying to maintain or slightly improve what they have. An up and coming athlete shouldn’t be doing what an established pro is doing in almost all cases.

  • Most all MLB teams have S & C Coaches, I believe the majority of them said that the Squat or the Lunge was the most important part of their training program. I’ll try and link that observational study if I can locate it.

I just thought that those were some worthwhile points…

Pavel is an interesting fellow. I’ve read plenty of dragondoor’s stuff. Pavel’s methods are really just another way to go about things, generally using the relatively “gimicky kettlebell.” I say that because the cost of a kettlebell is insane, when you could have more versatility with traditional weights.

His methods are another “tool in the box,” but I wouldn’t say he takes a wholistic approach to it all because if you read between the lines their is A LOT of marketing used in Pavel’s stuff. No doubt he gets results, but there are more efficient and effective ways to do it for a traditional athlete IMO.

With the avaliablility of information on the internet, there is absolutely no reason to limit yourself to the opinion of only a few.

I invite you to take a look at the following interview with Eric Cressey, Cressey trains several ballplayers and notably helped a guy add 8mph before his senior season, needless to say more guys from that HS have come to work with him.

http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1759263&cr=

It will get you thinking if anything else. I found it to be an awesome article.

[quote]Optimal training programs, in my opinion, are based on establishing an ideal joint-specific mobility-stability set-up. Stabilize the knees, lumbar spine, scapulae, and glenohumeral joints and mobilize the ankles, hips, and thoracic spine. Once you’ve done this, start slapping down some maximal strength, reactive ability, and the sky is the limit.
[/quote]
Cressey needs to write a book and cover this in more detail. I’m intrigued… :twisted:

centerfield,

i sincerely appreciate the time and effort you took to write the post and include the articles. anyone interested in keeping their arm healthy and strong should read the articles included in the post. i will forward the articles to john carey for review. we may modify based on the findings.

the other interesting part is the mazzone info. we have used his pitch like a pro style program with great results for 5 years (we have had some problems with growth plate injuries if you do not throw often and try to do too much at once. but the guys who follow it stay healthy and throw hard.

please list your background in baseball. you are obviously well read and doing good work.

thanks again and i value your opinion. even (actually especially) when it does not agree with mine. i want people to make me think about why we do things and then offer rock solid referencing (just like this).

great job and information. i lot of it lines up.

dusty

[quote=“dusty delso”]centerfield,
i sincerely appreciate the time and effort you took to write the post and include the articles. anyone interested in keeping their arm healthy and strong should read the articles included in the post. i will forward the articles to john carey for review. we may modify based on the findings.

the other interesting part is the mazzone info. we have used his pitch like a pro style program with great results for 5 years (we have had some problems with growth plate injuries if you do not throw often and try to do too much at once. but the guys who follow it stay healthy and throw hard.

please list your background in baseball. you are obviously well read and doing good work.
[/quote]
My “background” may disappoint, I dunno. I am just a high school baseball player at this point. More in the future though? Without a doubt…

I took it as a personal mission to learn everything possible to prepare me to the best possible form. For a solid year now I have been reading daily, always trying to learn more and better formulate my opinions and my training plan. In the process I have come to love the field, and am deeply considering a college major in that direction.

I have put several miles per hour on my fastball already, and with some other adjustments and continued hard work I intend to add even more velocity.
I’ve had great success with what I have been doing thus far…

What I can provide is endless responses to thoughts with scientific data and the thoughts and experiences of some serious and effective strength coaches.

I managed to pull the Major League Strength Coach survey,

http://apt.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1519%2FR-15464.1&ct=1
I think there is something to be said if all Coaches see importance in the squat and 1/4 of them used the olympic lifts. To be when I found the data again I was a bit surprised, because generally elite level athletes will avoid a lot of technical lifting as they have already reached elite status.

Here’s a few baseball specific training, worthwhile reads that may create some waves in traditional baseball training theory… (These writers are all certified S & C coaches with plenty of experience to boot)

3 Rants on Traditional Baseball training:
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/3_reasons.htm
Pressing and the overhead athlete: http://www.elitefts.com/documents/overhead_athlete.htm
Insights into baseball training:
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/baseball_training.htm

Most the stuff I read isn’t baseball specific, but it’s all about determining what your trying to accomplish and going about it in the best ways possible. Getting strong and powerful legs is about the same method in any power sport, that sorta thing. Pitchers are different, but they are still athletes.

I feel at times we often forget the pitcher is still an athlete. We require incredible force development and coordination.
There’s no coincidence guys like Andrew Miller and Clay Buckholzs run 6.6 sec 60 yard dashes. They’ve got amazing relative strength and motor control.

The whole thing is make yourself more athletic, carry this over to the mound with lots of baseball specific work.
Use all the tools in the toolbox, train the body in all movements not just rotation. I mean if strong forearms is good, think about what having a pair of oak tree trunks for legs could do…

I’m sure I can supply you with hours worth of reading if your interested in looking deeper into the topic…

I just think far to much benefit exists from lifting correctly, to not take advantage of it…

I didn’t even touch on things like…

Increased endurance
Better motor unit activation/syncronization
Improved flexibility
Injury resistance
Better recovery from sport
Improved posture
Rewritten definitions of challenge, pain, and strain

Then there’s the tons of ways that it improves your ability to apply force.
(Pure strength, speed-strength, power, stretch reflex, etc)

For me there is just so much positive, that even if one say’s they “don’t have time” they ought to be making 45 minutes to train a 3-4 times weekly. It’s not hard to organize that in.

cenerfield,
i am not dissapointed, i am even more impressed that a high school player has studied this carefully and put together a very nice program. i would love to read the stuff.

i will suggest things i think are relevant also.

do you pitch or are you a position only player?

great job.

he pitches. He has a pitching video somewhere on here. He might play positions though I don’t know.

[quote=“dusty delso”]cenerfield,
i am not dissapointed, i am even more impressed that a high school player has studied this carefully and put together a very nice program. i would love to read the stuff.

i will suggest things i think are relevant also.

do you pitch or are you a position only player?

great job.[/quote]

The stuff I have been reading as of late more athlete generic. I pull out the useful information that applies to what I am looking to accomplish to better myself in baseball.
It’s not as much information that give reasoning as to why training is beneficial, but rather how to accomplish certain goals via lifting.

It’s a matter of determining what I need to accomplish and finding everything possible to meet each goal.
I have other strength training goals, but baseball, specifically pitching takes precident.

I see no problem with shoulder work and medicine ball work. I use both in my training. It’s just I think there is so much left to do beyond that.

I’ll have to go through and pull some of the stuff, a couple baseball specific training studies that I came across while clicking around definitely worthwhile, not sure what your thoughts on either of the areas they address are…
Overweight/Underweight throwing:
Here
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10783901&dopt=Citation

Distance running in power sports:
Here
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=17190535

The following everyone should be doing this, you feel so much better and remain in a much better physical state. Two different articles:
I STRONGLY encourage you to try out the stuff in the first article, your son and even yourself won’t believe how much better you can feel after just a few minutes, not to mention improved flexibility and such.
Here
http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1259323

Here
http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=475832

A Case for Strength Training:
Here
http://defrancostraining.com/articles/archive/article_strength-training.htm

A great overview of proper training and what to accomplish:
Here
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/Top_ten_training_tips.htm

I expect there are several goals we would agree on being beneficial to pitchers…
Flexibilty
Better posture
Muscular balance
Rate of force development
Maximal force created

I am a big believer in size unless a person has an unbelievable natural amount of relative strength (ie Tim Lincecum), although some would disagree with me.

They aren’t so much baseball “specific” but I think they would all quite obviously benefit a pitcher on the mound. Most of the stuff I read is “GOAL” specific rather than sport.

Just let me know if you are interested in more material that directly addresses improving those goals.

I would love to hear your suggestions, I am here for discussion and learning, that’s what it’s all about!

Pitching is my first love, and what I would like to continue doing in higher levels of the game.
I also play a position and intend to excel at that as well. I have been an outfielder primarily up until last year, when they wanted me working the infield. It looks like I could be playing several spots on the field this year, depending on who’s pitching.

The carry over for lifting is absolutely amazing, and because of the nature putting the body mass into the swing moreso, I think the carry over from lifting is even better than pitching really.

I still lift to be a pitcher. That primarily means I am going to be very careful with the shoulder. But for the most part there isn’t significant difference between the two IMO.

Edited for formating.

Dusty come on to the personal logs and look at CF and Ibarber and the logs KC posts on, I wasn’t kidding, these young men are 1st rate.
Centerfield started to draw my attention by his excellent and complete research on the gyro-pitch. You could pay for better in any magazine.