Till I Collapse -My Journey to D1 Baseball and Beyond


#741

That 2 0z ball sounds scary. I would reccomend backing off that throw a little. Alot of risk and not much reward.
I would think 102 from crowhop translates to 97 to 98 max from mound, cruising 92-95 which would be awesome.


#742

This can not be true….we all know that you cannot change how you throw after say 14.

That was a joke.

Keep killin it Lefty.


#743

great log, man! keep up the hard work!


#744

Love it. You provide a textbook answer to where hard work and determination can take you.


#745

[quote=“Slewbacca”]Ben
Always enjoy your insights. The big question is when are you going to write your book? :bigthink:[/quote]

I’m working on a free e-book right now. It will be a short nutrition guide for baseball players, giving players a fully functional, customized and adaptable nutrition plan geared towards their particular body composition goals.

Instead of throwing information at players and making them go apply it and come up with their own programs, this will lay it all out there for each player, while helping them mold it around their goals, schedule and preferences and providing the information for them to make educated decisions.

I think 30-40 pages would be an adequate length, but I’m still drafting it so who knows where it will end up.

Any suggestions for sections to include?

On top of covering Calories, Macro and Micronutrients, Meal frequency and timing, hormonal optimization and pre-peri and post-workout nutrition, I was planning on having a recipe section, scheduling, tracking and charting section with concise forms and charts for players to track their progress. There will also be a Q+A section (including answers to a number of nutrition myths) and a supplements section.

In baseball news, I’ve been throwing again for about 3 weeks, the arm is getting strong again and my first bullpen of the new year is on Friday. My strength is still going up and my weight is holding steady at a very lean 212 lbs. I’d like to increase that to 215 by the start of the season.

I’ve had a little bit of a change in training philosophy, interning under John Philbin, head strength coach of the Washington Nationals and being his teaching assistant in a winter class over winter break. He teaches a number of techniques and uses an approach that many people haven’t seen before. It’s called HIT (high intensity training) but it’s not as black and white as that. It’s a tool in his toolbox that he uses to make his athletes better, especially as it pertains to the strength and hypertrophy aspect of training.

Not only is it effective, but it raises some very interesting concepts that changed the way I thought about lifting and training. Fundamental questions like: what makes the ideal exercise? Is there such a thing as a perfect exercise for each muscle? Why are free weights not necessarily always the best option for exercise? What is the point of a training session/what are we trying to accomplish? What is the safest and most time efficient way to achieve the above goals?

Names associated with this thought process (its not a fixed type of training and there is no ONE method, but it tends to be a certain type of thinking) are

Arthur Jones - the grandfather, the Paul Nyman if you will, of the resistance training revolution, Dan Riley, Mike Mentzer, Dorian Yates.

More to come…


#746

I advise you to do plenty of research into HIT before buying into the kool-aid. Many of the people you named were very good bodybuilders and powerlifters before they ever tried HIT.

Elite competitors look for scientific edges every single place they can, and HIT has been around for a long time. Yet HIT has very little buy-in even in knowledgable S&C sports like football.

More independent research will turn up answers why this is; I’m not going to try and convince you. I trust you’ll do the research.

For example, start with what Dorian Yates believes about cancer, cannabis oil, and vaccines. Then see if you think he’s the most qualified person to talk about physiology.


#747

I concur with concerns about HIT training. I believe it has similarities to crossfit. I have read that the athletes that do well in the crossfit games, don’t train using crossfit.


#748

Nice observation. And true.


#749

I’m not drinking any kool-aid, and you’re right about it probably being a mistake to include pro bodybuilders in the list who also benefited from illegal substances. That being said, we’re not talking about people, but fundamental training concepts. It’s not as much reinventing the wheel as it is offering a new perspective of thinking about training.

Apparently there is this reputation of HIT as a cult, which is totally false and misrepresented at least from my exposure and the people I’d learned from. There can’t really be a discussion if an entire philosophy is discounted before any ideas are even laid out on the table. I think it suffers for the same reason crossfit does, in that there is no one unified philosophy, but a handful of preachers, half of them coming across as totally unreliable or crazy. Even Mike Mentzer, who was a genius in his own right, and actually makes a number of highly intelligent points in his videos, damages his credibility by claiming that his athletes could make dramatic body composition changes in a matter of months training for 30 minutes once a week. If that is HIT, that is not the HIT I have learned, and I don’t even want to call “it” by that name. But really there is no set philosophy, just a number of highly thought provoking ideas that I have been exposed to, and that make sense to me, given my current experiences. I am a critical thinker, and a doer. I think the reaction to me mentioning HIT was expected.

However, let’s look at an idea, without attaching it to a name.

For example, the strength curve philosophy. As many S&C coaches know, maximizing tension throughout a full range of motion and creating a smooth strength curve (using bands, chains, etc) will potentially yield better results by maximally working the muscle through its entire range of motion. A number of modalities can ensure a proper strength curve, including gasp adding manuals (one of the best and least known tools out there) and some gasp well-designed machines. No matter what training system you use, if you implement better strength curves with fuller ranges of motion and constant tension you will have better results via increased muscle tissue breakdown through a greater range of motion.

For example, let’s look at a lateral raise. If the goal in this case was to increase strength and hypertrophy of the medial delt, traditional lateral raises will only induce max tension throughout 30-45 degrees of the concentric range of motion, with little tension throughout the first 45-60 degrees of the movement and little resistance through the eccentric part of the exercise. That’s fine, you can still do 4 sets of 10 and use enough volume to get results working only the mid range of motion and not taking advantage of the extra eccentric strength available.

On the flip side, we could take those same dumbbells, and use added manual resistance to keep constant rotary tension (along the arc of the strength curve) on the muscle throughout the entire lift. There would be little resistance added throughout the top 30-45 degrees where the dumbbell is providing it, but more added along the first 45-60 degrees where the dumbbell provides little resistance. Not only is there now muscular tension through a full 90 degrees of range of motion, but 40-60% extra manual resistance will be added on the lowering portion of the lift to continue maximally stimulating the muscle, as it is 40-60% stronger in the eccentric part of the lift. This exercise takes the same movement but is now working the muscle harder, providing a smoother strength curve and taking advantage of added eccentric strength to fully fatigue the muscle fibers. As such, we don’t NEED 4 sets of 10. 4 sets of 10 would leave you sore for DAYS. Try this method if you don’t believe me. Even if 4 sets of 10 traditionally would give you the exact same benefit as 2 sets of 10 of this method, why would you not choose the method that is more time efficient and builds concentric and eccentric strength through the full range while also creating more time under tension? Again, both methods work to induce growth, but in this specific scenario which one would you choose?

When you add everything up, it becomes the difference between being in the gym for 30-45 minutes vs 60-75 minutes to get the same training effect. Nobody is saying the traditional way with just a dumbbell won’t work, but rather proposing that the same or slightly better results can be achieve with less volume and therefore less time, in addition to the other benefits I mentioned.

More effective reps means you don’t need as much overall volume to induce a training response!

Looking back, I should have given you a rotator cuff example. Rotator manuals are out of this world, for those of you using bands or 5lb dumbbells for your external rotation work (which still work too ) :shock:


#750

Well Mentzer was absolutely juicing if we’re gonna go there! Deca-Durabolin and Dianabol, mostly. Yates too, obviously.

Principles of HIT are definitely useful, there is no question about that. Isometric and time under tension exercises are useful for specific reasons, but sarcometric hypertrophy is probably not one of them. Medvedyev wrote a lot about this topic (he concludes training volume is the most important modality), and the Soviet sports scientists got it right more than anyone else. (We are still translating their works and figuring things out from 60+ years ago! Read Andrew Charniga’s stuff!)

I am definitely not an anti-machine person. I am just mostly an anti-Nautilus person. Arthur Jones developed his training regimen to maximize profits and sell a standardized method of exercise to health clubs. Nothing wrong with that, but neither was it a breakthrough in exercise science.

That said, Nautilus has some good machines. In fact, one of the most sought-after machines in the PL community is the Nautilus pullover machine that used a bike chain! (I guess there is a patent issue here when it comes to replicating it, from what I understand.)

Ditto with manual therapy and isometric work. It has scientific backing, no question, and smart guys like Lee Fiocchi and Eric Cressey use the methods to great effect.

The main issue with your paragraph on Time Under Tension (TUT) is that it really hasn’t been shown to improve the contractile strength of the muscles in question better than traditional concentric/eccentric loading with little regard to cadence. In fact, it is likely BETTER at developing hyperplasia instead of hypertrophy, which is the opposite of what most athletes want to work on. It also induces massive DOMS due to the focus on eccentric loading, and while Mentzer et al think that eccentric loading is more important or at least less focused, that largely ignores the agonist/antagonist relationship pairs and groups of muscles have.

Additionally from a theoretical standpoint, TUT is largely irrelevant when it comes to actual muscle performance in athletics, especially ballistic activities like throwing baseballs. Loading rate has been shown to be VERY relevant (Werner et al, Sabick et al) to both bone and muscle fatigue and failure - something HIT can’t provide (by design, of course).

All in all, the concepts of HIT have their place, but the idea that TUT + resistance = “best program evar” have been largely debunked. The greatest sports scientists in the world (Soviets) never once used these methods despite focusing a LOT on the very subject in question. Throwing and hitting baseballs is way closer to Olympic weightlifting than it is bodybuilding (sarcometric vs. sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is a big factor here, as stated before), and I would suggest looking at historical trends of elite Olympic lifters and how they evolved training before I did bodybuilderrs.


#751

Lefty, just to clarify that I don’t want to discourage you from experimenting with these different ideas. I enjoy reading about them and am open to any new ideas, even though I’m over 50. I have had good success with the lean gains stuff that you brought to our attention.


#752

Kyle,

I think as you touched on, the controversial parts of HIT are the cadence and the volume protocols.

I think for the volume part, it’s better to start at less volume and then increase once progress stops happening. Dr. Wayne Westcott had some studies on this a long time ago where he compared the strength gains of beginners between 1, 2 and 3 sets of an exercise over a period of 10 weeks and found no significant differences in strength gains between groups. The bottom line being that more is not always better, especially starting out and when the sets are intense enough to cause overload (which one set can do).

Also it is worth noting that ANY of these systems will lead to both sarcoplasmic and sarcomeric hypertrophy (It is my understanding that hyperplasia, increase in # of muscle cells does not happen in humans). I think to say that sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is totally irrelevant may not be entirely accurate, especially given that overall bodyweight has such high correlations to throwing velocity.

I think in a hypertrophy phase, or on certain assistance lifts where hypertrophy is the goal, added eccentrics and the isometric pause would certainly aid in this goal. Not to mention the potential effect T.U.T. and total muscular failure may have on tendon strength and overall growth hormone release. I’m still not so sure about the slow concentric…i can see why a slow concentric prevents momentum and allows strength to be built over the entire range of motion, but I would prefer to have a quick explosive concentric provided there is accomodating resistance (like bands, chains, manuals or well designed machines) to keep tension throughout the whole movement. That would be a more sport specific and effective rep in my opinion.

As for soviets, germans and volume training, it is my understanding that the processes used to create powerful olympic athletes involved taking thousands of children and testing them to see which ones had olympic potential, then training the ones with potential through sheer numbers, volume and intensity to see which ones survived. This was their way of weeding out the athletes who would not be champions. Keep throwing volume at them until only the special ones with exceptional genetics and recovery ability were left.

However for the average human, that type of training would probably be hard to recover from.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, because these conversations are always thought provoking. Would it not make sense to start volume low and only increase once progress stopped occurring?

The massive soreness you mentioned is probably only present in athletes who have never done slow eccentrics and try it for the first time. There is a pretty quick adaptation in my experience. Also worth noting that an HIT eccentric might be 3-4 seconds where a normal squat eccentric is 2-3 seconds. Not the biggest difference in the world when it comes down to it.

Again, I wouldn’t say that slower eccentrics is always necessary in a program. There should still be plyometrics and explosive exercises like you mentioned to work power. But during hypertrophy phases, I feel like there is certainly some merit. If we wanted to totally negate all sarcoplasmic hypertrophy we would stick to max effort singles and doubles, never going over 5 or 6 reps. In my experience it is the higher rep work that allows you to handle the heavier loads with ease and go even heavier…builds a sort of base if you will…just my observation.

The other thing to consider is safety. If nothing else, a controlled decent provides a potentially safer transition from eccentric to concentric over what some do which is essentially a free-fall into the bottom of their squat followed by purely a bounce utilizing their stretch shortening reflex. Then they only actually use maximum muscular contraction to move the weight through the mid-range of the movement before easily locking out the weight with very little muscular effort.

I don’t think either method is perfect, but I think the closest thing to perfect would be adding accommodating resistance and allowing the athlete to perform his concentrics as fast as possible through a full range of motion, starting the volume low (1-2 sets) and increasing the volume (2-3+ sets) once gains stop coming. I think eccentrics should be controlled enough to be safe (~2 seconds for most exercises) and longer when hypertrophy (yes, even sarcoplasmic) is deisirable, 3-4 seconds. I think the isometric pause is helpful in cases where the end range needs to be emphasized (perhaps a row emphasizing scap retraction or a leg extension emphasizing vastus medialis at the top 20 degrees).

check this guy out

keep the intelligent debate coming, with critical minds.

Ben


#753

It is commonly said that the East Germans and Soviets used state-sponsored testing (usually vertical leap) to determine who were the most athletic, then section them off in groups. The high yield candidates would get a lot of individual attention while the low yield candidates would be fodder for some… interesting experiments (10 foot depth jumps, anyone?).

While these stories are (somewhat) true, they are also the purest form of sports science that exists. Ethical? Not really. But these studies yielded amazing data on efficiently training athletes.

The Bulgarian method is widely considered the most effective method to train Olympic weightlifters; John Broz is the most well-known person in the US to espouse this kind of training style. Periodization is simply training to that day’s maximum intensity, twice per day, every day, for life. While you can argue with Broz’s success rate, you can’t really argue that the Americans have done a good job developing elite Olympic weightlifters with their methods of training (Kendrick Farris being the only notable American weightlifter who is decidedly mediocre in international competition).

Certainly genetic potential plays a role, but to what degree this can be identified in any individual is nearly impossible without fairly invasive testing (and even then, incomplete).

Modulating the intensity of the eccentric portion of any exercise is a surefire way to consistently and progressively induce DOMS in a trainee. Try it for yourself with a focused effort on lowering the bar in near maximal rack pulls!

Perhaps the best reason to use the principles of HIT in the weight room are due to connective tissue growth. Lots of physical therapy modalities are inspired by (or at least are similar to) HIT concepts, like Muscle Energy Techniques (MET - stupid name, useful stuff).


#754

Ben,
Curious with Gainesville feb14 are you doing holds and weighted balls? If so weight and frequency for holds? Is this your first pre season doing this program?

Thanks,

Mark Bradley. (Gator track team. 78-82)

PS. Pulling for you…


#755

Kyle:

There are a number of more recent studies that have a hard time showing that greatest volume actually leads to greater hypertrophy. There appears to be a trend, certainly, but it is not black and white. 1 set is the most important factor, and in some cases this is all that is necessary, with 2 and 3 sets coming into play to get those small additional gains for athletes who need it.

Same thing for training volume:

More can be better, but not necessarily for beginners, and not in every case. I think it has more to do with recovery ability than anything.

Mark,

thanks for the support!

We are doing weighted holds for the first time this preseason. Weights range from 2 oz to 2 lbs. Some guys have throws in there although I do not. The frequency is 5 to 6 days a week although it is not high volume or intensity most days. I think its too early to tell if it is making a difference. I think here is more potential benefit for those whose shoulders are the weak link. For me, my elbow is always the area that gets sore and is my weaker link, so I don’t know that there is as much potential benefit. Definitely be careful at the lower and higher weights when doing this program. I’m hesitant to go 100% on the 2oz and 1 and 2 lbs holds. Maybe that’s just me. We also do just pure arm speed throws without a ball, which I am especially cautious of. If I can throw a 2oz ball 110, that means that without a ball my arm is probably moving about 115, which is pretty scary stuff. Not sure I want to be training in that range, especially given that I have tweaked stuff doing pure shadow throwing at 100% in the past.

Ben


#756

Lefty, I see that Perfect Game gave you some love in their Maryland write up. "Keep an eye on senior left handed pitcher Ben Brewster who shined during fall workouts with a 90-92 fastball from a sidearm angle. They also say mention a freshman pitcher Mike Shawaryn, who I have seen pitch and he’s legit. Those were the only 2 pitchers.


#757

Shawaryn is a total clown! Love that kid. He’s also extremely developed for a freshman pitcher…he may be our saturday starter this year. Loosest arm action I have ever seen.

I hadn’t seen that write-up, thanks for mentioning it and looking out for us!

Ben


#758

from a recent study by Brad Schoenfeld

http://www.lookgreatnaked.com/blog/new-study-bodybuilding-type-training-increases-intracellular-water-content/

“As noted, this study provides compelling evidence that regular bodybuilding-type resistance training leads to an increase in sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Why should anyone care about increasing the water content of muscle? Well, there is a large body of research showing that cell swelling via increased intracellular hydration results in marked increases in protein synthesis and reductions in protein degradation; a hypertrophy homerun. These findings have been shown in a wide variety of cell types, implying that keeping muscle fibers hydrated may actually increase contractile hypertrophy and thus enhance strength.”

my .02:
Its impossible to get sarcoplasmic hypertrophy without also getting some contractile hypertrophy, and it would appear hypertrophy training lays the framework for a more productive pure strength phase.


#759

We leave for Florida in 4 days.

At one point there may have been some doubt as to whether I would be ready in time, but I can now say without question that I am as prepared as ever.

This past weekend marked the final 3 day intersquad series prior to the start of the season, and we played in 30-35 degree weather throughout.

On friday I tossed 2 solid innings with 4ks.

Something clicked, and I was able to just put everything into each pitch and know it was going to be a strike.

It was part mental, part mechanical. I started off (came set) with my weight shifted a little more towards my heels, something that Fernando Rodney actually does. I remembered feeling this when I was long tossing insane distances towards the start of the fall. I felt like it allowed me to drive further and pop my hips open a bit better.

Regardless, I was sitting 92 mph, which is what I top out at on most days. I think this is more a result of me being able to apply max intent and my motion feeling very repeatable. When you can repeat your delivery very well there is nothing to hold back and you can fully tap into your power.

I had another outing today (Sunday), just 1 inning this time to get me used to throwing twice in a weekend series. I pitched through some soreness and logged a fairly clean inning with a K and a walk. Probably 88-91 today, we didn’t have the gun going but I pitched to contact and got the job done.

Feeling great and ready to face some Gators!

Ben


#760

92 seems very good for early Feb. in past years has the velocity been there that early?