To Pronatate Or Not To Pronate, Part 2 by Paul Nyman

Here’s the 2nd edition, incredible information!

Interesting stuff ThinkTank


You need not be strong nor quick to throw a baseball!

In order to throw that baseball with velocity you need to be strong to withstand the stress and you need to be quick (higher percentage of fast twitch to slow twitch muscle fiber than someone not as quick) to generate high velocity. These are Kinesiological facts that are true.

Throwing is about conservation of inertia during the forwards acceleration phase contractions.

the whip affect can be seen in the difference between release velocities of the two pendulums.

The one on the left best represents Dr.Marshall’s Axipetal “inside of vertical” whipping pronation snap where the Triceps Brachii is used during the full length of elbow extension and Latisiimus Dorsi inwards rotation of the Humerus. A lengthier ball driveline.

The one on the right best represents the straightened (elbow bone crash) out elbow of the centripetal conventional outside of vertical more horizontal supination whip where the elbow is eliminated as one of the compounds of whip and driven (pulled) by the Pectoralis major where the Triceps only partially at the beginning contract and the biceps and Brachialis contracts eccentrically (ASMI electromyogram study on the conventional motion) to protect the elbow from ballistic crash.
What a great diagram, nice work coach! It would have been nice if you added in the applied anatomy that corresponds here?

You seem to be not but I will. We are talking about straighter lines here as seen from above and from the side, not straight lines that are not achievable. Straighter line like in the 1st graphic gives you more length and time to create and conserve this momentum.

He understands the first one and the one you are now posing. Why don’t you go retrieve the many quotes he uses to explain this to be fair. He does use the correct terms though in that he uses the term “conservation of inertia”, It may be you that has dismissed this critical point?

I can see by your diagram, you confuse the Humeral/forearm transition phase where the leg and hip rotational mechanic (arrows) is performed and by the way wasted with usable forwards inertia when this phase is actually used to posturally set up the initial forwards acceleration phase where the kinetic chain actually start when the Humerus actually achieves MER (maximum external rotation) and we all know the ball can not be projected forwards until this is achieved. Everybody makes this same mistake.

When the arrow finally appears at the shoulder complex you can see the ball is actually not moving at all, this means nothing performed before this phase adds to release velocity other than setting up contractive length, I believe you have never understood this.

Because he told you that “scapular loading” is very very harmful to the glenoid cavity where it lengthens the glenoid ligaments at the anterior then the posterior aspects (dead arm) and tears the anterior Labrum (the career ender) and that you can not load a bone, the scapula. He said what you called hyperflexion is actually Shoulder Girdle Adduction. He also said, whatever Mr. Nyman believes that pinching the two Scapulas together helps baseball pitchers to do is not true. Lengthening the Serratus Anterior muscle prior to rotating the shoulders forward does not help increase release velocity.
The pitching arm side Scapula is the foundation from which the pitching arm generates force. It does not move. The muscle action of the Serratus Anterior is isometric, not concentric. Therefore, lengthening the Serratus Anterior muscle prior to rotating the Shoulder Girdle forward accomplishes nothing, but, when misapplied can causes serious irreparable injuries.

Now your on this witch picking hunt, simple to see for those of us who understand the past on record.
Revenge is a powerful motivator. You have some changes to make!

We may start this thread when your inquisition is at end ? It would do a lot to stop career ending shoulder surgeries in youth pitchers.

The same models simulate Dr.Marshall’s same beliefs and understandings of his own prescribed principles. Don’t you see this yet?

You have left out the forearm joint, maybe this is why you don’t understand the mechanism of pronation vs. supination, now quickly add in this joint and description for your next article.

You may want to go back and comprehend what Dr.Marshall said in you own retrieved quote

Dr.MM- My mioanglos iron ball interval-training program increases the strength of these structures to withstand greater stress.”

He said strength helps withstand greater stress. He has always contended that, only and always the credit for high velocity to genetic superiority and neural tempo “motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences” through ballistic training (bullpens).

Dr.MM- “Likewise, a muscle’s maximal force output depends on neural factors that effectively recruit and synchronize firing of motor units, not just local factors such as muscle fiber type and cross-section area.”

Corrections and retractions please!!! How could you have gotten this so wrong?

Would it be, Dishonesty or Ignorance or BOTH??

Dr.Marshall said this and reported it in 68 at MSU during his ground breaking research, nice to see again this verification that the conventional mechanic does not effectively use the Triceps , the muscle that actually extends the elbow. Dr.Marshall uses these same referances, Hmmm, how strange.

Dr.Marshall’s Latissimus Dorsi driven mechanic does use the Triceps as a prime mover. Wow this must mean the conventional mechanic you prescribe has a disruption in the Kinetic chain!!!

That would be overhead throw and only the conventional centripetal form of it.

Try getting away with this statement with Juan Marichal who performed axipetally!

.I thought you did not read my other post? Really? Now I know why you said what you said

It also does not portray the relationship to dampening from a non-free bearing state or the effort that is involved in lengthening antagonist muscles or Joint structures. What is stretched here?

That was a great effort coachxj, now how about those corrections? We wouldn’t want people to think that what you said is what Dr.Marshall actually believes now would we?

I’m really looking forwards to your next article and actually get to pronation, maybe I’m in for a big surprise and you are actually in favor of it’s voluntary use and the reasons why.



I am enjoying your articles and am now seeing misconceptions that I had trying to piece together info on your mechanics from secondary sources. Unfortunately I came around just after the closing of Setpro. I was wondering if you would ever make your ebooks available for sale. I know I would get a copy of everything you made available.

Thanks again

Shakespeare would have brought it already!!!

[b]To Pronate Or Not To Pronate, Part 2
by Paul Nyman
APRIL 28, 2013

This little verse came from Kinetics of Human Motion by Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky. Regarding the above verse Zatsiorsky writes: "This performance is known as the whip like movement. It is broadly used in throwing activities; during the delivery phase, acceleration and subsequent deceleration of bodyguard segments occur in a proximal-to-distal direction. The proximal-to-distal progression of limb motion in throwing and striking was known to practitioners well before scientific investigation of these activities began.

I used to hear quite often that throwing a baseball was all about arm strength and/or arm quickness. Nothing could be further from the truth or should I say facts.

Throwing is about developing momentum and then converting that momentum in such a manner as to accelerate a baseball.

The primary mechanism for converting momentum is best illustrated by the comparison of a simple compound pendulum to a complex/compound pendulum.

In its basic form, the simple compound pendulum is simply a slender rod attached to one end and allowed to swing back and forth.

The complex compound pendulum is composed of segments where each segment is free to pivot around it and point.

For the sake of illustration I am representing the simple compound pendulum as a series of solid links that rigidly connect three masses (weights) together to form a single rod which pivots around one point.

I create a second pendulum in this case a complex compound pendulum by connecting three masses with rope or some other very flexible material.

By connecting each mass with a flexible material it allows each mass move and rotate freely yet all of the masses are still held together by the rope.

In essence the simple compound pendulum becomes a complex compound pendulum.

Taking both pendulums and displacing them 90° with respect to the vertical and allowing them to drop under the attraction of gravity, the whip affect can be seen in the difference between endpoint velocities of the two pendulums.

Endpoint velocity of simple compound pendulum = 29 feet/second

Endpoint velocity of complex compound pendulum = 66 feet/second

The main point I’m trying to make here is that it’s rotation around a fixed point creates velocity in throwing a baseball.

Rotating around a fixed point is about curvilinear motion, i.e. we are not talking about straight lines here.

Another absolutely critical concept that Marshall either totally dismisses or does not understand is the conservation of momentum.

Rotational momentum is most efficiently captured and transferred from one segment to the next if the next segment rotates in the same plane as the preceding segment that is transferring the momentum.

The sequential buildup and transfer of rotational momentum

5 Matching the plane of the arm to the plane of rotational momentum

Another extremely important point is that the angle of the joints is critical with respect to optimizing the throwing of the baseball. For example the amount of elbow flex prior to external rotation has a significant effect on not ball velocity but also ball movement. I’ll say this topic for another day.

From Coaching Pitchers By Michael G. Marshall, Ph.D. Chapter 29: Sir Isaac Newton

 "Once baseball pitchers remove baseballs from their glove, the baseballs want to move at constant velocities in straight lines. Therefore, if baseball pitchers want to move baseballs in non-straight lines, then they must apply additional force to overcome the straight-line inertial pathways baseballs want to follow.  To constantly have to overcome non-straight line movements wastes force.

      Curvilinear force applications waste force in two ways. 

 First, they require pitchers to constantly redirect the mass of the baseballs. Second, they take force away from straight-line force applications.

    When baseball pitchers apply force from side-to-side and up-and-down as well as toward-home-plate, only the toward-home-plate force application influences release velocity."

Jeff Sparks illustrates Mike Marshall’s throwing mechanics:

Q: Why am I picking Dr. Marshall?

A: First of all I’m not picking on Dr. Marshall. What I am trying to do is develop a better understanding of where the current pronation fad came from. Dr. Marshall is, my opinion, the originator of pronation teaching. Understanding how he views how the body throws the baseball is critical to the discussion.

Understanding how the body REALLY throws the baseball IS THE prerequisite for understanding the how and why of pronation. I’ve spent many (too many?) years and countless hours trying to understand the mechanics of throwing. Simulating the throwing motion using models based on physics has greatly increased my understanding of the throwing process.

This model is composed exclusively of a complex compound pendulum consisting of upper arm, forearm, and hand connected by what would be the shoulder joint, the elbow joint and the wrist joint.

The complex compound pendulum is attached by the shoulder joint to a mass which represents the upper torso.

The upper torso is rotated in such a manner to represent shoulder rotation using shoulder rotational velocities of an average college pitcher.

This simulation results and a throwing velocity of 86 mph.

In chapter 36 of Dr. Mike Marshall’s pitching book

 "For pitchers to powerfully drive their pitches toward home plate, they need to strengthen the bones, ligaments and tendons of the muscles that accelerate their pitching arm toward home plate. My mioanglos iron ball interval-training program increases the strength of these structures to withstand greater stress.

 My pitchers start with six pound shot puts. In size, six pound iron balls compare with softballs. Therefore, while six pound iron balls require extra gripping effort, that extra gripping effort strengthens their ability to grip baseballs."

I’m not sure if the belief in arm strength is as dominant today as it was 10 or 15 years ago i.e. that the key to throwing hard is arm strength.

  1. How many times we seen the skinny kid throw bullets and the big muscular husky kid throw cream puffs?

  2. What exactly is arm strength?

  3. Is throwing a baseball caused by the effect of muscles contracting rapidly (strongly) to accelerate the baseball?

  4. Or is arm strength simply the strength necessary to withstand the inertial forces created by a whip like throwing action?

Dr. Marshall (and many others?) believe that arm strength is necessary to actively accelerate the baseball.

In the beginning, I was just as guilty and believing arm strength with the key to throwing velocity. For example that the action of the triceps muscle is critical to extending the forearm to throw the baseball. Early in my throwing research, I discovered a very interesting research paper which stated the following (and was the beginning of my throwing the baseball re-education)

Another study utilized a model to fractionate the three-dimensional angular acceleration vector of the segments during an overhand throw into the two-dimensional kinetic and kinematic parameters (Feltner, 1989). The results of this computer model revealed that the elbow extensor muscles created no extension moment as the distal segment began its rapid extension, suggesting that the inertial component of this joint action was the responsible agent for elbow extension.

While Feltner was the first to propose that the elbow extensors did not contribute substantially to elbow extension during the overhand throw, it was not until Dobbins (Roberts, 1971) who, through the use of a differential radial nerve block to eliminate triceps activity, was able to provide substantive proof. Dobbins reported that after six practice trials, the participants were able to throw at greater than 85% of the velocity attained before the nerve block. These findings give credence to Feltner’s suggestion of the relative lack of contribution of the elbow extensor muscles during the rapid elbow extension during the overhand throw.

The notion that the elbow extensors sparsely contribute to elbow extension in the overhand throw was further supported by two other groups, who reported very little elbow extensor activity during the rapid elbow extension using EMG analysis.

(Toyoshima et al., 1976; Atwater, 1979; Fleisig et al., 1995), each supporting the inertial based Theory One (Ford, 1998). Again I ask the question “what is the role of arm strength in throwing a baseball”?

Is it active participation the form of aggressive muscle contraction?

Or is it simply “holding on for dear life”?

Similar to a chain of ice skaters holding hands and skating rapidly in unison and then one end of the chain of skaters comes to a quick stop and the next skater comes to a stop and as the sequence progresses the last gators on the end furthest from the first data who stopped has everything to do to hold on and in most instances goes flying off in a straight line.

The biomechanical model shown in Figure 7 has no components that contract (shorten or stretch).

It is simply a series 3 slender rods (upper arm, forearm and hand) that are held in place with fixed (rigid) rods.

At the right time each rod is released i.e. the connection to the rod is broken so that the segment may then move on its own. The end result is a 86 miles an hour fastball.

Next time the anatomy of pronation.[/b]

 Dr.MM - Mr. Nyman wrote: "The primary mechanism for converting momentum is best illustrated by the comparison of a simple compound pendulum to a complex/compound pendulum."

 With all his diagrams, Mr. Nyman goes to great lengths to show that baseball pitchers are not able to apply force in straight lines toward home plate.

 Mr. Nyman wrote: "Rotating around a fixed point is about curvilinear motion, i.e. we are not talking about straight lines here."

 With regard to side-to-side movement, when 'traditional' baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally move their pitching upper arm, the baseball follows is very curvilinear pathway. As a result, these baseball pitchers injure their pitching shoulders and never achieve their genetic maximum release velocity.

 With regard to side-to-side movement, when my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to vertically move their pitching upper arm, the baseball follows a very rectilinear pathway. As a result, my baseball pitchers do not injure their pitching shoulders and, with the proper interval-training program, are able to achieve their genetic release velocity.

 However, as an absolutist, Mr. Nyman is correct that, even with my baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers are not able to apply force in perfectly straight lines. Nevertheless, that my baseball pitchers are able to decrease the side-to-side movement of the baseball from over six feet to less than two feet significantly decreases the stress on the pitching shoulder joint and significantly increases their release velocity.

 Mr. Nyman wrote: "The notion that the elbow extensors sparsely contribute to elbow extension in the overhand throw was further supported by two other groups, who reported very little elbow extensor activity during the rapid elbow extension using EMG analysis."

 The earliest EMG research Mr. Nyman cites was Toyoshima et al., 1976.

 As part of my annual review of scientific article related to Kinesiology, I read Dr. Basmajian's work on electromyography (EMG).

 Dr. John V. Basmajian used fine-wire EMG to demonstrate that subjects could voluntarily control muscles.

 Fine-wire EMG produced reliable muscle contraction recordings. However, when subjects moved rapidly, fine-wire EMG could not produce reliable results.

 As a result, researchers started to use surface EMG receivers. Unfortunately, at competitive intensities, the surface electrodes came loose and did not record the intensities of the muscle actions.

 Therefore, instead of EMG, I trusted Applied Anatomy. That means that I understand what muscles make what movements.

 In 1967, I found that I had severely decreased the flexion range of motion of my pitching elbow.

 To understand what changes in the Humerus and Ulna bones prevented full flexion, I immediately had X-rays taken.

 The X-ray showed that my 'traditional' baseball pitching motion caused the coronoid process of my Ulna bone to lengthened.

 As an Applied Anatomist, I knew that the Brachialis muscle inserts into the coronoid process of the Ulna bone.

 From these two facts, I determined that, instead of using the Triceps Brachii muscle to mioanglosly extended my pitching elbow, I plioanglosly flexed my pitching elbow.

 Therefore, in 1967, I knew that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion does not actively extend the pitching elbow.

 But, who first discovered that 'traditional' baseball pitchers did not use their Triceps Brachii muscle to mioanglosly extend their pitching elbow does not matter. What matters is what do baseball pitchers have to do to be able to use their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend the pitching elbow.

 The Triceps Brachii muscle has the highest percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers of all the muscles in the pitching arm. Therefore, when baseball pitchers learn how to use their Triceps Brachii muscle to mioanglosly extend their pitching elbow, they will significantly increase their release velocity.

 Mr. Nyman wrote: "Is it active participation the form of aggressive muscle contraction? Or is it simply “holding on for dear life”?"

 When 'traditional' baseball pitchers take their pitching arm several feet behind the glove side of their body, to move their pitching arm to the pitching arm side of their body, these baseball pitchers apply force to the baseball sideways to the pitching arm side of their body.

 This sideways force throw their pitching forearm laterally away from the pitching arm side of their body.

 The only way that these baseball pitchers are able to stop their pitching forearm from flying off their pitching upper arm is to contract their Brachialis muscle.

 The Brachialis muscle is the pure elbow flexion muscle. The Triceps Brachii muscle is the pure elbow extension muscle.

 However, unless the joint angle does not change, antagonistic muscles cannot co-contract.

 This means that 'traditional' baseball pitchers are not able to use their Triceps Brachii muscle to mioanglosly extend their pitching elbow. This means that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion violates the 'Kinetic Chain' momentum requirement.

 Because my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive their pitching upper arm straight toward home plate, my baseball pitchers do not generate the side-to-side force that causes 'traditional' baseball pitchers to involuntarily contract their Brachialis muscle. As a result, my baseball pitchers use their Triceps Brachii muscle.

 The Triceps Brachii considerably increases the straight line force that my baseball pitchers are able to apply to the baseball, which significantly increases their release velocity.