A Quicker First Step: Giant Flat Bands
Giant flat band resistance loops are fairly common in the sports and conditioning world. However, many people do not know just how versatile these bands can be. They can be used to assist stretching hamstrings, groin, hips, glutes, and quads. Others use them in the weight room as they wrap the bands around the ends of weight bars while doing exercises such as bench press and squats.
You may have known of these uses for the giant flat bands but I recently ran across a video of former National League MVP Barry Larkin (Click Here) using these bands in a method that I hadn't seen before. Barry is using the largest flat band, the 2 1/2 inch band, around his waist and is working on his first few steps when trying to steal a base. His trainer is holding the smaller 1 1/8 inch flat band and helping Barry's hips explode open as he takes his first stride. They are working on the first explosive step that a runner takes when the pitcher begins to deliver to the plate. This is a great exercise because not only are Barry's hips being snapped open in the drill but he is also training against the resistance of the band which is a type of overload training. I would even suggest going a step further with it and switch the side the bands are pulling from so that Barry's next set would have the bands pulling him toward 2nd base. This way his body is being sped up by the bands and is giving him a feeling of moving faster than he does when he's actually stealing a bag. This would be his underload training. For those of you who have read my last few articles, this is another example of an elite Major League athlete who is training his explosive, fast twitch ATP energy system in order to try and create as much speed and power as he can from a still position.
Hopefully this can give you some new thoughts and ideas on how to train your base runners and a new way to use the giant flat band resistance loops.