This entry was posted on September 3, 2011 by Brian Oates.
A warm up routine. Everybody has one, from California to New York, from little league to the big leagues. Before practice or games a warm up is necessary to prepare players for the competition soon to ensue. Although everybody does it and knows the importance of a good warm up routine, so many people get it wrong. Too often, it's a slow jog from one foul pole to the other followed by players "circling it up" to spend 10 minutes static stretching their cold muscles. Coaches and players all over the nation are guilty of this awful sham of a warm up. These players are no more ready for competition than if they had just rolled out of bed.
There are a select few who have elite warm up/wake up protocols that include plyometrics, agilities, and dynamic stretching. These are implemented by people who understand the importance of warming and recruiting the muscles the athlete will soon be calling upon to perform the demands of his/her sport. These impressive pre-game routines successfully raise your body temperature, prepare your body for the coordination, footwork, and agility of the tasks that lay ahead and they loosen your muscles and promote flexibility to protect against injury. However, it is still lacking in totally preparing a player for the specific demands of the sport of baseball.
In baseball, rotation is king. Whether you are throwing, hitting, or making the initial movement to steal 2nd base, baseball athletes need to be prepared to use their core, obliques, lower back, hips, and arms. Yet, think about the warm-ups I have just described, even the really good ones. They do not generally involve the core or upper body and they do not usually prepare for the explosive rotational movements that you will soon be requiring from your body.
Baseball has different needs and recruits different muscles than nearly all other sports. So something else is needed. Something that will let the muscles, tendons, and ligaments required to rotate your hips explosively to be turned on and informed that they will soon be used. The number of oblique and arm injuries in baseball show there is a disconnect between the preparation of a baseball athlete and the demands the game puts on their bodies.
To prepare for the rotational and unique throwing demands of the game, baseball players need a warm up that is more sport specific after they complete the plyometrics, agilities, and dynamic flexibility exercises. Although there are a few alternatives that could possibly do this, Speed Chains are the perfect sport specific exercise to accomplish this goal. The Torso Burner Speed Chain can be used to warm up and prepare the core, hips, and lower back for the rigorous rotational demands of the game. The Throwing and Bat SpeedChains can be used to warm up the arm and muscles used during a swing in the exact same range of motions. No other exercises are this skill specific, allowing your body or arm to move as fast, while having as much load as created by the chains.
The key to using the chains as a warm up tool as opposed to a rigorous workout is to use the chains for a slightly longer duration, such as 10 to 12 seconds, while decreasing the number of sets performed. This way, the Speed Chains are still training the ATP energy system, but because of the longer duration your intensity will be slightly less and therefore more of a warm up to get the blood flowing into the proper muscles. This will also help because you are warming up using the same movements used during the practice or games that will follow.
Utilizing the Speed Chains as the last phase of a warm up will allow athletes to be explosive on their first swing or throw. They will no longer waste the first 20 swings trying to get loosened up and will instead be able to hit the ground running at the start of practice. Pitchers and fielders will not look like old men on their first few throws of the day. Instead, they will be loose and their muscles awake so they will be able to let their arms be "whip like" out of the gate.
Not only will Speed Chains help your players be athletic and explosive at the start of practice but they can also play a huge part in eradicating many of the common injuries associated with the game of baseball. Oblique injuries and many of the common arm ailments will be eliminated because your athletes will be better prepared for the demands of baseball. Incorporate Speed Chains into your warm ups and it can pay serious dividends.
Oates Specialties is a family owned and operated business. Since starting the company in 2003 with baseball as its primary focus, Robert and Gloria Oates, along with their son Brian, have worked diligently to develop a line of quality athletic conditioning tools that is unparalleled. We hope you enjoy our product line, videos, and blog. Contact us if we can help you in any way!