Many sports require an athlete to repeat the same motion or movement time and time again which can cause the athlete's body to become unbalanced. Whether the athlete is throwing a baseball, softball, football, shot-put, or discus, or he is swinging a bat, golf club, or tennis racket, these activities force the athlete to use the same muscles through the same range of motion numerous times. This repetitive use by the same muscle groups causes certain muscles to become much stronger than their opposing muscles and according to Mark Verstegen, founder of Athletes Performance, "About 65% of injuries come from overuse, which is repetitive use of joints that are rendered dysfunctional by muscular imbalances."
Many coaches, players, and individuals have realized the benefits that stem from performing explosive, dynamic exercises with a medicine ball. I was first introduced to such throws in high school when I began training with Coach Ron Wolforth and his Athletic Pitcher program. In this program we performed a series of catapult throws that incorporated a number for different dynamic movements. Usually the first exercise that we would do was from our knee. We would start on one knee and then rare back and throw the medicine ball as hard as we could from this position. The goal was to generate enough energy to throw the ball with force and then let that momentum carry you off the ground and over your plant leg.
Baseball players in Tulsa, Oklahoma are a lucky group of athletes. Last week I spoke with Scott Glanz, a former professional baseball player who recently opened up a training facility in Tulsa. Just yesterday I had an interesting conversation with another group of coaches from Tulsa at the D-Bat facility in the Broken Arrow community. I began the conversation speaking with Richard Irvin and Danny Bean about their use of the Speed Chains when training baseball athletes who come to their facility. Danny immediately expressed his belief that the Speed Chains are phenomenal training tools but referred me to the D-Bat Tulsa’s strength and conditioning coach to learn more about the specific integration of the Speed Chains.
Now that I am no longer playing ball I probably spend too much time in the weight room working on my “beach muscles.” After several months of lifting weights and doing very little functional strength work I decided to switch up my routine and focus on some body weight exercises. I pulled out my pair of Gymnastic Ringsthat I have used extensively in the past but hadn’t used in some time in order to focus on the most basic lifts. With the rings I generally do 3-5 sets of pull-ups, dips, reverse rows, pushups, and chest flys. These 5 exercises kicked my butt enough that I decided to dedicate a blog to them.
For those of you familiar with Oates Specialties you know that we are always searching for new explosive exercises to train athletes. One of our newest products, the TAP Slam Net, is a tool that allows an athlete to perform ballistic, multi-directional exercises that forces him to focus on controlling his body while moving at top speeds.
As many of our customers have learned over the years, Oates Specialties takes pride in finding new exceptional conditioning products to add to our TAP product line. This year is no different as we have added a number of new exciting products such as the TAP Rotational Core Builder, TAP Bell Clubs, TAP Eagle Claw Grip Strength Trainer, and Valslides to name a few. In addition, those of you who have read my past blogs and follow pitching coach Ron Wolforth know how much emphasis we put on an athlete’s ability to be stable while performing the movements of his or her sport.
While I am still on the subject of strengthening the core and increasing rotational power in athletes it is a great time to mention a new piece of equipment Oates Specialties has added to its product line: the TAP Rotational Core Builder. As you can tell by its name, it is a piece of equipment that can truly help build core strength, especially in the obliques.
A couple of posts ago I discussed how it was generally a waste of time for baseball athletes to do abdominal exercises such as crunches. Today I wanted to share a few ways to train the core that can actually translate to improved performance and superior functional core strength.
Today was the first day of Ron Wolforth’s Elite Pitcher’s Boot Camp at the Texas Baseball Ranch and because I will be in attendance all three days I decided that I would post a few blogs about some of my observations while there. For those of you unfamiliar with this camp it is, in my opinion, the absolute best for a baseball athlete, whether a pitcher or position player. Although it is definitely geared toward pitchers, the theme of the 3 day camp is to help athletes maximize their athletic ability by training the body to move faster and more explosively than ever before.
Today I went to a local gym to workout and like always found great amusement in watching many of the lifts I saw individuals performing. The most interesting thing I witnessed was a trainer at this gym working out with a young athlete, probably high school age, whom I overheard saying that he was a baseball player. At this point I became interested in observing the types of lifts the trainer had him perform and apparently I began watching during the core exercise phase of this athletes’ workout.
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!