The Latest Happenings
There are a number of great baseball programs in Texas, especially in the Houston area. The Woodlands High School, located 45 minutes north of downtown Houston, is one of those great programs. The Highlanders have won the 5A baseball state championship in 2000 and 2006 as well as having a number of first round draft picks in the MLB draft over the years. Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with Ron Eastman, the head baseball coach at the Woodlands. Coach Eastman began using the Speed Chains a few seasons ago and I wanted to get his feedback regarding his programs use of the chains.
The Woodlands baseball program extensively uses both the Bat Speed Chain
and the Torso Burner
Speed Chains. They use the Torso Burner Speed Chain in their overall weight conditioning program while the Bat Speed Chain is used during hitting circuits. Coach Eastman
emphasized how great of a core workout the Speed Chains are and he explained how they add a new dimension to the type of workouts he was doing before with kettlebells and ropes. Although the Bat Speed Chain is used in conjunction with hitting drills while the Torso Burner is utilized for general core strength and explosiveness, they are used in similar ways.
Coach Eastman stated that he varies the duration of the Speed Chain exercises depending on the time of year. During the early off-season his players use the chains for durations of 20-30 seconds to focus more on their overall conditioning and endurance. Using the Speed Chains for longer periods of time is a great way to improve an athlete’s cardiovascular endurance while still performing dynamic and explosive exercises. This is a far superior way for a rotational athlete, such as a baseball player, to train than simply having them run long distances. However, as the season approaches and his athletes are preparing for more baseball specific movements, Coach Eastman has his guys use the
chains in shorter durations such as 6-8 seconds. This helps to better replicate the explosive, short burst of energy required by baseball movements in a game.
Besides their versatility in terms of the type of training you can do with them, Coach Eastman mentioned that part of what makes the Speed Chains so great is their uniqueness. Baseball players have been doing crunches and lifting weights for a long time and therefore they respond positively to something different such as the chains. Besides his athlete’s interest in the Speed Chains, Coach Eastman stated that his guys have seen real improvements in core and rotational strength as well as sport specific improvements such as increased velocities and bat speeds.
Further, Coach Eastman stated that as new explosive workouts are becoming more popular for elite athletes and these methods are being reported to the general public, the easier it becomes for his players to accept unique ways to train. Specifically, Coach Eastman mentioned the ESPN special touting Boston Red Sox’s outfielder Carl Crawford’s use of the Speed Chains during the off-season made many of his younger guys want to use them.
On a personal note, Coach Eastman told me that ever since he began using the Speed Chains for himself, along with Kettle Bells and Ropes, he has never been in better shape. His knee, back, shoulder, and hip pain has vanished making him feel healthier and more ready to withstand the grueling spring season.
So whether for general health purposes or for specific baseball movements, Coach Eastman believes Speed Chains can be a great addition to a person’s workout. He truly believes in the Speed Chains and states that his program will be using them for years to come. I highly recommend you checking out our video
of both the Torso Burner and Bat Speed Chain if you are unfamiliar with the products. Just like the Woodland’s baseball program has come to find out, the Speed Chains will have you working harder and faster than ever before.
Until next time,
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Baseball players in Tulsa, Oklahoma are a lucky group of athletes. In my last article 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.
The strength and conditioning coach that Danny referred me to is Matt Frazier. Matt is the son of former major league pitcher George Frazier and the brother of Colorado Rockies minor league pitcher Parker Frazier. Matt spent time as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Oral Roberts University Baseball team before becoming a strength and conditioning coach in the Colorado Rockies organization. While with the Rockies organization he trained players such as Ubaldo Jimenez, Manuel Corpas, Brad Hawpe, and Matt Holliday among others. Needless to say, Matt has a strong baseball background and a tremendous amount of experience in baseball specific strength training.
Matt began by sharing with me the basics of his athlete’s conditioning program. Because the majority of his athletes are busy playing a full schedule of summer baseball they generally attend his training sessions twice a week. One of these sessions is dedicated to using the
Speed Chains among other workout devices. Matt’s players use the Torso Burner Speed Chain
, the Bat Speed Chain
, and the Throwing Speed Chain
during a typical workout. Matt told me that his guys usually go through an extended warm up before using the chains in order to warm up and prepare their body for the intense workout that is to follow. Usually this warm up last 15 to 20 minutes before the half hour workout begins.
Matt sets up four stations of chain exercises, using the types of Speed Chains listed above. The players perform 1 set of between 6 and 8 chain exercises for around 12-18 seconds depending on whether the goal is explosiveness/quickness or endurance. Some of the exercises the athletes at D-Bat Tulsa perform with the Torso Burner are side to sides, up and downs with the arms, and bent over rows.
With the Bat Speed Chains
and the Throwing Speed Chain
, Matt has his players swing and throw with not only their dominant arm/side but also with their non-dominant arm/side. This is extremely beneficial, as Matt tells me, because it helps balance out his athletes’ bodies. Baseball is a one side dominant game, except for those fairly rare individuals who are switch hitters (or the even rarer players who throw with both arms). Because an athlete constantly uses one side of his body to perform the same movements over and over again, these muscles become larger and stronger than their counterparts on the opposite side.
These imbalances are not healthy and can lead to injuries. Muscle imbalance is often the cause of hamstring
injuries for example, as the quadricep is stronger than the hamstring and therefore the hamstring cannot hold up to the stress and breaks down. Muscle imbalances in baseball are commonly seen throughout the core as an athlete constantly rotates to one side. This repetitive movement creates one side of the core, the side that is in charge of the explosive rotation, to become stronger than the other side, and like the hamstring/quad relationship, one side often cannot handle the force and energy created by the other. This is what leads to oblique injuries, an epidemic in today’s game.
But Matt is on the right track having his players swing and throw with both sides. This allows the non-dominant muscles to become the dominant muscles, even if just for the exercise, and helps to strengthen them. Professional athletes in different sports are beginning to understand this and train accordingly. For example, Tiger Woods swings the same number of times left handed after a round as he did right handed on the course. Furthermore, challenging athletes to perform the same movements to both sides of their body helps to improve coordination and the neuro-muscular pathways in an athlete’s body, which helps to improve their athleticism.
Matt says that while his athletes “love to hate” the Speed Chains, they are seeing a great deal of improvements in all aspects of their game. Matt told me that his guys have seen speed, strength and velocity improvements. Moreover, Matt said that everybody who uses the Speed Chains have had their core strength sky rocket.
I found it particularly humorous when Matt shared with me what often resulted when new players joined his conditioning program. Matt said that because the Speed Chains require so many new movements and new challenges for athletes using them for the first time, he has had many actually throw up from the grueling workout. Now Matt did go on to say that the Speed Chains were not the only aspect of the workout as he also used heavy duty ropes, handle medicine balls, and air filled medicine balls through the course of a session but that the Speed Chains played a huge roll in exhausting his guys especially since they are the first training equipment used.
I really appreciated Matt, Richard, and Danny taking the time out of their busy day to visit with me. It was a great conversation and I learned a great deal about how the Speed Chains are being specifically used in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you are interested in finding out what the Speed Chains are all about and want to challenge yourself to become a better trained athlete, please check out our videos
of the many Speed Chain products being used.
If you have any additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Until next time,
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Scott Glanz is the owner and founder of The Bullpen LLC, a pitching academy and training center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Scott pitched in the Anaheim Angels farm system after playing at Arkansas but ran into arm problems and ended up having 4 arm surgeries during his baseball career. He is now a personal trainer and a pitching coach and recently began using Speed Chains at his facility for both his athletes and himself. Scott said his arm would often tire and hurt from throwing during lessons and training sessions but since he began using the Rotator Cuff Speed Chain his arm feels better than ever.
Scott personally uses the Rotator Cuff in three exercises on a daily basis. He performs arm circles in both directions, fig
ure 8’s in front of his body, and then what he calls the lasso which consists of whipping the chain back in forth essentially working the internal/external rotation of his arm. After doing these exercises continuously for around 2 minutes, Scott told me his arm feels incredibly loose and warmed up. Because Scott often demonstrates this routine to his students, he found himself repeating it 8 times in one day which he commented only helped to further show how strong his arm was becoming. Now at 50 years old, Scott truly believes he has a healthier arm than he did when he was playing collegiate or professional baseball.
Scott also works with baseball players who are coming off of injuries and he shared with me the story of a catcher who had a serious injury to the front of his shoulder. On the first day that he was cleared by his orthopedic surgeon to perform functional activities with his arm, Scott gave him the Rotator Cuff Chain to use and he had the young man do circles to the side of his body both ways for 8 seconds. Although the kid started out tentatively, once he realized this did not hurt his shoulder he began to pick up the pace. The second set was done for 15 seconds each way with the catcher continuously gaining confidence. He then did figure 8s for 8 seconds each direction followed by 3 sets of casting forward and back for 10 seconds without any pain at all. At the end of the session the player was amazed by how his arm had gotten a tremendous workout and burn without putting any stress on his tender shoulder.
This just goes to demonstrate that the Rotator Cuff is great for athletes no matter where they are in terms of arm strength or health. The reason for this is because the weight of the Rotator Cuff forces the athlete to move his or her arm in the most efficient range of motion which keeps the arm in its strongest positions while allowing the entire rotator cuff to get a workout. Also, the variable resistance of the chain on the Rotator Cuff, which gets larger and heavier as it gets further away from the athlete, creates a unique resistance for the athlete. If the athlete is not working the chain very fast or hard then he or she will only move the small, light chain putting less weight on the shoulder. However, if a bigger, stronger athlete works the chain at a very high rate of speed then he or she will move more of the larger, heavier chain toward the end which provides more resistance. This is what allows athletes of all ability to improve their shoulder range of motion and strength.
Not only are the athletes at The Bullpen using the Rotator Cuff but they are also using the Torso Burner Speed Chain
to improve their core strength and rotational ability. The baseball players are put through 3 exercises a day 4 days a week with the Torso Burner. The athletes perform the exercise for 30 seconds at a time with 12 second intervals between exercises. As Scott put it, his athletes “love to hate” the Speed Chains and realize that although it is a tremendously tough workout the benefits are unquestionably worth it.
Scott also mentioned they perform numerous medicine ball exercises to strengthen the core but that these drills pale in comparison to what the Speed Chains offer his athletes. Scott has become such a believer in the Speed Chains that he is working to increase the size of his training facility to add room for a strength portion which will largely incorporate the Speed Chains.
If you are looking for pitching instruction and training in the Tulsa area, I would highly recommend looking up Scott Glanz at The Bullpen. He is utilizing some of the latest technology and training methods to improve his athletes’ abilities.
If you want more information of the Rotator Cuff Chains or the Torso Burner Chains, please feel free to contact me and watch our videos
that provide demonstrations of the products being used.
Until next time,
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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dale Homniok, a coach from Brazoria, Texas, about using the Speed Chains with young baseball athletes ranging from 10-12 years old. These young baseball players are on select travel squads and play tough competition throughout the year. Dale has implemented the Speed Chains into these kids’ workouts along with medicine balls and power sleds.
These athletes use the Torso Burner Speed Chain once a week and use the Throwing Speed Chain twice a week. Dale said that he has noticed their general fitness level increase among other things. Not only is their endurance improving, but so is their coordination and athleticism. The Speed Chains have been able to help put these young kids on a playing level that is several years more advanced than most their age. As Dale put it, his 10 year olds are playing like they are 12 year old, and at that age two years makes quite a difference in terms of ability.
Additionally, Dale stated that the improvement in overall athleticism translates to all aspects of the game as his players are able to more effortlessly field and fire off throws as they seem to have more control of their young bodies. Dale commented that it seemed as though his players could snap off throws across the diamond unlike ever before.
While Dale was able to provide me with great subjective feedback on the impact that training with the Speed Chains has made on his kids, there is a more scientific answer for the improvements seen by Dale. As I have discussed in previous blogs, the Speed Chains are able to improve the neuromuscular pathways in athletes, which enables players to increase their athleticism. Neuromuscular pathways are the communication channels between the brain and the muscles and they are undeveloped and inefficient at young ages. This is why young children have issues with coordination at times. Like anything, however, these pathways can be improved and the Speed Chains allows for the training of such pathways which creates better communication between the brain and muscles. This is the result of the chains forcing athletes to move quickly and powerfully. Over time, this allows young athletes to learn how to better control their bodies and creates a better athlete.
The Speed Chains are safe for children as young as 8-10 years old as they do not put direct loads or stress on the child’s body/frame. Additionally, the chains are smaller and lighter making it easier for the athlete to move quickly. If you are interested in a great way to train youth athletes, or even adult athletes, the Speed Chains are an exceptional tool to do so.
Check out our videos to see the types of exercises possible to train with the Speed Chains.
Until next time,
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A number of NFL players are beginning to use Speed Chains in the offseason as a supplement to their already strenuous workouts. Some use the Speed Chains when training with strength coach Lee Fiochi at his facility in Houston, Texas, while others are being introduced to the chains at Mark Verstegen’s Athletes’ Performance training facility in Arizona. ESPN recently went to Athletes’ Performance to see how a number of top NFL players are keeping their bodies in top shape despite the current lockout.
Click here to watch the video: espn.go.com/video/clip
As you can see from the video, these professional athletes are able to add Speed Chains to the numerous other activities they already use to prepare. The Speed Chains are a great addition because they are unlike any other exercise in that they can simultaneously train for both speed and power. This is the result of the variable resistance technology the chains utilize because of the increasing size of the chain link as the chain extends away from the athlete.
Check out other videos of the chains being used and don’t hesitate to contact us at Chain Training if you have any questions or would like to add the unique Speed Chains to your training regimen.
Until next time,
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As players, coaches, and trainers realize the numerous benefits of using Speed Chains the word has begun to spread throughout the nation. Every day new athletes are exposed to training with these remarkable products and feel the unique effect that only Speed Chains can provide. Over the past few years, Major League Baseball players, professional football players, boxers, Olympians, and numerous amateur athletes have used Speed Chains to train for the specific needs of their different sports. Now it appears that many more elite athletes will get an opportunity to use the Speed Chains as well.
One of the newest Speed Chain users is Athletes Performance, founded by the world renowned strength coach Mark Verstegen. Athletes Performance is a leader in integrated performance training, nutrition, and physical therapy for elite and professional athletes. Athletes Performance is located in Phoenix, Arizona but also has facilities in California, Florida, and Texas.
Athletes Performance is now using Speed Chains and Torso Burners in their training facilities to develop speed and agility in their athletes in a variety of sports including baseball, football, basketball, tennis, golf and more. We are extremely pleased to include such an elite training facility in the Speed Chains family. These world class strength and performance trainers have come to realize what many Speed Chain users before them already know: Speed Chains are unparalleled in their ability to dynamically train athletes through multiple ranges of motion at very high speeds. Whether an athlete is looking to gain power or increase speed, the variable resistance technology of Speed Chains allows for just that.
If you haven’t tried Speed Chains for yourself check out our videos
and see what this amazing product is all about. If you have any questions about any of the Speed Chain products please contact me.
Until next time,
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As I have mentioned in earlier posts, one of the great things about Speed Chains is their versatility. Athletes of all ages and in all sports use them to train for the specific demands of their sport as well as to become more athletic. I’ve watched young athletes around the age of 10 use the Speed Chains to help develop coordination as they try and understand how to more efficiently move their young bodies. On the other end of the spectrum I’ve seen grown men use the chains to help get in shape and train for men’s league softball/baseball.
Professional athletes such as outfielder Carl Crawford of the Boston Red Sox use the chains to train to move more explosively and strengthen their core for the specific rotational demands of baseball. Professional boxer and rising star Michael “lil warrior” Franco also trains explosively with the Speed Chains to help strengthen his midsection to withstand blows and to generate more power when throwing punches.
Another phenomenal athlete I recently learned uses the Speed Chains is UCLA’s Trevor Bauer. Trevor is a two time All-American pitcher who helped lead the Bruins to the College World Series last season and won two games in Omaha. He will once again anchor the UCLA pitching staff this season and is likely a first round pick in the upcoming MLB draft. Trevor uses the Torso Burner Speed Chain
to help strengthen his core for the tremendous demands that pitching a baseball places on the body.
The Torso Burner is a unique training device because of the way it is able to train and strengthen the core. The Torso Burner creates eccentric loading of the core at high speeds. In other words, the athlete is moving his body as fast as he can and the entire time the core is engaged, creating functional strength. Because athletes, such as Trevor, are using the Torso Burner through rotational planes it helps to train their bodies for the rotational movements associated with throwing a baseball.
The Torso Burner Speed Chain, like all of the Speed Chain products, has a variable resistance technology that makes it so effective to train with. The chain that is attached to the Torso Burner bar are small, light links and as the chain extends away from the user the chains gradually become larger and heavier until you reach the end links which are quite big and heavy. Because the chain closest to the athlete is small and light, it allows for the athlete to move very fast and explosively train speed and quickness. At the same time though, the end of the chain is heavy and so although the athlete is able to move very fast, he/she is also moving a lot of weight which helps to develop strength and power. This is what makes the product so unique and effective.
Many athletes have their own method of using the Speed Chains and Trevor Bauer is no different. He uses the Torso Burner the day or two before an outing to really activate his core so that it is awake and ready to go the next day during the game. Pitching is an explosive, dynamic activity in which the core must be prepared to withstand a lot of stress and energy. Trevor’s method of using the chains is great for doing this as it prepares his body for what is soon to come during the game the next day.
While Trevor finds this to be an effective way for himself to use the Torso Burner, each athlete is different and I wouldn’t recommend using the Speed Chains the day before an outing unless your body is sufficiently prepared for this type of work load. Trevor is known throughout the nation for his strenuous workout regimen and many athletes simply couldn’t handle performing such a dynamic exercises so close to a start.
Whatever your method of using the Speed Chains, it is guaranteed to make you a more explosive, dynamic athlete, much like Trevor Bauer. So if your goal is to be able to hit 96 mph like Trevor, Speed Chains might be a good start on the road to getting there.
Until next time,
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One of the newest athletes using the Speed Chains is professional boxer Michael “lil Warrior” Franco. Franco is a rising star in the bantam and super bantamweight divisions. He is currently ranked #4 and #8 in the North American Boxing Federation and North American Boxing Association respectively. Franco recently began incorporating the Speed Chains into his conditioning routine in order to prepare for his next fight.
Franco believes that the Running Arms Speed Chains have helped his arms get stronger and quicker, which in his sport is
essential. Successful boxers need to have quick and powerful arms in order to land devastating punches on their opponents. In addition to using the Running Arms Speed Chains Franco has also been utilizing the Torso Burner Speed Chain to help train his core. A strong core is important to boxing athletes since they must generate power without much benefit from momentum. Core strength allows for power to be generated from the rotational movement while throwing a punch. In addition, the core needs to be trained explosively in boxers so they can withstand traumatic blows to the mid-section by their opponent.
The Speed Chains also seem to be a natural fit for boxing as they can help athletes, such as Franco, train to be both explosive and to increase their endurance. If Franco wishes to concentrate on his explosiveness he can use the Speed Chains in 5-10 second increments, focusing on moving as fast as he possibly can. If on the other hand he wants to improve his endurance Franco can perform longer duration exercises such as 20-30 seconds in length.
I love the intensity evident in the face of Franco in all of these pictures, especially the picture below.
I hope to get a chance to talk to “lil Warrior” after his upcoming fight to find out in more detail how he has been able to incorporate the chains into his training regimen as well as the additional benefits he has felt from using them. Franco fights tonight, October 22 in San Diego, CA against Adolfo “El Terror” Landeros.
Good luck Michael “lil Warrior” Franco!!!
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One of the most frequent questions I receive from people contemplating a purchase of Speed Chains is regarding the size chains they should purchase. It is a tough question to answer due to the fact that I don’t know the athlete who will be using the Speed Chains. I thought I would take some time and address the issue of choosing the right size Speed Chain for the athlete(s) you’re buying it for.
Speed Chain exercises are explosive, dynamic activities and require certain elements to be met in order to be used safely. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the chain links at the end of the chain should never come off the ground. If an athlete ever reaches a point where he/she is moving the product so fast and powerfully that the ends of the chain are not staying firmly on the ground this is a sign the athlete needs to move to a heavier Speed Chain product. There are really two main considerations a prospective buyer of Speed Chains needs to take into consideration: 1.) The strength of the athlete; and 2.) The height of that athlete.
Both of these factors will effect how much the athlete will be able to move the chains and can help you decide which chain size to purchase. The stronger the athlete the more force he/she will be able to generate during the exercise and the more active the chains will be. Height is a factor for a couple of reasons. First, because the athlete is taller he will hold the product higher and therefore more chains are already displaced off of the ground. The second reason has to do with the amount of leverage the athlete will get. Because the center of gravity on taller athletes is higher, often times it will allow the athlete to naturally move more chain.
Lets take a look at our most popular and versatile product, the Torso Burner. The Torso Burner is available in 4 sizes: 1.) Light; 2.) XS; 3.) XXS; 4.) Pro. The chains in these models get larger/heavier and the overall length of the chain gets longer as you move from the Light to the Pro so that the weight increases for the larger the athlete.
The light model is meant for the youngest kids. This usually includes those who are as young as 7 years old up to around 11 or 12. These are designed for kids who are using the chains to work on coordination as much as for strength/speed training. The XS model is generally meant for those athletes who are in middle school and who are not quite into weight training or other forms of workouts meant to develop muscle.
The next size up is the most common seller, the XXS. This product is for those high school and college athletes who have muscle definition. This product is especially great for high school coaches because it can be utilized for athletes 14-18 years old, which is often a difficult task given the differences in size and strength of athletes during these years. Because the XXS comes with chain extensions which you can place on the ends of the chain more athletes can use this one product. When an upperclassmen who is muscularly developed is about to use the Torso Burner the extensions can be attached for additional weight for the athlete to work against. Those extensions can then be easily removed when a younger, less developed underclassmen is about to use the chains.
For the developed, strong, superior athlete such as a select number of high school athletes, college players, and professionals we recommend the PRO model. This product has larger chain links than any other product which gives it a much heavier weight. It is the longest chain as well and it too comes with extensions.
It is not a problem for athletes to use a chain that is slightly bigger/heavier than they need. The athlete will probably not be able to move as much chain or as fast as he could if he was using the chain perfect for him but as long as he/she can still move at a considerable speed this is not a problem. Because athletes are always growing in size, ability, and strength the chain may not be too big for long. Especially since the athlete will quickly increase his ability to move the chain after working out with it for a while.
The most important thing is to make sure the athlete is not using a chain too small. By not having enough resistance the athlete will not be developing as much power as he can and more importantly if the chain moves too much and comes off the ground there is a risk of injury. More than anything we need to make sure our athletes stay healthy and safe while working out.
Now for those of you who have looked at multiple products you will notice that different products have a different number of sizes to choose from. While the Torso Burner, Bat Speed Chain, and Throwing Chain all have 4 sizes, the Running Arms Chain has 3 sizes and the Rotator Cuff and Kicking Chain only have 2 sizes. There are short instructions next to each size helping to explain what kind of athlete that size is intended for.
If you have any difficulty picking out the size Speed Chain needed for yourself or your athlete please don’t hesitate to contact myself or another representative at Chain Training and we can help walk you through your choice.
Until next time,
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There are many training aides on the market today that claim to improve bat speed, including both overload and underload pieces of equipment. A typical overload training device might be a donut weight to put on the bat, a weighted sleeve that wraps around the barrel, or even a product that is made exclusively for overload bat speed training which has an instrument on the end that you can spin up or down to adjust the weight.
The problem with using overload training to improve bat speed is that it has been shown to have little effect on actually increasing bat speed. In fact, studies have shown overload training such as this can actually decrease bat speed. This is due to the fact that as you increase the weight of the instrument you are swinging your bat speed naturally decreases. Your body is going to react to the type and speed of training which you are performing. The body will only move as quickly as you ask it to, or as quickly as it is capable at the present time. Since the body is under extra stress and load from the bat weights the body will move slower, which is exactly the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.
The thought process behind overload training is that once the athlete returns to his regular bat it will feel light and he or she will be able to swing it faster since the body is used to moving with a heavier instrument. The problem with this theory is that the body has not been training and improving its fast twitch, explosive muscle fiber. It would be like taking a corner back in the NFL and only letting him train while pulling a sled with weights. When he takes the sled off he will feel lighter but his legs will actually move slower because they have been trained at a slower rate of speed.
If you want to improve bat speed, underload training is proving to be the best way to do it. Underload training is the equivalent of taking that same NFL corner back and having him train while running down hill or with bungees pulling him forward. His legs will move faster than they are used to forcing his muscles to fire more quickly. Once he returns to running unassisted on a level surface his legs remember the speed which they moved during training.
Underload training equipment for hitters often consists of an athlete simply grabbing lighter bats than they swing in a game. This is because there are not a lot of options for underload training for hitters. However, one of the newest products from the makers of Speed Chains is a unique underload training device. This device is called the NOS chain. NOS stands for neuro-muscular overspeed device and is a great tool for hitters looking to improve their bat speed.
The NOS chain is unique because of its design which features a small ball connected by chain links to a baseball bat handle. This design allows for the product to have a variable resistance, as it is end loaded and can be altered by changing the length of the chain. The NOS chain is also unique in that it feels extremely light at the start of the swing during acceleration when the body is trying to go from 0 to 100 mph as quickly as possible. About half way through the acceleration process the athlete’s bat speed is actually given a boost by the momentum of the ball at the end of the product, creating a faster swing than the athlete could naturally create on his own. Over time, this will help teach the body to fire the necessary muscles at the right speed to recreate the speed of the NOS chain swing even when the athlete has a regular bat in his hands.
As the batter gets closer to the contact zone another special thing happens with the NOS chain. The ball and its connecting chain actually line up with the handle creating a feel as though you are swinging a regular bat. Because the end loaded weights align with the rest of the device the athlete can feel the “linking up” and therefore at the most important part of the swing (contact) the product simulates the heavier feeling of having a bat in your hands.
Once the hitter leaves the contact point and begins his follow through the product once again feels light because the athlete has begun to slow down his hands and body as he decelerates and the ball ends up in front of the handle helping the athlete to finish the swing.
Here is a link to a video of an athlete using the NOS chain. Notice during the slow motion of the hitter using the NOS chain how the ball links up at contact with the handle of the bat. chaintraining.com/cart/nos-chain-p-12.html
The unique ability of the product to go from light to heavy back to light distinguishes it from the other products on the market. The NOS chain is light when you are tying to create bat speed, heavier at the contact point allowing the athlete to feel very similar as he would during a game like at bat, and then the product is light once again during the deceleration process. Because of this the hitter will be able to train his body to move more quickly than ever before while still getting a game like feeling at contact. This will help translate to added mph on his bat swing speed.
Until next time,
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