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Add Muscle Mass, Get Recruited and Drafted

With the rigorous in-season schedule of games, practice, school, and life adding lean muscle mass can be very challenging. Add in distance running, hot weather, and a lack of training it can feel impossible to maintain bodyweight, let alone add some clean LBS to a wiry frame.

harper

Why is muscle mass so important?

Muscle mass and increased bodyweight increases potential force output, which is one of the keys when trying to run faster and throw harder. Not only is added muscle mass important for injury prevention, but it terms of health and longevity there are few indicators better than muscle mass.

I held a webinar last year and release my “90 MPH Formula”. As you can see below, I’m a huge believer that strength gains and bodyweight are near necessity to throwing above 90. Mechanics and a whole host of factors play into this, but my athletes have shown me the information listed is accurate over and over again.

90 MPH Formula file

I encourage you to compare your favorite collegiate or MLB team roster to the “90 MPH Formula”.

The performance indicators and decreased risk of injury are great for athletes, but why else would this matter for collegiate coaches and MLB organizations?

Dedication/Toughness

For the most athletes, adding a significant amount of muscle mass requires intense dedication. Having seen 100+ athletes add 20 lbs in 10 weeks, I know this is not for the faint of heart. The ones who go on to add 30-40 lbs over a 6 month period have a level of need for the weight and self-discipline that is impressive to say the least. Dedication, toughness, and sacrifice for a larger goal (like significant muscle gain) is something all highly competitive teams want.

Projectable/Image

Baseball, like most sports, is highly speculative. As I tell our draft eligible guys, all it takes is one scout to fall in love with you and you will be picked up. Same holds true for college coaches. Being undersized by 30-50lbs while being scouted or recruited is going to portray a less than ideal image of what you can offer, even if you are an exceptional athlete. As one of my good friends often says “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” prior to your college visits or your draft eligibility it is important to present yourself physically prepared for that next level of play. Leverage your opportunity to have those coaches speculate you are the hardest worker they have ever met.

During the first day of the MLB draft coverage, the hosts continually commented about how a bunch of the athletes were “gym rats”. They classified these guys as “workers” and would be an asset to each ball club they were about to join. Many college and pro organizations see the value of athletes who train hard, are more durable, and reach their potentials. Take the time now to dedicate yourself to being consistent while training hard and smart year-round.

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Move Fast, Throw Hard, Live Well – Development is a process, not a destination.

With the draft only a few days away, this list will bode well for many of my clients and readers hoping to one day be drafted.

88 percent of NFL draft picks played multiple sports

Tim-Tebow3

“According to TrackingFootball.com, 224 of the 256 players chosen during the draft were multi-sport athletes in high school. Of all draftees, 63% participated in track and field, 48% played basketball and 10% played baseball.”

Research has been pointing athletes towards playing multiple sports for maximum athleticism and decreased risk of overuse injury for years now. In my collegiate and clinical coaching experience, anecdotal evidence has been overwhelming that multi-sport athletes are healthier and reach high levels than their specialized counterparts.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon speaks out against specialization

Maddon-192x300

“I hate the specialization with kids, when they’re playing on these travel squads when they’re like 12, 13, 14 years old, only dedicated to one thing, Traveling all the time. Paying exorbitant amounts of money to play baseball with hopes they’re going to become a professional baseball player. “I think that’s crazy. I love cross-pollination when it comes to athletes, You get guys that did not just play baseball, meaning they’ve been around a different set of coaches and styles and ways to get in shape and thoughts. I love that.” Maddon said

Many parents I speak to are terrified that their child will not be prepared to play a high level of high school sport, will not get a scholarship, and will not get drafted. I understand the worry, but many are racing the wrong race. The goal should be to maximize enjoyment of the game, become as athletic as one can become, and keep on developing. Development is a process, not a destination.

3 Eating Secrets to Bulk Up Fast

Omelette-629x419

This week I have been bombarded with muscle gain and weight gain questions. With the summer approaching, many athletes are looking to pack on weight while playing and training hard. This can be tough, but is done every year in our gym— usually 20-30lbs in a 3-month window. These three tips help many of our ball players stay on track during these bulking phases.

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Predicting and Preventing UCL Injuries

Pitching coaches and researchers are pointing to mechanical flaws along with increased pitching velocities as the root cause of the large uptick in UCL tears. In the gym, we see a bunch of trends that have been correlated to UCL injuries either anecdotally or backed by research. The following are my top 3 red flags prior to a UCL injury from a thrower.

UCL

 

1.     Cervical Rotation Dysfunction

Cervical rotation is depended on good joint mobility as well as enough flexibility from the muscles that attach to the neck and shoulder. What most people miss when evaluating or training rotational athletes is that core stability plays a huge role in cervical rotation.

The first video is of a left-handed pitcher supine with full right rotation in his neck.

The next video is of the same left-handed pitcher standing with limited right cervical rotation.

The inability to move properly through the neck while standing (especially in right cervical rotation) will lead to altered pitching mechanics. On the mound the result will often present as “flying open”. Pitchers with this type of dysfunction struggle with consistency of pitch location and velocity. They also tend to present with neck and shoulder pain prior to UCL damage.

One fix that we use with these athletes is half get-ups. Usually a few challenging with or without weight can correct this dysfunction long-term.

2.     Tight Pitching Forearm

I have yet to find good literature on “forearm tightness” prior to UCL injury, but I can tell you from experience athletes who complain about forearm tightness on a regular basis that goes untreated often come back down the line with medial elbow pain, little leaguers elbow, or a UCL tear.

Studies have shown that the “flexor-pronator” muscles are used when throwing to create elbow stability.1 My suspicion is that where the body feels that it cannot control the violent valgus forces of the elbow during throwing, these forearm muscles (particularly the flexor carpi radialis) over-assist the passive restraints of the ulnar collateral ligament. This is a red flag that needs to be address immediately.

FCR

3.     Lower Body Injury or “Balance Issues”

Fluid transfer of force from one joint to the next is the basis for great movement, injury prevention, and high performance. Ignoring foot, ankle, and knee injuries while jumping back into high level throwing is asking for trouble up the kinetic chain.

Garrison et. al compared baseball players who had no UCL tears vs. players who did. Each group completed the Y-Balance Test, a quantitate test to measure overall balance. Participants with a UCL tear demonstrated decreased performance for their stance and lead lower extremities during the Y-Balance Test. The researchers concluded that there is a potential link between impaired balance and UCL tears in high school and collegiate baseball players.

I put “balance” in quotations because I believe there is a wild miss understanding of what real balance issues are. True balance issues come from the vestibular system. Most of what we see with younger athletes is very poor strength and an inability to express strength or movement in a given range of motion. When someone says they have a balance issue when standing on one leg, I hand them 2 heavy dumbbells to hold next to their body and stand on one leg again. By holding the weight and crushing the dumbbells with their hands, they activate their hips and core musculature giving their body feedback to remain stable. If you try this little test and your single leg stance does not improve, you likely have some true underlying balance issues and should get that checked out. For the rest of you, you need to get stronger!

Move Better, Get Stronger, Prevent UCL Injuries

Move Better, Get Stronger, Prevent UCL Injuries

 

1.         Park MC, Ahmad CS. Dynamic contributions of the flexor-pronator mass to elbow valgus stability. J Bone Jt Surg. 2004;86(10):2268-2274.

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Want to play college baseball? This weekend, you must do this.

Watch College Baseball

The NCAA Regionals are played continuously from Friday to Sunday on ESPN U, ESPN 3, and the SEC Network. Can’t make it because you have games all weekend? DVR a few of the games and watch them Sunday night.

Take this yearly opportunity to learn about your potential competition. Analyze the physical attributes of each player, how they play the game, how fast they run, how hard they throw. So often I work with players who want to play college baseball, but have no idea what the talent pool is like at that level.

Check out the rosters of some of the known powerhouses. For instance, Texas has only 4 players listed under 180lbs. Of the 17 pitchers on their staff, Texas has only 1 that is under 180lbs, and he is a freshman. Weight is not the end all be all for baseball players, but it is absolutely one indicator of how well someone is built (assuming the athletes are lean). Adding muscle mass is one of the easiest ways to increase mph on the mound, decrease injury risk, and raise your overall athletic potential.

Why bodyweight is important for pitchers

The speed of the college game is often surprising for high school athletes, especially at the high echelon DI programs. In 2013, Perfect Game published this list of the fastest high school sophomores, juniors, and senior 60 yard dashes.

Averages: High School Senior 7.31 | Junior 7.44 | Sophomore 7.56

Top Performers – 60-Yard Dash – Class of 2014

RK Time Name Event School City State
1 6.28 Carl Chester National Showcase Lake Brantley Longwood FL
2 6.31 Denz’l Chapman National Showcase Serra Los Angeles CA
3 6.35 Jared McKay Southeast Top Prospect Showcase Chamblee Charter Stone Mountain GA
4 6.36 Evan Holland Mid Atlantic Top Prospect Showcase Timber Creek Erial NJ
5 6.37 Jack Flaherty National Showcase Harvard-Westlake Burbank CA
6 6.42 Clay Lane Sunshine South Showcase Kaufman Kaufman TX
7 6.43 Michael Gettys National Showcase Gainesville Gainesville GA
8 6.44 Derek Hill National Showcase Elk Grove Sacramento CA
9 6.45 Connor Brady South Top Prospect Showcase Plano Sr. Plano TX
10 6.46 Matthew Collins National Showcase Memorial Houston TX
10 6.46 Trenton Kemp National Showcase Buchanan Clovis CA
12 6.47 Troy Stokes, Jr. National Showcase Calvert Hall College Baltimore MD
12 6.47 Stone Garrett National Showcase George Ranch Sugar Land TX
14 6.48 Tristan Rojas Sunshine Northeast Showcase James Monroe Bronx NY
15 6.49 Landon Morgan South Top Prospect Showcase Lubbock Christian Levelland TX
15 6.49 Giovanni Abreu National Showcase George Washington New York NY
15 6.49 Jeren Kendall National Showcase Holmen Holmen WI
15 6.49 Alexis Pantojas Caribbean Top Prospect Showcase Puerto Rico Baseball Academy Vega Alta PR

Top Performers – 60-Yard Dash – Class of 2015

RK Time Name Event School City State
1 6.44 Satchel McElroy Jr National Showcase Clear Creek League City TX
2 6.45 Demetrius McAtee South Underclass Showcase Parkway Bossier City LA
3 6.46 Alex Shaver Jr National Showcase George Ranch Sugar Land TX
3 6.46 Bakari Gayle Jr National Showcase Martin Luther King, Jr. Stone Mountain GA
5 6.50  Eric Cole South Underclass Showcase Southlake Carroll Southlake TX
6 6.51 Connor Smith Ohio Valley Showcase H.H. Dow Midland MI
7 6.54 Roman Millem Ohio Valley Showcase North Oldham Prospect KY
7 6.54 Jimmy Herron Jr National Showcase La Salle College Harleysville PA
9 6.55 Daniel Little National Underclass Session 3 Lexington Catholic Nicholasville KY
10 6.57 Demi Orimoloye Jr National Showcase St. Matthew Orleans ON
10 6.57 Bakari Gayle Southeast Top Prospect Showcase Martin Luther King, Jr. Stone Mountain GA
12 6.59 Tyler Williams Jr National Showcase Raymond S. Kellis Peoria AZ
12 6.59 Shane Selman Sunshine South Showcase Alfred M. Barbe Lake Charles LA

Top Performers – 60-Yard Dash – Class of 2016

RK Time Name Event School City State
1 6.62 Vincent Ramos Caribbean Underclass Showcase Colegio Bautista Toa Baja, Levittown PR
2 6.64 Nicholas Rowland Mid Atlantic Underclass Showcase Chestnut Hill Academy Blue Bell PA
3 6.67 Ryan Mejia Sunshine East Showcase Alonso Tampa FL
4 6.72 Matthew Meisner Sunshine Northeast Showcase Salem Salem NH
5 6.78 Christian Moya California Underclass Showcase Bishop Amat Chino Hills CA
6 6.79 Cameron Locklear Atlantic Coast Underclass Showcase Jack Britt Fayetteville NC
7 6.82 Tyrik Jones Southeast Underclass Showcase The Galloway Stone Mountain GA
8 6.83 Corbin Bice Southeast Underclass Showcase Chilton Co. Clanton AL
9 6.83 Aidan Elias Ohio Valley Showcase Sayre Lexington KY
10 6.84 Kace Massner Midwest Underclass Showcase Burlington Community Burlington IA
11 6.85 Isaac Collins Midwest Underclass Showcase Maple Grove Maple Grove MN
11 6.85 Austin Bodrato Sunshine Northeast Showcase St. Joseph Regional Northvale NJ
11 6.85 Ashton King Atlantic Coast Underclass Showcase Christiansburg Christiansburg VA

  Source: http://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=9177

As you can see, the average senior in high school ran a 7.3 60-yard dash, which is not overly impressive. That 7.3 average is largely made up of athletes who will never step foot on a college ball field. Of high school varsity baseball participants only 5.6% will play at the collegiate level.

What is impressive is the fastest sophomore ball players run between a 6.44 and 6.85. That is blazing fast for an underclassman. To even come close to breaking the top 15 for the senior class you must run under a 6.5, which is plus speed for an MLBer.

So how do you stack up?

Not sure how hard you throw? Get on the gun at your next outing.

Not sure how fast you run? Go to a track and video tape your 60 yard dash. Video does not lie, handheld timers do.

Be analytical with the games you are watching this weekend and see how you would compare against the competition and what aspects of your game need the most work.

Have questions or comments about playing at the next level? Leave a comment below.

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Random Thoughts – Baseball Preseason Training

With spring sports about to formally start in a few weeks, emails have been pouring in.  Here is a collection of thoughts from the past week.

Training has a very profound effect on an athlete’s performance

Unfortunately, like many things in life, it takes some time to get the ball rolling and reap the full benefits of training. Do we often see outstanding results in movement, strength, and performance in a short time? Absolutely. But if you think you are going to drop .2 sec off his 60 or 40-yard dash by next week’s showcase, you are missing the point of athletic development. Skill, speed, strength, and athletic development does not happen overnight; it’s a process.

Risk can be minimized

I am not a Basketball fan per se. I am however a huge fan of the qualities that a great basketball player has—hand eye coordination, great shin angles, speed, power, and endurance to name a few.

For baseball players, I can’t think of too many things with a higher risk-reward ratio than recreational/pick-up basketball. As my readers know, I am all for playing multiple sports, especially when younger, but the rate at which broken/sprained ankles, fingers, or wrists for kids “just trying to get some conditioning in” makes playing basketball not worth it unless you really love the game. With the short twenty-game New England high school baseball season, one good ankle sprain or jammed finger could mean missing half of your season.

In fact, after my 1st full season as Sacred Heart University’s Baseball Strength Coach, we forbid our players from playing basketball. Instead, I encouraged tag, dodgeball variations (not using dominant arm), and touch football.

kobe

Speed changes everything.

Rarely do you see a kid who consistently throws in the low 70s have arm pain.

Rarely do you see a kid who consistently runs an 8.0 60 yard dash pull their hamstring bad enough where they miss more than a week of their season.

Athletes and coaches need to understand how to progress throwing and speed work to mitigate short and long-term injuries. It is very difficult to have only 2-3 weeks of preseason with your team, as coaches need to make cuts and figure out whom the best players are.

Want a trick to incorporate speed and conditioning work without subjecting athletes to unneeded hamstring pulls?

Hill Sprints

Why hill sprints?

With the incline of the hill you are forcing your body into good acceleration positions, without subjecting yourself to the faster velocity required in flat ground sprints. The accelerated position also prevents over-striding and over-using the hamstrings to pull you forward (no heel landing). You want to be accelerating by pushing the ground behind you, instead of pulling you forward. So, hill sprints self corrects and teaches near optimal running mechanics without having to think about it. Hill sprints are also much more anaerobic in nature which is very applicable for baseball players.  Especially the weaker, slower ones!

running

How do you implement this?

Week 1- Tryouts:
Start with your normal baseball skill work, but everyday at the end of practice find a steep hill and have players (pitchers included!) sprint for 20 seconds up the hill and walk back down. This can be a safe grassy hill or a pavement hill. Do 6-10 rounds of this with 2-5 minutes of recovery between sprints. Record where each player ends at the end of 20 seconds. Very quickly you will know who is “in good shape” and who is powerful and athletic. Not to mention you are avoiding god-awful distance running.

Week 2- Normal Practices:
M/W/F do 6-10 sets of 20 second hill sprints with near full recovery.
Tu/Th do 6-10 sets of 10-20 yard dashes on flat ground ~80% (full recovery in-between sets)

Week 3- Normal Practices:
M/W/F do 6-10 sets of 10-20 yard dashes on flat ground ~90% (full recovery in-between sets)
Tu/Th do 4-6 sets of 20 second hill sprints with near full recovery.

Obviously, if athletes were properly trained going into the season the coaches wouldn’t have to worry about this as much, but this is a safe way to protect the athletes and prepare them effectively.

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Qualities Needed to Throw 90+MPH

If I am a 17-year-old, 165 lb pitcher, and can consistently throw 79-82 MPH for my fastball, if I get up to 200 lb with 12% or less body fat, should I be able to throw in mid 90s or at least the 90s?

90 MPH Formula

Bodyweight has been directly correlated to fastball velocity.

Relationships between ball velocity and throwing mechanics in collegiate baseball pitchers

I touch upon this point here: “As a general rule of thumb, our Sacred Heart pitchers will gain 2-4 mph a season during their 4 years in college. As much as I would love to say  it’s just training, there are  numerous reasons why we get increased  ball velocity each year including mechanical improvement, growth of body due to puberty, increased  muscle mass, and improved body  awareness/muscular coordination.  The interesting trend is that most of  our athletes tend to add anywhere  from 5-15 lbs of bodyweight each year. Does 5-15lbs = 2-4mph on the mound?  Maybe.”

Why All Baseball Players Should Be Using Creatine

With my pitchers, we have the following hierarchy/system:

1) Mechanics Rule All: Increase mechanical efficiency your energy leaks will decrease and velocity will go up.
2) Increase General Strength: Building a foundational base strength is not only performance enhancing, but done properly will decrease the risk of injury.
3) Increase Muscle Mass: More muscle mass, the more potential to apply force.
4) Increase General Force Production (e.g. Power): Allows us to tap into more high threshold motor-units to produce more force and increase IIx muscle fiber.
5) Increase Skill Specific Power: Explosive training in a transverse plane. This could be med ball throws, weighted or  under-weighted ball throws, long toss, flat ground or even mound work.

We have had many mid 90MPH pitchers (injury free to boot) as well as some whom have touched 99+MPH. Some of these athletes have gained upwards of 50lbs of very clean weight (still viable abs) in less than a year.  Everyone is different based on genetics, work ethic, movement capabilities, diet etc.

BTPP Set


If you are mechanically efficient, have relatively long levers and can increase body mass to 200lbs and force production increase proportionally it is very possible. This information as well as programming for this goal is covered in detail in Building the Perfect Pitcher.

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Should You Use Ice, Aleve, or Ibuprofen After You Throw?

Ice, Aleve, or Ibuprofen plays an integral role in most pitchers’ post-outing routines. But why?

When I evaluate a new client, parents often rave about their son’s “post-game ritual” of icing right away and popping two Aleve. When I ask why they are using ice and anti-inflammatories, they always give the same answer: to stop inflammation and help recover. Yikes! There are many problems with this routine.

Problem #1 – Pain

A pitcher should not have elbow or shoulder pain post game or the day after. Muscle soreness in the upper back, rotator cuff, and deltoid is normal after an intense outing, but pain is a big no-no.

Ice, Aleve, and Ibuprofen all have analgesic or pain relieving properties. So, if a pitcher is using these modalities on a regular basis, we have no idea how their body is actually responding to throwing because the pain is masked. Being in touch with how the body feels allows us to monitor injury risks factors such as mechanical flaws, excess volume in sport or training volume, and potential sickness that may be exacerbated by lack of recovery.

Problem #2 – Delayed Recovery

Every musculoskeletal injury goes through 3 stages of recovery:

    1. Inflammation

    2. Repair

    3. Remodeling

The following video by Kelly Starrett discusses how reducing inflammation is the wrong approach for recovery. If pressed for time start watching at 4 minutes. Don’t get bogged down by the sciency nature of the information. This is a must watch for athletes, coaches, and parents.

                                      

Problem #3 – Ulnar Nerve

The Ulnar Nerve is often the source of pain for athletes and non-athletes alike. Much of this can be attributed to neck pathologies and poor posture, but one thing is for sure, if you throw ice directly on the elbow about half the athletes will say it makes them feel better and the other half say it’s the most painful thing they have ever experienced.

Ulnar Nerve Transposition surgeries are common when conservative treatments no longer work and the patient experiences continual radiating pain, or pins needles with hand weakness. This portion of the elbow can be very finicky and painful, thus why I see no need to place ice directly on the elbow post throwing.

Ulnar

Problem #4 – Gut Health and Ulcers

Gut bacteria play an essential role in a normal digestive tract. NSAIDS can damage the mucous coating that protects the lining of the stomach. Once these bacteria damage the stomach lining, powerful stomach acid may irritate or destroy portions of the stomach. This is where ulcers often form.

Stomach ulcers can lead to excessive gas, bloating, pain or more sever issues of bleeding ulcers and cancer.

So, some changes need to be made in the common post-game routine of pitchers. Instead of settling for the conventional use of Ice, Ibuprofen, or Aleve, pitchers should follow these steps to improve recovery time and arm health:

A New Post Throwing Routine

    1. Restorative Movement/Increased Blood Flow Right After Outing-
      Full Body Active Warm-up

    2. Restorative Nutrition-
      PN Injury Guide

    3. Restorative Sleep-
      7-10 Hours of Deep Sleep

    4. Restorative Movement/Increased Blood Flow Next Morning-
      Full Body Active Warm-up

This model of recovery is what I recommend to our pitchers and athletes who feel they need to improve their recovery techniques post game.

Notes:

-Ice and NSAIDS are not inherently bad. Instead, their application is often incorrect, as they have more applicability in a post surgical setting.

-Pain and/or swelling after throwing is not normal and should be a huge red flag that something is not right. When pain or swelling is evident seek a medical professional to evaluate the issue. Common causes are overuse, poor pitching mechanics, or orthopedic/movement/strength limitations at the ankle, hip, spine, shoulder, or elbow.

Want to take the guess work out of your in-season and off-season programming?

Check out my customized year long training program Building the Perfect Pitcher.

Move Better, Get Stronger, Prevent UCL Injuries

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Why Your Recruiting Sucks

(I stole the title of this article)

I love my job. Anyone who has met me knows this within the first 5 minutes of talking. It’s my love and passion; along with the fact I have amazing athletes that are hard working and extremely dedicated.

Most of my clients play or end up playing a reasonably high level of baseball in college. For many of these young men, it’s been a dream since they were in 7th grade being able to play ball in college.

The unfortunate fact is that many athletes come home from their first semester of college hating the coaches, team, and school. Check out this text I received yesterday from one of my athletes.

College Baseball Recruiting

Picking a college can be a very tough process regardless of how good at baseball you are. Making a decision to leave (or stay) home for college is tough enough, without adding in academics, baseball, scholarships, etc.

This week alone I have received dozens of emails about recruiting. To each of these messages, I send them to my buddy Wayne Mazzoni’s website. Having known and worked with Wayne for close to 10 years, I know he always is honest and direct with anyone I have sent his way (check out his post Recruiting Sucks & Your Recruiting Sucks. Sorry…Had To Say It).

The sad part about the text I received is the situation could have been avoided (like most!). Looking deeper into the program you may enter goes outside field and classroom these days. Understanding that jumping into a program that conditions their athletes like cross country runner is going to DECREASE muscle mass, strength, size, and power while INCREASE risk of injury. A terrible decision if you wish to play ball after college.

So what are you to do?!

Get educated, ask questions, have an advisor or mentor to help you through the process. Many of our collegiate and pro athletes mentor younger athletes and act as a great soundboard when questions arise.

For more free info check out Wayne’s blog. www.waynemazzoni.com

Have questions about recruiting? Ask below in the comments section.

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Interview With Josh Heenan

(Written by Michael Wittner)

For more than seven years, Josh Heenan has worked in the field of sports training and medicine. He has a doctorate in Integrated Medicine and is currently Head Strength Coach and Doctor of Integrated Medicine at Moore Fitness and Physical Therapy in Southport, Connecticut. Prior to working at Moore, he was the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Sacred Heart University’s Baseball Program, a Division 1 baseball school. In addition, Josh has a master’s degree in Human Movement and Sports Psychology and bachelor’s in Exercise Science.

Josh currently trains athletes at numerous levels starting from high school and continuing through the professional level. He also has been a consultant to multiple organizations for sports training and rehabilitation. In an exclusive interview, Josh described his influences and philosophies in training, medicine, and rehabilitation.

Mike: What made you interested in the field of strength and conditioning, physical therapy, and medicine?
Josh: From when I was very little I always remember my father exercising. He was in the sports medicine field during his early 20′s working with the Celtics and Patriots. From there he became a police officer and always said his job was a “full-contact sport” and prepared for the worst so he would always come home in one piece. When I was about 14 I fell in love with the process of training and how the hard work allowed me to stay ahead of my competition.

M: Were you considering other majors at the time or were you only interested in strength and conditioning, physical therapy, and medicine?
J: If I did not have option to play baseball in college, I would have likely tried to become a Navy SEAL. I love the mental side of training (which they have come close to mastering) and pushing my body to the limits was enticing—not to mention being our first line of defense for the USA.

M: After entering the field, how has it made an impact on your life?
J: Many people say they love their jobs, but I doubt many love it as much as I do. I have the best clients in the world. I wake up everyday excited to help motivated people (athletes and non-athletes) pursue their goals. I was never a reader growing up (this was evident in probably the worst SAT English/Math split in the history of the exam), but once I entered college I literally read anything I could get my hands on in the field. To this day, I read research whenever I have a free minute and go to bed reading research. We have come so far in the fields of performance enhancement, therapy, and medicine—yet we are still barely scratching the surface.

M: What is your philosophy on physical training and how is it different from other trainers?
J: Everyone moves differently due to posture, orthopedics, injuries, and other limitations; not to mention each has a different health history and short/long term goals. Posture dictates function. In turn, each person should be treated as an individual and look for relative improvements.

training 1

M: In your experience, what are the most limiting and most common problems that your athletes have?
J: Most young athletes don’t move very well and are incredibly weak. Everyone wants the magic formula to run fast, throw hard, and move well. It’s really simple, learn to move well and get as strong as possible in movements that relate to your ultimate goal(s). Strength is corrective and will allow you to express your potential for speed and health.

M: How do these problems affect the athlete’s performance in training and playing their sport?
J: Strength and movement limitations are the reasons we get injured (except for contact injuries). My number one goal as a coach/therapist is to keep our athletes healthy and on the field.

M: Is there a certain way that one should train during the season vs. the off-season?
J: These are generalities, but in-season we tend to use less total volume of work with a bit higher intensity and off-season we use more volume of work.

M: Which is more important strength or agility, or are both needed in order to keep each other balanced? Why?
J: Strength is the foundation for speed and agility. With greater strength, we have a higher ability to express force output through agility, power, and speed. Strength elevates all athletic qualities.

training 2

M: Lastly, how would you define eating properly? Is it different for every person? Why?
J: Eating “properly” is determined by someone’s goals. If you want to be the next Kobayashi, then eating 50 hot dogs a day may not be the worst thing for your goals. Everyone defines healthy and fit in a different way– you would have to define it before I can advise on how to best attain those goals.

Kobayashi

M: Thank you very much for your time. It was a very informative interview.
J: It was my pleasure!

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Move Fast, Throw Hard, Live Well- Nutrition

Clients are often shocked at the value we put on proper nutrition in our office. Exercise is the key to move well and manage the risk of injury, but nutrition is in almost complete control of body composition, disease, and long-term health.

Business Insider ran a great piece showing nutritional trends over the years.  Remember just because there is a trend does not make something causal, but some of the trends jump off the page. Check out where you fit into the mix. What’s Wrong With The Modern Diet

food spending smaller

Regardless of the quality of information provided, Poliquin always has insightful, entertaining reads. Here he has a spot on list of 40 superfoods that can have a large impact on your health and physique. The Super List of 40 Superfoods to Fight Stress and Lose Body Fat

To your health,

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