The REAL Kinetic Chain: Part 2 of 4
From the last post, you will recall that the body is able to move in any way we ask it from specific muscle contractions. There are three types of muscle contractions, and they are:
- Concentric contractions (covered last post)
- Eccentric contractions
- Isometric contractions
So, today, we will focus on Eccentric Muscle Contractions.
An eccentric contraction is exactly the opposite of a concentric contraction. An eccentric contraction is the lengthening of a muscle while it's still contracting. When you put milk back in the fridge, it's the bicep that is slowly controlling the descent of that milk. The triceps is not pushing the milk into the fridge, but rather the bicep is slowly allowing the arm to fall to put the milk down. This is the same thing as performing ‘negatives’ in the gym. Such as during a bicep curl when you slowly lower the weight to the starting position over 10 seconds. That is an eccentric contraction of the biceps (and other elbow flexor muscles).
There are series of concentric and eccentric contractions that happen, and in between those are isometric contractions (I’ll get to this later). Like I have mentioned before, the end goal of all those muscle contractions is to create tension. When you create tension through the body that's how you are able to transfer force from the ground all the way up through the core and then eventually into the ball.
How much tension is developed and how fast you create that tension over all the links determines how much acceleration is imparted on the ball…and that directly impacts how fast the ball goes. That creates velocity.
Imagine trying to fling a rubber band across the room. How much harder would it be to get good distance using a dried up, old rubber band compared to a new stiff one? Pulling half-way back on the band compared to really stretching it back before you let it fly?
The main muscle groups that Slow Down the pitcher, in the correct sequential manner are:
- Stride leg Glutes
- Posterior or Rear core muscles
- Scapular Muscles
- Posterior or Rear Rotator Cuff of the throwing shoulder
- Biceps and Elbow flexors
- Stride Leg Hamstrings
Since the stride leg kicks off the chain of events I'll put the focus here. For if we did not, everything else down the chain would be affected negatively.
Do you understand that?
If any one of the preceeding links in the chain is not strengthened up to par, in the exact way it works while performing a pitch, everything down the line will take on more stress and strain and has a greater chance of creating an injury....and will surely decrease pitching peformance.
...and thats's only from a strength standpoint. We haven't even gotten to flexibility yet.
One of my favorite exercises to eccentrically strength train the stride leg glute is with a Single Leg Romainian Dead Lift, often abbreviated as an SLDL or SLRDL.
I add a little 'twist' to this exercise, to better mimic a throw, and I call it the "Throwers Specific RDL". Here it is with a cable column or using a band:
I would do this exercise at least 2x per week 2 sets of 10-15 reps. Go heavy enough to challenge the glute, but having correct form is of utmost importance. If this is too difficut to perform on one leg, hold a weight in both hands and do this on 2 legs (don't try rotating if doing on two legs).
Imagine a pole that goes directly through the side of one hip, and comes out the opposite hip on the side. You want to think you are hinging around this pole. Your back stays flat as you 'bend' or hinge around this pole.
This is the start of eccentric training for the throwers body. There is much more to be done, but consider this your base.
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