Here is another great post from my good friend Adam from his blog: fivetoolbaseball@blogspot.com
As many baseball purists are aware, baseball players are evaluated utilizing the measuring stick known as the five tools: hitting for average, hitting for power, running speed, arm strength, defensive skills. Complimentary to these five tools, are a series of 5 training protocols collectively known as ‘Training to the 5th Power’ (T5). The protocols are: 1) train standing, 2) train with free weights, 3) train multiple joints, 4) train explosively, and 5) train “functionally. Based upon the environment and explosive speeds baseball is performed at, I believe that by following these five traning tools will transfer off-field training to on-field performance.  

(1) Train in a standing position; Training from standing positions trains baseball specific movements along with the respective muscle groups. Since baseball players rarely rely on strength from sitting or lying down positions, why are training programs still dominated with exercises performed from such positions. Utilizing modalities such as bands/cables from standing positions can target the same muscle groups typically trained in the sitting or lying positions while training movements beneficial to baseball.

 

(2) Train with free weights; Free weights can allow for multiple positions, as well as multiple ranges and planes of motion/movement. All of this movement can be tailoredor baseball specific training. Training with free weights, such as dumbells, allow a bit more freedom of movment, can identify muscular imbalances between limbs, enables unilateral training, and builds neuromuscular efficiency (coordination of muscle groups working in cooperation). In addition, training with other free weight objects, such as medicine balls, provides power development. The ability to toss a free weight, such as a medicine ball, in a manner similar to say hitting increases power potential; making free weight objects superior to machines in replicating and increasing power.  

(3) Train multi-joints – a.k.a compound movements; Movements involving more than one joint are known as compound movements. Training multiple joints allows for greater loads to be trained, thus greater muscle recruitment, thus greater strength development. I cant think of any baseball movement that doenst involve total body. As well, baseball players needing to drop a few pounds should incorporate multi-joint, baseball specific movements to assist with increasing caloric expenditure. All in all, compound movements provide the necessary fluidity for on field movements, more so than single joint isolated movements.

 


(4) Train explosively; Slow and controlled movements are great for developing technique and a certain strength training base level. However, most of baseball movements, even though strength based, are just as dependent on speed and power. Power can be defined as:
POWER = WORK / TIME or POWER = FORCE x SPEED

Notice how power is dependent on speed. And the speed component explains the importance of explosive training for developing baseball specific power for optimal on field performance.  

(5) Functional Training (FT); The main emphasis for functional training is based upon training movements and not body parts. FT encourages training in multiple planes of motions, in unstable environments, and at speeds specific to baseball. Basically, functional training is “train like you play”. In a larger scope, FT supports the other T5 principles. Training in a standing position is functional for ground based activities; Training with free weights allows functional training along any plane and at any speed; Multiple joint, compound movement, training is the way baseball is played, therefore functional. Much of how baseball is performed is power dominated, so training explosively becomes functional.

Implementing the T5 training guidelines are ideal for building overall baseball performance. However, like other training concepts, it has its exceptions and can be violated in exchange for effective results. For example, slow, isolated work in stable positions ( i.e. lying down,) might just be necessary for the hypertrophy (i.e. bodybuilding) phase for the ballplayer who needs a bit more muscle mass. Regardless of what type of training you incorporate into you program, the majority of your training should fit the T5. Please note that although bodybuilders look great, I dont recommend an all exclusive use of bodybuilding methodologies for improving on field, fucntional baseball performance. The question which would you rather train for “all go” or “all show”?

Go hard in the yard.  www.fivetoolbaseball@blogspot.com

 

Get Strong! Stay Strong!
Chris
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