Just Say NO To Long Distance Running
by Brent Pourciau · January 8, 2009
If your Coach or Trainer has you running for longer than five minutes at a SLOW pace then you are training to be just that, SLOW! Muscles have a mixture of two basic types of fibers, fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast-twitch fibers are capable of developing greater forces and contracting faster and have greater anaerobic capacity. Anaerobic means exercise without the use of oxygen as an energy source; short bursts of vigorous exercise. Sprinting is an anaerobic exercise. In contrast, slow-twitch fibers develop force slowly, can maintain contractions longer and have higher aerobic capacity. Aerobic means exercise in which energy needed is supplied by oxygen inspired and is required for sustained periods of vigorous exercise with a continually high pulse rate. Long distance running is an aerobic exercise.
Are Pitchers Anaerobic or Aerobic?
Pitching can have the characteristics of both anaerobic and aerobic conditioning. The issue is conventional wisdom has been training pitchers, like long distance runners for years. When I think of a top level pitcher, I see an athlete built more like a sprinter than a cross country runner. When we pitch, we do push into aerobic exercise. The problem is this usually means we are pitching to fast and throwing to many pitches. This will effect velocity because after 8-10 seconds of performance without rest, the body uses oxygen to produce ATP. This involves the heart, lungs and blood vessels. This is a slower process and effects the amount of ATP levels in the muscles. This is why the longer we perform a lift in the weight room, the slower our contractions. This is the same for pitching. The longer we pitch without rest, the slower our bodies are moving, which in return decreases velocity. This is why it is important to pace yourself in between pitches and condition your system to run more anaerobic.
If pitchers train their systems to run more anaerobic than aerobic then they will pitch more anaerobic than aerobic. This means pitching with controlled explosive strength as opposed to pitching more like a batting practice pitcher. To train more anaerobic, do not run long periods of time at a slow pace. This is developing slow twitch muscle fibers and training your system to be conditioned for aerobic performance. Instead, perform short explosive sprints and rest a good 2-3 minutes between sprints. This will develop more fast twitch muscle fibers and your system will be conditioned for anaerobic performance.
Check out the 3X Pitching Velocity Program for an excellent anaerobic training program.
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