Most young pitchers do not know what their bodies require of them after a long pitching performance. An intelligent consistent routine is critical for a pitcher to survive a long season. The problem is most pitchers do not know of a good routine. I will post here a routine, that will help the body cool down and give the body what it needs to speed recovery. This routine is very much a velocity component because pitchers who can recover faster will throw harder and longer.
Before I get into a good post game routine you need to understand what lactic acid is and why it is an issue in recovery that has a lot of misinformation behind it.
Lactic Acid - During power exercises such as sprinting, when the rate of demand for energy is high, lactate is produced faster than the ability of the tissues to remove it, so lactate concentration begins to rise. This is a beneficial process, since the regeneration of NAD+ ensures that energy production is maintained and exercise can continue.
The Truth About Lactic Acid for the Pitcher
I don't expect you to understand everything in this definition of lactic acid but it is important to know what is happening to your body during intense training or game performance. Research has shown that lactic acid isn't completely responsible for muscle fatigue and soreness as most conventional wisdom would state. They have found that it actually is fuel for the muscles and not a waste product but it does cause problems when trying to speed recovery.
I know what you are thinking, "That is odd! So how does it cause problems if it is a fuel? That makes no sense." This is because when your body produces lactic acid as a fuel for your muscles there is very little oxygen in the body. This is a survival mechanism that gives you energy even when oxygen is low. The problem is the more the muscles fire on lactic acid, the more it burns off more of the oxygen and what happens when you start burning off oxygen, you get hydrogen as a waste product. Hydrogen is poison to our bodies. This is what will lower our ph levels and if it continues, it could eventually kill us.
The build-up of hydrogen is the problem here and it is what causes muscles to shut down and fatigue. It also causes a burning sensation, which eventually leads to total fatigue and soreness. The point is your body can continue to perform on lactic acid, the problem is this fuel causes more problems than the other forms of energy or ATP.
Now that you have a good understanding of lactic acid then you will also understand why the main part of a post-game routine focuses on its removal from your system. Here is a good post game routine for a starter and a relief pitcher to begin immediately after the performance.
Post Game Pitching Recovery and Rebuilding Routine
- Following the game perform a dynamic stretching routine.
- Move into some mobility training to prepare the muscles and joints for recovery.
- Hydrate with Alkalized water.
- Icing 10-15 mins on, 30 mins off and repeat.
- Within 30-40 minutes have a high carbohydrate meal to help replace your glycogen stores.
- Follow the carbohydrate meal will a protein shake to help your body begin the rebuilding process.
- Take a good multi-vitamin.
- Stay away from caffeine drinks and alcohol.
- Get a lot of sleep!
- Next day hit the gym with a good warm-up and perform some high-intensity lifts, low reps, on your legs and core. This will force your body to produce more testosterone and growth hormone to heal itself. The Recovery Week in the Fusion System which is in the 3X Pitching Velocity Program would be a good next day program.
I know this is a long list to do post game but recovery is key in the higher levels of the game, so you better get good at it now!