TopVelocity.net has been a very controversial source of information within the conventional wisdom of the game when it comes to training the power pitcher. This is because 3X Pitching promotes the use of Olympic Lifting to develop any low velocity pitcher into a dominate high velocity power pitcher. The controversy has been going on for some time now and will continue until the conventional wisdom of the game adapts to the new discoveries of science. This article will plug some of these new and old studies that prove why the use of Olympic Lifting to build the power pitcher is so effective.
Why Olympic Lifting with 3X Pitching?
If you know anything about this revolutionary approach to increase pitching velocity called 3X Pitching then you know, along with it's intense training programs, it comes with a comprehensive approach to power pitcher mechanics. You can learn more about these power pitching mechanics in this video.
The reason Olympic Lifting is such an important part of the 3X programs is not only because it is one of the most effective ways to increase force production in the athlete but it does this through triple extension. Olympic lifting is the only power lifts in the weight room that use triple extension. This is why it is so critical. If we are only training for more strength through knee extension, like with the back squat, then there is a good chance that this is not going to transfer over onto the mound. This is why many strength training programs out there do not help the pitcher enhance performance on the mound and why many pitching coaches avoid weight training all together.
Scientific Proof that Olympic Lifting Remodels Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers
A study performed by the Human Performance Laboratories, The University of Memphis, Tennessee, took biopsies from the vastus lateralis muscle of male weightlifters and non-weight-trained men. The analysis of this data produced these revolutionary results.
These results suggest that successful weightlifting performance is not dependent on IIB fibers, and that weightlifters exhibit large percentages of type IIA muscle fibers and Myosin Heavy Chain IIa isoform content.
You can read the entire study here called, Muscle fiber characteristics and performance correlates of male Olympic-style weightlifters.
If you have never studied muscle fiber types then it is important to know that Fast-Twitch muscle fibers are able to produce more power than Slow-Twitch muscle fibers. It is proven that elite power athletes like: High Velocity Pitchers, Olympic Sprinters and Jumpers have more fast-twitch than slow-twitch muscle fiber types. Now, to better understand the difference in these power focused muscle fibers and the demands of these athletes, we need to learn the sub types of Fast-Twitch muscle fibers.
A great description of the fast-twitch muscle fiber types is from Shannon Clark at BodyBuilding.com.
Type IIa: Fast Twitch Fibers.
These fibers also possess a high activity level of myosin ATPase and show a rapid rate of calcium release and uptake by the sarcoplasmic reticulum (Katch et al, 2000). Due to these properties, these fibers generate an explosive burst of power for a short period of time. This makes them most suitable to stop and go activities such as basketball, soccer, and hockey, as well as max output activities such as weightlifting, and many track and field events.
Type IIb: Fast Twitch Fibers.
The type IIb fibers are the most fatigable out of all the fibers but also generate the most power and force, and therefore are the fastest twitch muscles fibers. These types of fibers are recruited in activities that require an all out burst of power and only act for an extremely short period of time, as the total length of their contractions usually last only 7.5 milliseconds.
The biopsies from the study above proved that Olympic-style weightlifters had more type IIA muscle fibers. Shannon Clark's research tells us that type IIa is most suitable for stop and go activities. The power pitching mechanics of 3X Pitching definitely prove that pitchers are stop and go athletes. Therefore remodeling more type IIa fast-twitch muscle fibers would enhance a pitchers performance on the mound which means increased pitching velocity.
Here is even more proof that Olympic Lifting supports a fast-twitch muscle fiber remodeling approach to develop the power pitcher.
Scientific Proof that Olympic Lifting Enhances Force Production
A study performed by the Department of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, took tissue samples from a group of Olympic Lifters, Power Lifters and Body Builders. The analysis of the tissue produced these revolutionary results.
Body Builders displayed greater fiber size than Olympic Lifters and Power Lifters. Fast-Twitch and Slow-Twitch area was greater in Olympic Lifters and Power Lifters than Body Builders. It is suggested that long-term heavy-resistance training results in specific metabolic adaptations of Fast-Twitch and Slow-Twitch fiber types. These changes appear to be influenced by the type of resistance training.
You can read the entire study here called, Enzyme activities of FT and ST muscle fibers in heavy-resistance trained athletes.
This is proof that Olympic Lifting with heavy loads, not only remodels more fast twitch muscle fiber, but that it increases the cross-sectional area of the muscle. This increase in the cross-sectional area has the potential to, not only produce greater amounts of force over greater distances but also increase velocity, as stated below in the documentation from www.HumanKinetics.com on Muscle Structure and Function.
For example, thicker muscles with a large cross-sectional area can produce great amounts of force; longer muscles can contract over a greater distance and develop higher velocities of shortening....
So, if you are a low velocity pitcher and you have a goal and or a dream to become a high velocity power pitcher one day then what approach would you bet on when your window of opportunity is closing: an Olympic Lifting approach or a Long Toss and Resistance Tubing approach? I chose Olympic Lifting and it worked for me and has worked for hundreds of others and it is why 3X Pitching has been so effective but ultimately this decision is up to you and hopefully this article has given you the scientific research to help you make a wise decision in your pitching career.