Do Speed Chains Help Baseball Pitchers?

Do Speed Chains Help Baseball PitcherI get this question a lot because of the latest training gimmick that is showing up online called “Speed Chains.” When I search the web for these velocity training aids I feel like it is 3 in the morning and I am watching infomercials.

The first thing that always comes to my mind is, “Who buys this stuff?” It goes all the way back to the “Thighmaster” in the 90’s. These gimmicks are offering a simple and easier alternative to a complete training program but it hardly gives you the same results. The biggest problem is the gimmicks are using one tool to act as a universal training device. I can understand why a couch potato would buy a “Thighmaster” but I can not understand why a young pitcher who wants to become and elite athlete/pitching would use a gimmick like these “Speed Chains” as their alternative to a complete training program. I could see using “Speed Chains” as a small part of a complete training program but not as the entire thing.

Speed Chain Training Concerns

I do have to say that I have never used the “Speed Chains,” so I am not talking from experience. If someone would like to send me one for a complete review, I would be glad to do it. I feel that my opinion would not change much but I could be wrong. What I find to be the major concern with using the “Speed Chains” as an alternative to a complete training program, is that these exercises do not incorporate the lower kinetic chain as effectively as the upper kinetic chain. This creates muscle memory that works against total body mechanics like the 3X Pitching Velocity Mechanics. These mechanics start with ground reaction forces and then converts that power or energy into torque and then the velocity of the pitch. Based on this understanding these “Speed Chains” are not training the central nervous system to function in a ground up explosive manner. I believe that those who have purchased this gimmick, if they had a complete understand of 3X Pitching Velocity Mechanics before purchasing, would have found very little use for this product.

Those in defense of this product would probably say that it trains speed better than other training exercise because how the chains increase resistance during the explosive movement, but most case studies on velocity specificity state that heavy load training at high or low speeds are more effective because of the intent to move quickly than actually moving quickly. This is a highly debated subject and I welcome those who would like to debate it but I argue on the side of heavy load training. I believe you must first train your motor skills with quick sport specific movements but then you must finish training explosive power through heavy loads. Putting quick upper kinetic chain movements with increased low load resistance is not the better alternative. This is why I do not believe “Speed Chains” help baseball pitchers as effectively as a complete training program.

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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Brent,

    I have heard of several D1 college pitching coaches in Texas using the speed chains as part of pitchers programs. I know of high schools using them as part of their training program. I read your commit and you are not a big fan of the speed chain. I have to disagree with you on this, I feel the colleges did research before adding this type of drill for their pitchers.

    • I respect your opinion but you need to understand that these colleges are using more than just these speed chains. I have sold my 3X Pitching Velocity Program to tons of colleges and high schools. I do not use this as a central selling point for my program because these colleges have a budget and with their budget they buy tons of different gimmicks and programs to test them out and give their pitchers the option to use them. These D1 teams you are talking about, I am positive, have tons of this stuff from over the years in storage and if these speed chains do not produce they will find themselves in the same stored bin one day. Only time will tell!

  • Drew Clements
    April 20, 2011 8:37 am

    I have added it on top of the Fusion med ball excersises but I must admit that it was brutal. I did, however, see accelerated improvement in my core explosiveness. I do 12 excersises that I got from Ron Wolforth's Pitching Central organization. 2-3 sets at 6-8 secend intervals. l would go as fast as possible for the time, record the rep number, and sit down and recover. I would time my recovery time and it was around 30 seconds right before the season started. This is definetely a off-season workout though.

  • Drew,

    Thanks for the review of the "Speed Chains." I am glad you have found a way to work this into the Fusion System. Are you substituting it for some of the medicine ball exercises in the Fusion system or are you just adding it on top of the program?

  • In addition, I get much more benefit from the Torso Burner than from the Arm Chains.

  • I personally use the speed chains in addition to the Fusion System in the offseason. However, I mainly use the Torso Burner which works the core and is an insanely intense workout, different excersises at 6-8 second intervals with rest in between sets. The arm chains, which are shown here, are my secondary chains. Explosive lifting is DEFINETELY my primary training regime. Speedchains, the Torso Burner especially, are a nice compliment for me personally on the side of the Fusion System lifing system. In my oppinion- Are the chains going to make you the next Aroldis Chapman? No. But, for me, they make a nice addition to my regime.


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