Announcement: 21-Day Express Shape-Up Workout

21-day-express-ecover-smallThis 21-day express softball-specific workout program has been a best-seller for a few years. This workout program was specifically designed for softball players with only a few weeks to go before the beginning of their competitive season or who are already in the first few weeks of their competitive season but want to maximize their performance for the important competitions to come. It is short (about 20-30 minutes per workout) and requires only a few basic pieces of equipment – dumbbells, stability, and a medicine ball and is designed maximize your speed and power in 3 weeks!

Suited for just about any softball players, this fun workout is also a good first workout to do if you just starting to workout as a first introductory workout or if you want to establish a good foundation. Read more

Scientific Proof – Muscle Activation Patterns of the Upper and Lower Extremities During the Windmill Softball Pitch

3-2 Count...Fast-pitch softball has become an increasingly popular sport for female athletes. There has been little research examining the windmill softball pitch in the literature. The purpose of this study was to describe the muscle activation patterns of 3 upper extremity muscles (biceps, triceps, and rhomboids and 2 lower extremity (muscles gluteus maximus and medius) during the 5 phases of the windmill softball pitch. Data describing muscle activation were collected on 7 post-pubescent softball pitchers (age 17-20 years). Surface electromyographic data were collected synchronized with a motion capture system and presented as a percent of maximum voluntary isometric contraction. Gluteus maximus activity reached, whereas gluteus medius activity was consistent during the single leg support of phase 3. Biceps brachii activity was greatest during phase 4 of the pitching motion. Triceps brachii activation was consistently throughout the entire pitching motion, whereas the rhomboids were most active during phase 2. The results of this study indicate the extent to which muscles are activated during the windmill softball pitch, and this knowledge can lead to the development of proper preventative and rehabilitative muscle strengthening programs. In addition, clinicians will be able to incorporate strengthening exercises that mimic the timing of maximal muscle activation most used during the windmill pitching phases.

This study explains to coaches and trainers alike that the windmill pitch uses the whole body when executing the skill and no one area is emphasized in the movement. This indicates that any program created for pitchers must target every area used in the pitching motion better yet coaches and trainers should create functional and sports specific workout which will be useful to strengthening the pitching motion.

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Softball Workout – Speed Drills #1

Speed can be trained here are some exercises you may practice on for speed training

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Softball Workout – Speed Drills #1

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Scientific Proof – Study on Functional Strength Imbalance of the Lower Extremities

Jenna WarmUp - HurstThe purposes of this study were: to determine whether a significant strength imbalance existed between the left and right or dominant and non-dominant legs and to investigate possible correlations among various unilateral and bilateral closed kinetic chain tests, including a field test, and traditional isokinetic dynamometry used to determine strength imbalance. Fourteen Division I collegiate women softball players volunteered to undergo measures of average peak torque for isokinetic flexion and extension at 60-degrees and 240-degrees; in addition, measures of peak and average force of each leg during parallel back squat, 2-legged vertical jump, and single-leg vertical jump and performance in a 5-hop test were examined. Significant differences of between 4.2% and 16.0% were evident for all measures except for average force during single-leg vertical jump between the dominant and non-dominant limbs, thus revealing a significant strength imbalance. The 5-hop test revealed a significant difference between dominant and non-dominant limbs and showed a moderate correlation with more sophisticated laboratory tests, suggesting a potential use as a field test for the identification of strength imbalance. The results of this study indicate that a significant strength imbalance can exist even in collegiate level athletes, and future research should be conducted to determine how detrimental these imbalances could be in terms of peak performance for athletes, as well as the implications for injury risk.

Having this result, it is important for strength coaches to emphasize on exercises that promote balance in strength building for their athletes.  Make sure that exercises are both done in the dominant and non-dominant hand.

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Softball Workout – Functional Workout #1

Conditioning coaches should focus on functional workouts for resistance training.

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Softball Workout – Functional Workout #1

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Scientific Proof – Effect of Various Warm-Up Devices on Bat Velocity of Intercollegiate Softball Players

rachel battingNumerous warm-up devices are available for use by softball players while they are in the on-deck circle. It is difficult to know which warm-up device produces the greatest bat velocity in the batter’s box for softball players because on-deck studies with these individuals are sparse. Because the majority of warm-up device research has been conducted with baseball players, the primary purpose of this study was to examine the effect of various warm-up devices on the Bat Velocity of female intercollegiate softball players and compare the results with those of male baseball players. A secondary purpose was to evaluate 2 new commercially available resistance devices as warm-up aids. Nineteen Division I intercollegiate softball players participated in a warm-up with 1 of 8 resistance devices on separate days. Each of the 8 testing sessions had players perform a standardized dynamic warm-up, 3 maximal dry swings mimicking their normal game swing with the assigned warm-up device, 2 comfortable dry swings with a standard 83.8-cm, 652-g softball bat followed by 3 maximal game swings (20-second rest between swings) while hitting a softball off a batting tee with the same standard softball bat. Results indicated that there were no statistically significant differences in bat velocity after using any of the 8 warm-up devices similar to in previous baseball research. This indicates that the results for both male and female intercollegiate players are similar and that intercollegiate softball players can use any of the 8 warm-up devices in the on-deck circle and has similar bat velocities. However, similar to in other previous baseball research, it is not recommended that female intercollegiate softball players warm up with the popular commercial donut ring in the on-deck circle because it produced the slowest bat velocity.

Seeing the results of the study, it’s advisable to read up on any device you will be using as training or performance enhancement tools to know it’s effectivity. By this time coaches should know that having load on your bat is not advisable as warm-up tool on the batting deck.

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Scientific Proof – Study on Biceps Activity During Windmill Softball Pitching

3-2 Count...Windmill pitching produces high forces and torques at the shoulder and elbow, making the biceps susceptible to overuse injury. Little is known about the muscle firing patterns during a windmill pitch. Scientists think the Biceps muscle activity is greater during a windmill pitch than during an overhand throw.

In their study they had seven female windmill pitchers undergo motion analysis and surface electromyography evaluation of their biceps muscles during windmill and overhand throwing. Marker motion analysis, muscle activity, and ball release were captured simultaneously. Surface electromyography trials were collected and related to the athletes’ phases of pitching and throwing,

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Softball Workout – Power Workout for Catchers

Power workouts must be given upon strength foundation is established

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Softball Workout – Power Workout for Catchers

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Scientific Proof – Study of Strength and Conditioning Practices in a Varsity High School Athletic Program

VARSITY_PORTRAIT_030909_1831_01 4x6L framed webThe use of strength and conditioning to improve athletic performance, is growing among athletes of all ages. Currently, Idaho possesses no rules, regulations, and/or guidance for varsity high school athletics and strength training.  The purpose of this research was to explore the current practices for varsity level high school athletes and strength training. Specifically, we examined who designs and implements strength training programs for varsity high school athletes, what kinds of things they do for their programs, and whether the responsible party or emphasis of strength training changes depending on the gender of the athletes.  Coaches of soccer, basketball, and softball/baseball in three Idaho school districts were asked to complete an online survey. Results showed that seventy percent of the coaches who were eligible to participate responded to the questionnaire. Approximately half of the respondents coached male athletes and 45.2% coached female athletes. The majority of coaches provided strength training opportunities for their athletes, although only required participation. The majority of strength training programs were designed and implemented by either physical education teachers or head coaches. Physical education teachers designed and implemented the majority of the strength training programs for female athletes whereas head coaches designed and implemented the majority of strength training programs for male athletes. Coaches of both male and female athletes provided equal opportunities for strength training for their athletes, but coaches of male athletes were more likely to require their athletes to participate. Most programs included dynamic warm-ups and cool-downs, plyometrics, agility training, speed training, and conditioning and most programs were conducted three days a week for sessions lasting between 30 and 59 minutes. Compared to their female counterparts, male athletes were more likely to strength train year round and train using more sessions per week. The results of this study provide knowledge, where none exists, about strength and conditioning practices for three major sports in three large school districts in Idaho.

If more is known about strength training practices in high schools with athletic teams in soccer, basketball, and baseball/softball, individuals responsible for designing programs can critically examine their own programs to ensure that programs are fundamentally sound. It is important to document ones training program and it’s results to see if it’s effective or not.

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Softball Workout – Agility Drills #2

Agility Drills help program the brain to think light and to move on the balls of your feet.

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Softball Workout- Agility Drills #2

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