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SwingAway Baseball Swing Trainer: How-To Build A Swing You Can Be Proud Of…

 

Baseball Swing Trainer: SwingAway MVP

The SwingAway MVP Bryce Harper model

I’ve wanted to do a “how-to experiment” post for a long time.  But in the past, technology hadn’t quite caught up,

…and NOW it has!

Mark Twain once said:

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

I want:

  • …To lay out the landscape, in this Baseball Swing Trainer post, about using the SwingAway for conducting hitting experiments,
  • …This article to empower you to take up arms with me, and turn conventional hitting wisdom on its stubborn little head, and
  • …To inspire you to use modern technology to build a swing we ALL can be proud of.

I’m embarrassed to share the following story…

I did my first hitting experiment in the sixth grade with a buddy, for a school project.

My friend and I ran an experiment to see if a wood or aluminum bat could hit the ball farther.

One day after school, we pitched to each other at the Little League diamond we played our games at.  We used two aluminum Easton baseball bats and a Ken Griffey Jr. signature Louisville Slugger woody.  One aluminum bat was 32-inches and 24-ounces, and the other was 31-inches and 23-ounces.  And I can’t remember what the woody measurements were, but it was comparable.

I think we might have hit about 50 balls with each bat (150 balls total), and get this…measured the distance with our feet! 😀 lol

Based on our results, guess which bat hit the ball the farthest?  Wood or aluminum?  The wood bat!!!  Waaa??

Well, it was only because we weren’t being very scientific with our scientific experiment.  One of the big reasons we didn’t get a good grade on the project was because we DID NOT isolate the variables

  • We threw LIVE batting practice to each other.  We should have used a baseball hitting trainer like a batting tee or SwingAway (wasn’t around at the time).
  • We both took turns hitting, and didn’t separate our individual batted ball distances.
  • We used different sized bats.
  • We measured using our own feet…I was a men’s 8/9 at the time, and my buddy was an 11. We should’ve used a rolling tape measure.
  • We only took a small data sample size. We should’ve hit 100 balls with the wood bat, and then 100 with aluminum.  AND we should have only used one of the aluminum bats (preferably the one closest in size and weight to the woody).  So 400 swings total (200 swings for me, 200 for my friend).  Then compared apples to apples.

Remember, failure is only a detour, not a dead end 😉

The good news is,

You don’t have to be a scientist to run a hitting experiment.

What follows is the exact formula I use now, to run my hitting experiments using the SwingAway baseball swing trainer.  My hopes is that you pick up arms, and join me in the fight…

 

The Definitive Guide to Conducting a Baseball Swing Trainer Experiment

Up until now, here are SIX hitting experiments I’ve run:

 

Equipment & Setup

You can read the full list at the above swing experiment links.  But here are a couple pieces of equipment that will have a drastic effect on bean counting and saving time doing the experiment itself…

Zepp Baseball App
Baseball Swing Trainer: Zepp Baseball App

Zepp Baseball App

Great tool for collecting data.  It’s not perfect, but all we need is an apples to apples comparison.  Unfortunately, the Zepp app DOES NOT allow you to separate experiment swings from recreational ones.  You have to delete ALL swings before doing an experiment, unless you want to do the bean counting yourself.

You’ll also need to create two email accounts with Zepp to separate the two experiment tests.  Zepp allows you to “Add a Hitter” in one account, but it doesn’t allow you to separate that data from other hitters or swings and average the data out.

SwingAway Baseball Swing Trainer
Baseball Swing Trainer: SwingAway Pro XXL

SwingAway Pro XXL model

I just started using a SwingAway for my swing experiments.  I used to hit the ball off an ATEC Tuffy Batting Tee, but it was taking me 2 1/2 to 3 hours to run my experiments.  Fatigue could set in and skew the results.  Some experiments where you’re looking at ball flight (like Bent Back Knee experiment above) will most definitely need to be done off a batting tee.

Using the SwingAway baseball swing trainer took me only 1 1/2 hours!  NO need for:

  • Ball cleanup,
  • Ball setup, or
  • Waiting more than a few seconds for the ball to return to its stationary position.

This saved me a ton of time.  All you need is a 10 X 10 space to conduct your SwingAway baseball swing trainer experiment.

Baseball Swing Trainer Experiment Optimization Tips…

  • Limit Variables – The main objective of a baseball swing trainer hitting Experiment, is to isolate what you’re trying to test.  Like my sixth grade experiment from earlier, there were too many variables that we didn’t control.
  • Priming the Pump – I always start an experiment by warming up my body with a pre-practice routine, similar to this Dr. Stanley Beekman’s post.  You don’t have to do all included exercises, so pick about eight of them.  I’ll also take about 10-15 swings focusing on the specific mechanic I’m going to be testing that day.  For example, if I was testing showing the pitcher my numbers versus not, then I’d do 10-15 swings both ways, so 20-30 swings total before officially starting the experiment.  We prime the pump so nobody can see, “Well, your numbers sucked in the beginning because you weren’t warmed up.”
  • Counter-Balancing – The two tests in the experiment should be counterbalanced.  Which consisted of eight blocks of 25-swings done in the following order ABBA BAAB.  Say “showing the numbers” was letter ‘A’, and “not showing the numbers” was letter ‘B’.  200 total swings are to be completed in the experiment, 100 per test.  Counter-balancing helps remove the “getting tired” and “not being warmed” up factors.
  • More Data Points – I take at least 100 swings for both tests in the experiment, so 200 swings total (not counting warm-up swings).  So, taking the “showing numbers” as an example, I’d take 100 swings showing my numbers, and then take another 100 swings not showing my numbers.  The Zepp App is a useful technology, but isn’t super accurate.  But the more data you collect, the closer to the “real” numbers you’ll get.
  • Break the Swing Apart – If you aren’t confident that you can repeat a specific mechanic consistently for 100 swings, then break the swing apart, like I talk about in this YouTube video.  I did this in the showing the numbers experiment above.
  • Collect Ball Flight Data (optional) – for some mechanics, like testing the back leg angle during the turn experiment, it’s critical to collect ball flight data on the Zepp app.  Zepp allows you to manually input where you hit the ball after each swing.  Testing the grip on the bat would be another example.  Also, adding Ball Exit Speed readings could enhance the baseball swing trainer experiment, Bushnell Velocity Radar Gun (about $80), or Stalker Radar Gun ($500+).  ESPN’s HitTrackerOnline.com uses the latter in all MLB ballparks.  Just remember, accuracy isn’t as important as an apples to apples comparison.
  • Recovery – I usually will give my body about 30-minutes rest between the first 100 swing test and the second.  I now use supplement timing like Zach Calhoon maps out in these posts.  I sip on Zach’s “concoction” throughout the full experiment to keep my muscles fueled.  I then take Vitamin C and E capsules afterward to help with soreness.
  • Brainstorming Experiments – Don’t have any ideas on what to test?  I did the heavy lifting for you.  And by no means is this an exhaustive list of possible experiments. CLICK HERE for my brainstormed list.
  • Take Notes – make note of my “notes” in the above experiments.  Basically, the notes section are things that you noticed while doing the tests that may not be apparent to the person reading about the experiment.

 

In Conclusion…

In this baseball swing trainer post about using the SwingAway for hitting experiments, I wanted to lay out the landscape and empower you to help me take up arms.  I want to turn conventional hitting wisdom on its head, and use modern baseball swing trainer technology to build a swing we ALL can be proud of.

Let’s revisit the Mark Twain quote from earlier:

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

I need your help and can’t fight this fight alone.  I want you to take action…

My challenge to you is let’s band together and conduct 30 Experiments in the next 30 days.  If all of us do at least one swing experiment, then we should be able to knock this goal out by July 15th.

Just post your baseball/softball hitting experiment results below in the comments section.  Reply with:

  • What experiment you ran (from the brainstorm list above)?
  • How many swings per test (i.e. 100/100), and what order did you do the test?
  • What bat did you use (length, weight, and wood/aluminum)
  • Hit off tee or Swingaway baseball swing trainer?
  • What metric changes were significant (bat speed/hand speed/bat vertical angle at impact/attack angle/ball flight/ball exit speed)?

Thanks in advance for your baseball swing trainer experiment comments!

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on gaining power faster through nutrition:

Hey guys,

Welcome back to the third post of this series.

  • First we talked about timing your nutrients.
  • Then we went into the hormonal changes needed to take advantage of the “anabolic window” right after you train.

Those previous post give great context to this post, so make sure to read them. Then come back here.

 

You Want To Drop Bombs?

As a baseball player who understands the game, I know strength does not always equal skill. If you are reading this post, you are probably working extremely hard to achieve your goals, or you are coaching young guys who have big goals. Some of you have sons that just want to play in college. That is an awesome pursuit. You should have big goals. And you should pursue them with everything possible.

 

This Is What You Are Missing

Ask this question to players, “Do you work hard?” Across the board, everyone says yes. Every player assumes they are doing everything they can to achieve their goals. This holds true until you meet someone who works way harder than you.

Then you step up  your game, refocus and change your standards. Similar to the story of the 4 minute mile. Nobody thought it could be done, until Roger Bannister made it happen. Now 10+ people have run a 4 minute mile.

Once one guy pioneered it, it became possible to everyone. You have to be the nutrition pioneer for your team.  Pushing the boundaries of what is possible. This is how players change their teams and how you can change your future.

 

Optimizing Your Nutrition

Sports nutrition is a great example of a missing piece. If you get this right, everything in your game will benefit. You will recover faster, grow more lean muscle and output more power at the batter’s box. I can’t help you make contact, but I can dang sure promise you faster growth and more strength. So what should you do?

 

Do Not “Eat Right”

Do not just “eat right.” When someone tells you to eat right, but they do not define what that means, your action steps get diluted. Most nutrition advice is for losing weight, getting 6 pack abs and increasing overall health. Those are great things for the average person, but that’s not you.

You are a high performance athlete. You may take 100 hacks in the cage then go right to the weight room. You should optimize your nutrition as a high performance athlete. You can get a six pack later….

 

Post Workout Breakdown

The natural bad response to a workout leads to muscle damage that occurs during and after exercise, activates an immune response which causes muscle inflammation and pain to the muscles that further damages the muscle fiber.

This slows down the reconstruction and growth of the muscle fiber. Some amino acids like glutamine and other branch chain amino acids (also known as BCAA’s) are also depleted after exercise. These amino acids are used up in vital processes during high intensity exercise.

These negative responses to muscle damage can actually result in a net protein loss. The original intention of your training, to gain strength (and hit bombs), is not the natural reaction of your muscles. This potential reduction in muscle mass and strength can hinder your bat speed and hurt your performance goals. Nobody wants this catabolic response.

The Anabolic Switch

ana

There is good news. With proper nutritional intervention, the right nutrients at the right time, you can flip this catabolic state (breakdown) to an anabolic state (building). Which reduces the negative effects of muscle damage, and stimulates a greater protein production resulting in muscle growth and increased strength. The results: you get stronger and recover faster.

Your timing is vital. If not taken serious, you will not see the benefits. Literally “every minute matters.”

We discussed previously the vital importance turning on the anabolic switch after a workout. If you tried this, you should have seen a benefit already in your training. If you haven’t tried it, why not?

 

The 3 Stages Of Muscle Growth

The anabolic switch is the most important action step to take serious right now. Everything revolves around you making sure this happens. Keep in mind, you can set up your muscles and training before you train.  And you can optimize appropriate nutrition availability throughout the rest of your recovery process.

As an athlete who trains regularly, you will use muscle for energy, there is a spike in response, then you will initiate recovery. The Throw Cheese Nutrient System separates your muscle development into three different stages:

  1. The Power Stage,
  2. The Anabolic Stage and
  3. The Re-Build Stage.

The Power Stage

During this phase, the primary objective of the muscle is to release enough energy to sufficiently propel muscle contraction. Either during training or while you are pitching. Most players recognize the importance of consuming carbohydrates during training. Carbohydrates prevent the depletion of muscle glycogen (which extends your endurance) and helps maintain blood glucose levels (which delays fatigue).Throw Cheese Nutrition System

The Throw Cheese Nutrient System will tell you more than to just consume carbohydrates during exercise. Research shows, that when you consume carbohydrates with protein, specific amino acids and vitamins, you will experience greater gains than just consuming these nutrients separately.

You will be able to spare muscle glycogen (Your back-up energy storage) and accomplish greater muscle stamina, limit the rise of the hormone cortisol (Reducing muscle damage – I touch on hormones more later VERY IMPORTANT) and help prepare enzymes for faster recovery following your workout.

[Basically, your teammates will be wondering where you get all your energy to keep going and why you are growing so strong. In turn, you will quickly gain velocity on your fastball and have greater stamina on the mound.  After a awhile, you will acquire nicknames like “machine” and “super-man.” That is when it gets fun. You will smile and be thanking me.]

The next phase in muscle growth, the Anabolic stage…

The Anabolic Stage

This phase of muscle growth is the 45 minute window Throw Cheese Nutrition Systemfollowing a workout. With the right combination of nutrients, this phase initiates repair of the damaged muscle protein, and replenishes muscle glycogen stores (where muscle energy is stored).

Right after you finish a workout, your muscles are extremely sensitive to a hormone called insulin.  Insulin is key to muscle growth. Although this muscle sensitivity is high immediately after your workout, this sensitivity declines rapidly. Within a few hours your muscle cells can become insulin resistant (NOT good). If your muscle become insulin resistant you see dramatic slows in muscle glycogen recovery, muscle repair, and creation of new muscle. Don’t let this happen.

As you go through the Throw Cheese Nutrient System, you will learn why the consumption of carbohydrates during this 45 minute window is so important. You will learn about driving muscle glycogen recovery, muscle tissue repair and creation of new muscle (protein synthesis). Also you will learn how protein, consumed without carbohydrates, is less effective! And you will learn why specific antioxidants can boost muscle recovery.

The Re-Build Stage

This stage begins at the end of the Anabolic Stage and continues until your next workout. During this stage the muscle enzymes (proteins that speed up chemical reactions ) help increase the number of contractile proteins (what causes the muscle to flex ) and help increase the size of the muscle fibers (why you look so jacked). These enzymes also help replenish muscle glycogen storage (muscle energy storage) used up during the Power Stage.Throw Cheese Nutrition System

The Rebuild Stage is just as vital as the previous two stages. During this phase, you must continue to eat carbohydrates and proteins to maintain optimal muscle growth. Including the correct intervals between consumption. Protein consumed at the right time pays off with huge increases for any strength athlete. Especially pitchers looking to throw gas (Or as a hitter, drop bombs).

If you follow the Throw Cheese Nutrient System, you will be able to sustain a high “anabolic state”, restore muscle energy, repair the damaged muscle tissue, create new muscle, and see fastball velocity gains that will light up radar guns.

 

How To Maximize Protein Synthesis During  Recovery (The Rebuild Stage)

The amount of protein you consume each day is SO important to your overall muscle gain and muscle recovery. There are many studies that measure the exact amount of protein for athletes to maximize performance. Here are two mentioned in the Rebuild Stage…

Body Builder Study:

“In a 4 week study by Fern and associates, they found a greater gain in total muscle mass for body builders who consumed 3.3 grams per 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight of protein versus those who consumed 1.2 grams per 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight per day. So at first glance we see a higher amount of daily protein and a higher amount of muscle mass. But this study also showed a measureable amount of protein that was not retained. Most likely, the group that consumed 3.3 grams of protein per 2.2 pounds of body weight had exceeded the amount of protein that can be used for protein synthesis.”

Athlete Protein Study:

“A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology by Tarnopolsky and colleagues measured athlete’s entire body protein synthesis based on per day protein consumption. The athletes consumed either consumed .9 to 1.4 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight. Or they consumed an increased 2.4 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight. In this study, they did NOT observe an increase in protein synthesis.

These examples are only 2 out of 5 examples shown in the rebuild stage. The great thing about studies like this, is you can learn from them and test them on yourself.

So how much protein should you consume each day?

It depends on your weight and your performance goals. A full comprehensive guideline for your recovery and macronutrient profile is laid out clearly in the Throw Cheese Nutrient System.

 

What Exactly You Should Do

You need to try out this course and start to implement the findings. Joey asked me to write these posts because he cares about you guys. He actually wants you to get better. After lots of discussion, it’s clear to me, you are all in good hands.

There is two types of responses to an educational course like this one.

  • Reaction 1 – Try it, learn and grow as fast as possible. See measurable improvement by measuring the right performance indicators and controlling your nutrient intake at the right times.
  • Reaction 2 – Uncertainty and hesitation. The first type of people succeed in baseball. The second type will continue to struggle and forever be scared to try anything.

 

How To Change Your Muscle Forever

The simplest way to know if you are doing the right thing for your athletic career, is to try it. Test it out. Call me out if you do not learn something. I believe in these courses and I know it will help you.

Click the link below, scroll down to the bottom of the page and buy the course and start to change your nutrition optimization today.

Throw Cheese Nutrition System

Pitchers Throw Cheese System

-Zach

P.S.: If you want more information about me, check out www.pitchersthrowcheese.com and sign up to my newsletter. Or email me at zach [at] pitchersthrowcheese [dot] com

P.P.S.: Thanks for reading. Share this with a friend.

P.P.P.S.: What are you waiting for, grab your own copy of the Throw Cheese Nutrient System–> Click here

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on gaining power faster through nutrition:

Last post, we talked about timing your nutrition. But why? How does changing a few minutes of nutrition intake make any difference in your recovery and training? The answer revolves around your bodies hormonal response and an idea called the “Anabolic window.”

Anabolic response is a fancy word for building. When you see the word anabolic, think to build, when you see the word catabolic, think breaking down.

X-axis is time after workout

 

This graph is showing the anabolic response to nutrients after you exercise. There is a sharp anabolic response to nutrients immediately after your workout. But as you wait, your muscles are less responsive to anabolic activates and less responsive to nutrition.

 

How Hormones Change Your Training

Why is this the case? This is because of an important hormone called insulin. Insulin is released by your pancreases into your bloodstream when your body detects certain foods in your system. The most popular function of insulin is the regulation of glucose. If your bloodstream has a glucose level that is too high, then this can be toxic and lead to death. So insulin helps lower your blood sugar. Thus you stay alive. Good!

Check this out, the presence of insulin after a workout has been shown to boost recovery and increase muscle gain.

 

Studies To Help Us

There have been many studies proving the effect of insulin on protein synthesis (the creation of new muscle).  Penn State University Medical School researchers found that insulin stimulated ribosomes (cellular machinery) involved in the creation of muscle protein.

In a different study, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Galveston found that, after an insulin infusion, new muscle creation (protein synthesis) in the muscle cell increased by approximately 67 percent post workout.

I took advantage of this insulin response to glucose right after workouts. This recovery tool, aided my fastball increase from 88 mph to 95 mph in less than a year. When you take your nutrient intervention serious. Big things happen. You accomplish performance goals you never thought possible. I want this same success for you.

I teach a lot of pitchers how to train harder and recover fast (to throw harder). So I call nutrient intervention “Throw Cheese Intervention.” These same principals apply to hitters.

Here is an example of a normal insulin response to exercise without nutrient intervention:

Insulin’s Bad Reputation

Insulin promotes fat syntheses and decreases fat breakdown when your body is in a sedentary state. Over a long period of time, high insulin levels and buildup of body fat have been linked to type 2 diabetes. This is true and scary for a lot of people out there. But keep in mind. The sensitivity of your fat cells to insulin to store fat, is highly dependent on your bodies anabolic state.

The degree at which insulin promotes fat storage (bad), or carbohydrate storage, or protein syntheses (good) depends on which cells are sensitive to the insulin. Different cells (muscle cells or fat cells etc.) are sensitive to insulin based on the timing of your nutrients in regards to when your body was stressed during training.

We detail this very important, nutrition time sensitive characteristic, in the Throw Cheese Nutrient System. The timing and effectiveness of your nutrient intervention has a huge effect on your hormonal and biochemical response to workouts. An elite athlete (who is training everyday) muscle cells responds positively to insulin, especially right after your workout.

Exactly What You Should Do

Right after your workouts your muscle cells are the most sensitive to insulin and glucose. There is a 15 to 45 minute window that your body is starving for nutrient intervention. During this time you need to consume a protein/carbohydrate beverage (in a liquid form). The carbohydrate I want you to consume is sugar.

This will “open” the gates for amino acids, creatine and glucose for new muscle creation, limit muscle damage and blunt negative hormone response from training. The ratio of carbohydrates to protein is 3/1 or 4/1 carbohydrates to protein. For a post-workout supplementation, a 200 pound athlete should consume approximately 15 – 20 grams of whey protein and 50 – 60 grams of high-glycemic carbohydrates (dextrose) immediately after training.

Here is a picture of my shake after a workout:

More precise calculation of your pre-training, during training and post training nutrition is something we will lay out for you later.  So stay tuned bro and bro-ettes!

Keep in mind, carbohydrates and protein are both good by themselves. But when you add them together,  carbohydrates are complimentary to protein in training recovery and strength gains. Immediately following your workout, is the “Prime time” to get protein/carbohydrates into your system. The faster the better!

The below graph shows a large anabolic difference when nutrient intervention takes place.

From the Throw Cheese Nutrient System:

What Kind Of Sugar?

Not all sugars are a strong stimulator of insulin. Avoid products with high fructose or galactose. For example, many fruits (bananas, apples, citrus fruits ) and all vegetables (asparagus, artichoke, beans, broccoli) contain high fructose levels. They are not ideal immediately after your workout (Plus they are slower to digest).  Strong insulin driving carbohydrates include sucrose, maltodextrin and dextrose.

 

Here Is What I Use

I prefer the carbohydrate dextrose (order Dextrose Powder on Amazon). It is derived entirely from corn, making it natural, effective, and easily utilized by the body. You can scoop this into your shaker along-side your whey protein (whey protein is also very insulinogenic).

What If You Wait?

2 hours after your workout, your muscle can actually become insulin resistant. What this means is your muscle cells will not use the nutrients needed to build and repair the damage you caused during training. In other words, all the work you put into training is wasted. (what a crying shame!)

Do not waste your workouts by limiting your fuel intake. Every minute counts, literally.

Stay tuned for the next blog post, and keep working hard.

-Zach

PS: I wrote a a free course called “5 Nutrition Shortcuts To A 90+ MPH Fastball” grab your own copy —> click here

P.P.S.: Thanks for reading. Share this with a friend.

References:

Gleeson, M., Lancaster, G.I., and Bishop, N.C., “Nutritional strategies to minimize exercise induced Immuno suppression in athletes,” Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 26(Suppl):S23-S35, 2001.

Levenhagen, D.K., Carr, C., Carlson, M.G., et al., “Post exercise protein intake enhances

whole-body and leg protein accretion in humans,” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34:828-837, 2002.

Ivy, J.L., Katz, A.L., Cutler, C.L., et al., “Muscle glycogen synthesis after exercise: effect of

time on carbohydrate ingestion,” Journal of Applied Physiology, 64:1480-1485, 1988.

Ivy, J.L., “Dietary strategies to promote glycogen synthesis after exercise,” Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 26(Suppl):S236-S245, 2001.

Suzuki, M., Doi, T., Lee, S.J., et al., “Effect of meal timing after resistance exercise on hind limb muscle mass and fat accumulation in trained rats,” Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 45:401-409, 1999.

Disclaimer: Always consult a medical professional before taking any nutrition supplements.