By Kyle Lindley, Sports Science Asst. Manager, PULSE Project Manager
Workload and throwing routines can and should be very individualized—different players have different needs when it comes to intensity and volume.
The same way that some athletes need different exercises, volume, and intensity in the weight room, throwers should have appropriately shaped routines to address their own needs. How can we determine what kind of workouts a thrower needs? Starting the data collection process is the first step.
To use PULSE to reliably shape your throwing program, you need to have first collected enough background data. The first month of using PULSE is built to include a series of ‘unlocks’ on a week-by-week basis until you have built a baseline level of data to base programming changes on. Let’s break it down.
Getting started with PULSE
So you got started using PULSE—what should you expect from the first month?
It’s best to set some goals for throwing volume and intensity, then monitor those in real-time or after your sessions. You can monitor them live with Live Mode in the advanced tab (far right bottom tab) of the iOS app, or review the data after your session by looking back on the summary metrics on the main screen of the app.
You can also view this data after your sessions on pulsethrow.drivelinebaseball.com using the same login information as the app. The information you’re looking for can be found on the Dashboard (main page) or the Interday Data tab of the Long Term Trends page.
Without experience using PULSE, it’s tough to know where to start with workload, volume, and intensity goals. David Besky (data scientist at Driveline) put together this blog with average metrics for different drills and exercises which can be a helpful starting point, and we also listed some rough guidelines below.
Goals: Start collecting PULSE data, set some reasonable starting volume and intensity goals, and get comfortable wearing your PULSE for all throwing
Using some context information including time of year, your goals, and a general estimate of your current arm strength/throwing fitness, you can determine a good starting point for Week 1 volume and intensity goals.
Think about how much throwing you’ve done in the last month to guide these goals.
Use these reasonable guidelines to guide your first week:
If you’ve thrown less than 2 times per week in the last month:
- Total throw count under about 250 throws for the whole week
- Arm speed range between about 400 and 700
- Don’t blow it out—stay away from max intensity
If you’ve thrown 3 or 4 times per week in the last month:
- Total throw count between about 250 and 400 throws for the whole week
- Arm speed range between about 400 and 900
- Don’t blow it out—stay away from max intensity throwing unless you’re properly on-ramped and have been mixing in high intent work
If you’ve thrown 5+ times per week in the last month:
- Total throw count between 300 and 500 throws for the whole week
- No arm speed limit
- Only mix in max intensity throwing if you’re properly on-ramped and have been mixing in high intent work
*Note: These are rough guidelines. None of these are hard and fast rules.
Goals: Continue collecting PULSE data for all throwing, tune your throwing based on first week
The primary goal is to continue collecting data, but you can use the first week of throwing to adjust volume and intensity goals based on the data that was collected. If you don’t feel recovered enough, maybe dial it back a bit by reducing total throws, one-day workloads, or intensity for some of the days. On the other hand, if you didn’t feel like you got enough work in, ramp up the throw count or intensity ever so slightly.
Tip: To look back at the workload data from your previous days of throwing, you can either swipe left and right on the main screen in the iOS app or select the dates at the top of the screen to navigate to a different day.
After the second week, you should have enough data to start interpreting the acute workload, chronic workload, and acute to chronic workload metrics more reliably.
Weeks Three and Four
Goals: Set a chronic workload goal and start paying attention to Acute to Chronic Workload Ratio (ACR)
If you’re not familiar, chronic workload is the average one-day workload over the last 28 days, and acts as a measure for throwing fitness. A good generic chronic workload range goal to shoot for when fully on-ramped is between 8 and 15 for adult athletes. For youth athletes (9 – 14ish years old), it often ranges between 3 and 9 because of physical development differences (height and weight). Use this table for chronic workload reference ranges:
ACR compares your acute workload (average one-day workload for the last 9 days) to your chronic workload. When you’re on-ramping (for 16+ y/o’s), your chronic workload will be less than about 8 and you want your ACR to be between 1 and about 1.5. When you’re no-longer on-ramping, you should have a chronic workload above 8 and you want your ACR to stay between 0.7 and 1.3ish on average.
Tip: You can view your ACR and your chronic workload by clicking on the ‘Max Recommended 1-Day Workload’ on the main screen of the iOS app. The ACR and Chronic workload will be highlighted in the description.
Goals: Use PULSE workload and intensity metrics to make sure you’re getting the most out of your throwing program
Once you have enough data collected on your PULSE account, this is when the fun really gets started. You have the opportunity to find what works best for you:
- What ACR makes me feel the best on my velocity days?
- Should I lower my chronic workload when I am crushing hypertrophy in the weight room?
- What warm up routine (by throw count and intensity) makes me feel the best?
- What chronic workload do I need to get to in order to be ready for the volume of in-season work?
- If I have to appear in a game on 4 days of rest instead of 5 days, how should I adjust my routine to make sure I’m at peak performance for my appearance?
The opportunities to optimize your throwing program are endless.
PULSE gives you the ability to make sure YOU are getting the most out of YOUR program. If you are measuring your throwing on days that you feel great, and also days that you don’t feel so great, you can easily answer the question: What is different between these days?
Get going on maximising your results, and make the most of your career. Measure it.