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Driveline’s Pitching Research Homepage

Recovery Research

Effects of Three Recovery Protocols on Range of Motion, Heart Rate, Rating of Perceived Exertion, and Blood Lactate in Baseball Pitchers During a Simulated Game

Authors: Warren, CD; Szymanski, DJ; Landers, MR

This study wanted to examine the effects of three different recovery protocols on range of motion, heart rate, rate of perceived exertion and blood lactate concentration in 21 D1 baseball players. The recovery methods were used in between innings of a simulated game where each pitcher threw 14 fastballs at 95% or higher intensity for 5 innings. They did this 3 times with 4 days between games.

Passive rest was defined as sitting in the dugout, active rest was using a pedal arm trainer and then EMS was used for the third group. Each between inning break was for 6 minutes.

The researchers found that the method of recovery did not affect range of motion but did significantly influence blood lactate concentration, heart rate and rate of perceived exertion.

Blood lactate levels did not change due to passive or active recovery methods but did decrease significantly due to EMS recovery. EMS was the preferred method by 18/21 participants. Active recovery had a negative effect on pitchers blood lactate levels. Heart rate decreased during all conditions but decreased significantly more after EMS and passive recovery.

It should be noted that even though blood lactate levels decreased with EMS the blood lactate levels were never high enough to cause skeletal muscle fatigue or decreased pitching velocity. If possible this study should be replicated under the unpredictable conditions of a live game.

Effect of Three Different Between-Inning Recovery Methods on Baseball Pitching Performance

Authors: Warren, CD; Brown, LE; Landers, MR; Stahura, KA

Active rest, passive rest or use of an EMS (electromuscle stimulation), which one is best for recovery? This study looked into use of active rest vs passive rest vs EMS between innings. EMS was shown to decrease BLa (Blood Lactate levels) and had the best self-reported recovery in pitchers. The case for using a EMS modalities post throwing can be made because they can used for longer time. This eventually lead us to discovering the Marc Pro, which we now have all of our pitchers use post throwing.
Expand for Vocab

Electromuscle stimulation – creating a muscle contraction using electric impulses. Often in a rehab setting using a TENS, Marc Pro or similar unit

Active rest – in this case the active rest used between innings was jogging

Passive rest – sitting in between innings on the bench

Blood Lactate levels – measure of the amount of lactic acid in the blood stream

Musculoskeletal overuse injuries and heart rate variability: Is there a link?

Authors: Gissleman, Angela Spontelli; Baxter, G. David; Wright, Alexis; Hegedus, Eric; Tumilty, Steve 

This study proposed a hypothesis that Heart Rate Variability is a useful measure to include when trying to measure the workload and possible overtraining that an athlete may be experiencing. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is an indirect measure of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). In a not entirely understood why ANS activity has been shown to be important to the health and repair of somatic tissue after injury but there is believed to be a link.

HRV should be used in conjunction with psychological and biomechanical markers of stress in a more complete athlete profile. This may help improve our interpretation of an athlete’s response to training.
Admittedly previous research trying to link HRV to an athlete’s negative or positive adaptation to training has been conflicting. But since it is a relatively new technology it is worth looking into HRV tracking in relation to prevention of overuse injuries and rehabilitation of injured tissues to see if any patterns exist.

Effects of Electrical Stimulation Using the Marc Pro Device during the Recovery Period on Calf Muscle Strength and Fatigue in Adult Fitness Participants (Open Access)

This study wanted to compare strength and recovery in adults who followed an exercise program over a period of 10 weeks. Two studies are included in this review. Both studies split the participants in half with one group using the Marc Pro after exercise on both calf muscles while the other didn’t use the Marc Pro.

Calf muscle strength was measured at the beginning and after 10 weeks by a 3 repetition maximum load. Calf muscle fatigue was assessed on a subjective 9-point rating scale.

Percent body fat, fat weight and lean weight were also measured and there was no significant difference between Marc Pro and no Marc Pro groups. But there were significant changes in calf muscle strength and fatigue.

Both studies showed increase in strength with the Marc Pro group experiencing a significantly greater increase in strength over the no Marc Pro group. This suggests that using the Marc Pro after resistance training may be effective for increasing muscle strength.

One study showed a significant difference of experienced calf fatigue between the Marc Pro and no Marc Pro groups. With the group using the Marc Pro showing the larger difference. The second study showed no statistically significant difference in calf muscle fatigue.

The groups that used the Marc Pro also experienced a greater decrease in feelings of calf fatigue when compared to the no Marc Pro group.

The researchers propose that “the enhanced muscle recovery associated with MPD (Marc Pro Device) electrical stimulation may be due to increased micro circulation, muscle loading, and angiogenesis” Better muscle recovery would of course provide a greater opportunity to increase work capacity which may promote greater strength gains.

The Marc Pro Device Improves Muscle Performance and Recovery from Concentric and Eccentric Exercise Induced Muscle Fatigue in Humans: A Pilot Study (Open Access)

This paper consists of reviews of 2 studies. The first wanted to examine the effects of the Marc Pro on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) of 14 participants. The goal was to compare perception of soreness, muscular endurance, and DOMS between legs.

In the first study researchers had each participant perform leg extensions and then use the Marc Pro on only one of their legs for one hour. After the workout the perception of soreness assessment showed less muscle soreness and discomfort on the leg that used the Marc Pro. Participants were able to complete more repetitions on average with the leg that received treatment from the Marc Pro than the leg with no stimulus.

The second study had 13 participants hike up and down Bulls Hills reservation of greater Boston until they achieved quadriceps muscular fatigue. Subjective soreness assessments showed significantly less discomfort in the leg that received stimulation via the Marc Pro versus the control leg. The researchers also split the exercise groups up into high and low response groups which found both groups experienced a decrease in DOMS and increase in muscular endurance.

The studeis suggests that the Marc Pro may significantly reduce DOMS caused by eccentric exercise. Though these findings were on middle age participants.  It would be encouraging to see a similar study carried out within a younger consistently trained population.