Injury Prevention for Athletes.

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Onset of Hip Dysfunction in Throwers, Catchers, Hitters, Baseball Athletes

Good morning Team,

Coach JJ here, and in Typical JJ fashion I’m about to get real-ridiculous, real-quick with regards to my speak and verbiage. Most of you know by now that we bust our asses to bridge the gap between what happens at the clinical level and what you’re actually experiencing under the bar, and most importantly on the field, but for those of you who don’t know myself, my staff or the culture at S8 – education is as big a part of what we do as the programming and development itself…

That said, as you read these studies, they might sound over-head, or to some of you, like we’re trying to sound smart. I like sounding smart, I’m not going to lie, and yes I can hold conversations with PHD’s in Exercise Science, Physics Majors, Orthopedic Surgeons, and Physical Therapists, but I’m not here to wow you with my understanding of the above topics.

My goal is to show you that a guy with a beard, covered in tattoos, and that has taken far too many elbows, knees, and fists to the head can understand and breakdown the processes in the human body, the Central Nervous System, Biomechanics, Physics and how a baseball player performs any given mechanic necessary to achieve high levels of competitiveness, AND I can diagnose the breakdown and dysfunction of the kinetic chain. And because I can do it, I believe my athletes can too.

So what the hell does that mean? It means, that if you read our stuff long enough, and you interact with my staff of medical and strength professionals long enough and you train in our systems you’ll find us having conversations like the following case series – regarding Throwers, Hitters, and Catchers – and an all too common cause of pain and large decreases in performance – with our athletes nearly everyday.

So with-out any more rambling, here is a video of a thrower in our Velocity Research Program that has a MASSIVELY dysfunctional lead hip and it was alerted to us by the onset of locked hamstrings, pelvic tilt and occasional sciatic like symptoms.

While we look like magicians that we found this problem in a 53 second video, I assure you it has been a much more involved process and this simply documents how much range of motion the athlete is missing. He’s a very promising student and has already added 5+ MPH to his throwing velocity, and after finally reaching the “light-bulb” moment we now are able to attack a breakdown in the kinetic chain. In more detail than a short video can provide… See the Below results of a study on 15 athletes presenting with hip Dysfunction:




Over the course of the last six months during intensive work with over 100 baseball players we’ve seen an array of commonalities in biomechanical dysfunction arise. Of these one of the more Common dysfunctions exists in the lead hip of throwers and hitters, and presents in both hips of catchers.




Symptoms include low back pain, lack of mobility and articular abilities in the hip, and thigh, anterior pelvic tilt, tight hamstrings locked in an elongated position, and overall lack of power transfer in the throw and swing. Other subtle biomechanical symptoms surface when taking a squat as the foot on the lead leg/hip side of the body tends to be from 1-3 inches behind the back side foot regardless of load, walkout and bar position on the squatters back.




We have concluded that this is a combination of multiple dysfunctions: a hip impingement causing very minimal articular abilities, suspected to arise from the jamming that happens in the front femur-pelvis connection when the athlete launches his lead leg out in-front of him and creates the braking mechanism towards the bottom of the mound to transfer power up and over the back through the arm down the mound.




In addition to this ailment, the IT band and Glute system seem to over compensate for an inner thigh weakness, and a major iliopsoas over dominance on the lead side of the thrower / hitter, which is believed to be pulling down on the pelvis, and lumbar spine, creating anterior pelvic tilt, lumbar vertebral jamming and neuropathy. This same case presents with tightness in the piriformis and by our estimation is causing pressure to be placed on the sciatic nerve, which explains why the pain isn’t acute but rather localized and traveling throughout an entire lower limb / low back segment of the body.




There are a host of exercises and systems of mitigation that have proven effective in the short term and long term both for performance and the elimination of biomechanical dysfunction, and pain; These are:


  1. The Reverse Hyper, provides decompression for the Lumbar Spine, rotates the sacrum and allows spinal fluid to flow more freely as well as restoring the space between vertebrae eliminating pinched nerves
  2. Isometric strengthening of the Adductor and Abductor systems for lateral control and balance of the thigh
  3. The above combine with CARs or Controlled Articulated Rotation exercises allows the athlete to express full joint capacity and function, which provides the athlete with the ability to incrementally develop not only range of motion but active control in the newly acquired ranges of motion.
  4. Working in the belt squat with multiple walks and steps in varying directions and angles builds incredible hip tracking, and controlled ranges (this can also be combine with CARs exercises with light loads around the hips for traction)
  5. Developing Strength in the Hamstring through closed and open chain movements like the Inverse Curl and Seated Band Curls allows the biceps-femoris the ability to function properly as an extensor of the hips and can enter into a state of balance with the iliopsoas and quads
  6. External Progressive angular Isometricaly Loaded exercises in where the athlete will open the femur out to an extended range and meet an immovable load causing a maximal isometric contraction at the end range. This causes neural response to motor units that are basically dormant in the range of motion that the athlete can no longer achieve and very quickly gives the athlete what is known as ACTIVE range or functionality in the newly achieved level of mobility.

Now if you don’t understand the above and you think you have hip dysfunction thats limiting your performance on the diamond, give us a call or fill out a form somewhere on this site or drop us an email… I’d all but guarantee we can get you throwing gas or dropping tanks in no-time.

In Strength,

JJ Morris
Director of Performance


Hamstring Strength

I’m an American through and through. I love steak, bleed red, white and Blue and think big, faster and louder is generally better.

But one thing that isn’t better – is our “Sports Science” or what we know as exercise science.

The Russians, Bulgarians and Chinese have dominated in strength and power for 50 years, and the Jamaicans crush us in the short distance sprints.

This is because our Exercise Science education is lacking by 40+ years, as evident by things like banded accommodating resistance and static dynamic contrast training just recently being “explored” by the people we coin as the leaders in our industry.

News Flash

The Russians and Chinese and Bulgarians have been using this stuff since the early 60’s and our athletes are paying the price for it. But not anymore.

We read physics books, and study their every move so we can innovate and implement the most concrete and next level strength and performance available to athletes before they even get to college, when they need it most.

Use this Russian leg curl to develop those hamstring strength like a monster, because they are the muscles responsible for forward propulsion -> faster sprinting and jumping.

#boom #science #truthbomb #westsidebarbell #strength&conditioning #the8thlayer


Tight Psoas Muscle

Free agent Matt Hasenbeck is shown here working on a deficiency all too common in baseball players.

His psoas is extremely tight causing an anterior pelvic tilt which pulls his hips downward on the front side of his body.

This limits rotational power and range, as well as limits his ability to pull his hips through movements completely and use his glutes at optimal levels.

In addition it over stretches the hamstrings making them weak and atrophying, and renders them incapable of activating to complete forward propulsion … a huge issue for rotational athletes.

Simple fix: place a roller or small med ball under them small of the back to create a levering effect between the pelvis and the abdomen and stretch the tight psoas from the inside of the iliac crest (hips)