FROM 84 TO 91 MPH: CONNOR ROONEY'S BODY COMPOSITION AND MECHANICS OVERHAUL

Connor was primarily a shortstop until his freshman year of college. Out of high school, he was lightly recruited by D2/D3 schools, but knew that if he wanted to have a professional baseball future, it would have to be on the mound. Halfway through freshman year, he converted fully to a pitcher while playing on the University of Tampa’s JV team.

At 6’3’’, 203 pounds, Connor definitely had some more room to add lean mass when he started remote training with TreadAthletics.  Self-admittedly, his biggest challenges would be patience and trust in the program. Many times, he would find himself doubting the process and expecting instant results.  Regardless, he stuck it out, gained 12-14 pounds of lean mass, increased his total body strength by 25%, and touched 91 mph for the first time.  Get a glimpse into the process he used below...

Introduction

After completing a full movement assessment and collecting Connor's body and strength metrics, we established an approach that would emphasize:

  1. Improving body composition with a short cutting cycle (aimed at preserving lean mass while bringing him back into an athletic body fat percentage). followed by a lean mass cycle aimed at adding 5-10 lbs of mass. 
  2. Addressing his specific mobility deficiencies. Specifically, shoulder external rotation and thoracic extension/rotation.
  3. Re-mapping his arm/lower body mechanics. Specifically, we would do this by using overload drills to slot his arm into a better path, while implementing various constraint drills to improve his hip/shoulder separation. 
  4. Improving his total body strength. We determined that he was roughly 20-30% away from where he needed to be from a general strength perspective before we could transition to a power-oriented training style.

Body Recomposition

A big key to improving Connor's movement patterns and efficiency would be to complete a body re-composition.  The goal here was to cut to 200 pounds without, then enter into a "mini-bulk" back to around 210 pounds.  So, as the name would suggest, he would be an improved body composition at close to his starting weight.

Connor massively re-comped his body from 213 pounds at 23% body fat to 209 pounds at 15%. 

Mobility

Connor was missing considerable external rotation (well below the typical 160-180 degree range), which impacted his ability to apply force to the baseball over a greater arc of motion. To improve this, we prescribed various corrective exercises and soft tissue work. The increased external rotation range is shown below.  Note that Connor is a particularly "tight" individual; however, he was still able to make significant gains to his range while throwing.  

External rotation and quads brought to you by TreadAthletics. 

Mechanical Adjustments

Our next goal for Connor was to sync up his upper and lower halves. The most important tweak for Connor was to learn how to rotate down into landing and get the hips open while keeping his upper half closed as long as possible. Jake Arrieta was a pitcher we identified as a good mechanical model for Connor to use in guiding him during these changes. 

Arrieta was used as a mechanical model to guide Connor's upper/lower half changes.

Connor demonstrating his before/after mechanics  Notice the improved external rotation.  

Connor's velocity began to shoot up. Check out some fun texts and pulldown footage below:

A 96 MPH pull-down after starting at 82 MPH 6-months prior.  

Improving Total Body Strength

The last major task for Connor was to improve his total body strength.  As you can see from the results below, Connor was able to complete a body re-composition, increase all of his main strength metrics and improve his velocity simultaneously over a 6-7 month period.

Connor prior to the 2017 season pushing a 585 pound Barbell Glute Bridge for reps.

​Connor came to us as a position player transitioning to being a full-time pitcher with below average starter/reliever velocity.  He identified that his best chance to be a professional baseball player was to pitch.  With that, he needed a guided approach to make the transition as smoothly as possible. After 6-months that saw him dedicate six days a week to throwing and lifting, he made the necessary jump to give himself a chance. Hungry players like him are never out of the hunt, if they're able to identify their limiting factors and willing to put in the work. 

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