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

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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research





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Baseball pitching has been described as an anaerobic activity from a bioenergetics standpoint with short bouts of recovery. Depending on the physical conditioning and muscle fiber composition of the pitcher as well as the number of pitches thrown per inning and per game, there is the possibility of pitchers fatiguing during a game, which could lead to a decrease in pitching performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of 3 recovery protocols: passive recovery, active recovery (AR), and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) on range of motion (ROM), heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and blood lactate concentration in baseball pitchers during a simulated game. The use of EMS was the most effective method at reducing blood lactate concentration after 6 minutes of recovery during a simulated game (controlled setting). Although EMS significantly reduced blood lactate concentrations after recovery, blood lactate concentrations after pitching in the simulated games were never high enough to cause skeletal muscle fatigue and decrease pitching velocity. If a pitcher were to throw more than 14 pitches per inning, throw more total pitches than normal per game, and have blood lactate concentrations increase higher than in the simulated games in this study, the EMS recovery protocol may be beneficial to pitching performance by aiding recovery. This could potentially reduce some injuries associated with skeletal muscle fatigue during pitching, may allow a pitcher throw more pitches per game, and may reduce the number of days between pitching appearances.


active recovery; electrical stimulation recovery; passive recovery

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