Catch & Release Training

by James Camastra ...

We often use catch and release (CnR) exercises with clients, commonly with medicine balls. Catching and releasing a weighted object involves more work through the end range of motion, which offers many benefits.  It's also fun to do.

When doing traditional resistance training exercises the lifter needs to decelerate the weight as it approaches the end of the movement, whether it’s your body like in a push-up or a barbell when doing a bench press. This deceleration requires less work especially at the end of the range of motion by the agonists, primary movers, when compared to the same movement done with a catch and release. The same can be said for the eccentric or negative/muscle lengthening action. We often throw a medicine ball just a bit higher than the client is throwing, increasing the eccentric load of the movement. Eccentric loading is well known to be more important in building strength than the concentric action, muscle shortening.

Additionally, multiplanar catch and release exercises expend more calories than traditional resistance training exercises. This is because they activate more muscle, both your primary movers and stabilizers. Your core is always the first group of muscles to engage in preparation for any catch and release, no matter what the exercise. The shoulder, hip and spine stabilizer are also much more engaged than with regular resistance training exercises.

The impact associated with catching an object may also be beneficial for increasing bone density. This is why we often do low level CnR exercises with our older clients.

Quite simply, we should all be varying the stress we place on our bodies and catch and release exercises are often overlooked. Incorporating catch and release exercises into your program may yield better strength gains, improved sport performance and decrease overuse injuries.

Here are three video demonstrations of common catch and release exercises which you can incorporate into your exercise routine.