Inside Pitch Magazine, May/June 2020

Last Inning: Josh Heenan, Advanced Therapy and Performance

It's Not Just About Strength

By Barrett Snyder

Josh Heenan Josh Heenan is the founder and President of Advanced Therapy and Performance (ATP), and the creator of the 90mph Formula, a simple, physics and evidence based criteria that has helped thousands of players throw 90mph or harder. Josh holds a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science, a Master’s in Human Movement and Sports Psychology, a Master’s in Classical Five Elements Acupuncture and a Doctorate in Integrated Medicine.

Inside Pitch: Should baseball players be performing Olympic lifts? Does the risk outweigh the reward?

Josh Heenan: I actually competed in Olympic weightlifting for three years, and in my opinion, the risk absolutely outweighs the reward when it comes to baseball players. The weight room is one of the few places, if not the only place, that we can control nearly every variable with an athlete trying to remain healthy and optimize their potential upside and minimize their potential downside. If an athlete has to use their wrist and their wrist is their livelihood for their sport, I believe it is a rather poor choice to perform Olympic lifting variations, particularly the clean.

IP: You have Doctorate in Integrated Medicine, a degree in acupuncture, and are a strength coach. How have your integrated medicine and acupuncture degrees complemented you being a strength coach? 

It has helped put me in more rehabilitation settings, where I can see how injuries first came to be – poor movement patterns, poor loading patterns, too much load or too much volume in a short amount of time. I consider myself a “meathead strength coach” who happens to appreciate proper movement patterns much more than I used to. By having been exposed to the entire spectrum, it has forced me to reevaluate whether or not my athletes are moving in the most efficient manner possible.

IP: What messages are you trying to convey to your athletes in the weight room that you hope they will carry with them wherever life takes them?

We can have anything in this world that we want, but we can’t have everything. This is a really important philosophical mindset I try to instill. If you want to be the best athlete possible, you are going to have to make sacrifices and understand there’s going to be a price to pay. Understand what your options are and that if you are willing to be diligent with your plan, you can absolutely reach your goals.

IP: How have you evolved as a strength coach?

I think every discipline thinks that they have the answer, when in reality I believe the answer is already in every discipline. I think it is all a spectrum of therapy, rehab, surgery and medicine (prescriptions), all the way to movement training, movement prep, arm care, strength training and breathing exercises. I personally believe they are all types of “medicine.” I don’t use that term lightly; I use that term to try to distinguish the fact that medicine is an intervention, and that dosing is really important. When you begin understanding exercise at the highest level, you learn that it is a medicine and all the tools lateral to it, whether it be acupuncture, manual therapy, self-soft tissue work or mobilization work, they are all one in the same. It is all a means of applying the right medicine at the right time and to the right issue.

IP: What life advice would you give to others reading this piece?

You have a very limited amount of time in each day. It is essential that you surround yourself not just with people who you respect and admire, but people that are far beyond where you are in your profession and even further than where you think you could ever get. By putting these types of people in your inner circle, it will allow you to get where you want to be a lot quicker.

You can follow Josh on Instagram at @drheenan or contact him via email at [email protected].

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.