Interview with John Frappier of Athletic Republic – Creators of ThrowingCord – Cord Technologies

sports-training-photoWe’re into the injury aspect of sports, but we also discuss topics related to preventing injuries. A newer technology called Cord Technologies is helping more athletes improve their performance and prevent injuries. It’s a fascinating technology with targeted products.

This email interview with John Frappier of Athletic Republic is from earlier in the year and sheds light on the specifics of this newer technology. John is one of the visionaries when it comes to sports technology.

1) What is Athletic Republic?

Athletic Republic, formerly Frappier Acceleration® Sports Training, is the world’s premiere provider of scientifically based, athletic development training programs. Founded in 1990 on the continuing research of exercise physiologist John Frappier, M.S., and Stephen C. Swanson, M.S., Athletic Republic’s training programs are available at more than 160 facilities throughout North America, United Kingdom, the Philippines and Japan.

2) How did Athletic Republic start?

Athletic Republic is the culmination of two decades of improving athletic performance. I (John Frappier) designed the Acceleration Training programs over some twenty years of study.

My first programs were for gymnasts. Traveling with the USAIGC gymnastics delegation to the U.S.S.R. in 1986, I realized that America’s athletic training lagged behind that of the Soviets. Returning home, I devised new ways to train and new machines upon which to test one’s abilities. Over time, I designed the Super Treadmill, the patented Hockey Treadmill, resistance cords designed for each skill, and plyometric resistance machines, platforms and blocks.

And I’m still not through. Along with Athletic Republic’s Chief Officer of Science and Technology, Steve Swanson, we’ve devised a new force plate that not only records effort, but compares that effort to a huge database of precisely matched results. What you wish you knew about your competitors, well, now you know. And you know how you compare and what kind of Acceleration Training will move you ahead of the competition. The key is the ability to do statistical comparisons of gender, age, height, weight, sport, even position in your sport(s) to measure how you compare to other athletes tested throughout the network of facilities providing the Acceleration Program.

3) What is a Conditioning Cord and how does it work?

Our Cord technologies allow us to provide resistance at “game speed” without altering movement mechanics or the movement patterns of key muscles. This proprietary training approach is essential to making meaningful improvements in throwing or kicking velocity, bat or club head speed, or any complex, high-speed movement that is key to your sport.

4) What is the Throwing Cord and how does it help pitchers?

Perhaps a former major league pitcher should answer this question. Here’s what Rick Helling says about his experience training with the ThrowingCord™.

“The ThrowingCord is like nothing else I have seen for training pitchers. I loved how it helped me finish my delivery. It made me focus on balance and the proper mechanics throughout my throwing motion. There is nothing else that I know of that can strengthen your throwing muscles as safely and effectively while allowing you instant feedback from the execution of each throw.”

5) Who are some of the players to use the Throwing Cord?

Rick Helling, Darin Erstad, Travis Hafner, I know for sure, but others throughout the network have also trained baseball players, even Matt Lienart (QB) did the cords.

cord-technology-photo6) Does the Throwing Cord require professional help to use?

Training with Athletic Republic’s proprietary equipment and training protocols requires the supervision of a certified Athletic Republic trainer.

Our trainers assess an athlete’s strengths and weaknesses in the following areas:

  • movement skills
  • power and strength
  • conditioning and movement mechanics
  • sport-specific skills

Once they understand your abilities, they select a model of training that can best help you to better performance, a model that is the result of 20 years of research and testing. Through a progression of drills and utilizing technical feedback tools, they ensure an optimal training environment in which you can hear, see and feel your improvements as you progress, because they are next to you throughout your workout helping you to feel what it is like to move with streamlined efficiency.

And as you improve they adjust your training to take you just one step closer to perfection—safely—on our patented and proprietary equipment and through our science-based training programs.

In many cases, our trainers are members of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and are Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS).

Gaiam Tricord Resistance Cord Workout Kit

7) What other equipment does Athletic Republic offer that is unique?

Here’s a rundown of our proprietary equipment:

Our Generation II Super Treadmill may look like and industrial version of the standard treadmills available on the market today, but it performs like a finely tuned training instrument. With incline possible to 40-percent grades and decline to 10-percent grades, you will be challenged to a level that matches your ability and progress. The motor ramps up from 0 to 28 miles per hour in less than three seconds, which means you’ll work harder to keep up as we take you to a speed that is safely just beyond what you thought was your max.

Our Hockey Treadmill also provides speed training. Made of our patented and specially lubricated, ice-like surface, the Hockey Treadmill tilts from 0- to a 32-percent grade and can operate at speeds over 16 miles per hour.

The Plyo Floor is a cushioned floor that helps us train your stability and agility through speed of movement in multi-directional patterns, while saving your shins for something better than shin splints. Coupled with resistance cords, this floor is a potent development tool for dramatically improving power and quickness, expanding your movement base and developing dynamic stability.

The Plyo Press allows you to train for explosive power below or above body weight, depending on your goal, using an exclusive loading pattern that minimizes stress on your joints and back while maximizing explosive performance. Your body is positioned so that force goes through your body safely without putting undue stress on your back and joints. You can train safely at higher speeds and with more weight, a sure equation for building explosive power.

The Pro Multi-Hip improves the strength of your (core) abdominals and hips, important but often-overlooked muscles that are essential for improved competitive performance. It accommodates athletes from five feet to seven feet tall, and resistance can be set from less than 15 pounds for lateral movement patterns, to 375 pounds for dynamic power movements. This machine works a full range of motion in a natural curvilinear path. Most standard machines allow a very limited range of motion and don’t provide enough weight to allow you to train these key muscles effectively.

The Pro Implosion machine trains the upper body in natural, curvilinear paths of motion that better simulate the striking and press motions of sport. If you want to hit the next pitch out of the park, throw blockers out of your way or snag a puck from your opponent’s stick, this is your machine.

Athletic Republic’s proprietary 3PQ and AccuPower technologies are next-generation training. Measuring explosive power, dynamic stability and symmetry, we analyze it against a central database that provides a percentile ranking of your effort against the average produced by our athletes, you can see how you match up against others who share your height, weight, age and gender. The result is a clear view of what you need to do to improve and, if injured, when you can safely return to competition.

Finally, our proprietary cord technology provides controlled resistance while allowing you to perform exact movements at game-speed velocities, greatly improving sport-specific power in running, throwing, kicking, spiking or serving. The cords effectively train key, but often difficult-to-train muscle groups like the hip rotators or shoulders.

8) Why do you think professional athletes turn to steroids?

There are probably as many answers to this question as there are professional athletes using performance enhancing substances. Suffice it to say that athletes have always been on the lookout for something that would give them an advantage over their competition. We believe that the best way for an athlete to “unlevel the playing field” is for them to train with Athletic Republic.

9) How does Athletic Republic use the internet for business? allows us to present our training philosophy, proprietary equipment and sport-specific training protocols in a consistent, user-friendly manner. With over 160 training facilities throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Japan, our Web site is a vital educational and communications tool. Our Web site is also very dynamic, with something new in the works at all times. We’ve just added blog functionality that allows us to share news & views of what’s going on within the Athletic Republic network as well as the sports world in general — and we look forward to building an active community of blog commentators.

10) What is the future of Athletic Republic?

In a word, the future of Athletic Republic is bright. We’ve always focused on athlete development—from young athletes to pros—by providing the tools and training programs for boys and girls, men and women to reach their full athletic potential. And, with a national expansion plan focused on attracting new franchise operators who are passionate about helping athletes maximize their competitive capabilities, we’ll be able to help even more athletes unlevel the playing field.

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