Football Strength Programs vs Baseball Strength Programs: What You Need to Know
Which “football lifting” exercises should you stay away from if you want to stay healthy and improve your baseball performance? Here are a few to make substitutions for:
Barbell Bench Press
Keeping a shoulder healthy is all about a delicate balance between the muscles of the back and front of the shoulder. Almost always, the muscles on the front (i.e. pecs) are significantly stronger than the muscles on the back. In most athletes, utilizing barbell bench press would throw this balance further out of whack. Moreover, the barbell forces your shoulders into a fixed position of internal rotation. For more freedom of movement, choose a Dumbbell Bench Press instead.
There are two critical points regarding hang cleans and other similar Olympic lifting exercises as it relates to baseball training. First, the “catch” position of a hang clean produces excessive valgus stress at the elbow, which is the main mechanism causing a UCL tear and Tommy John surgery. Next, throwing velocity is more correlated with lateral power, than it is linear. Due to the linear nature of Olympic lifting and valgus stress, choose rotational medicine ball exercises instead.
Barbell Back Squat
The barbell back squat places the shoulders in considerable humeral extension (elbows behind the body) and external rotation (rotated backward) – two things that leave the shoulder in a compromised position. Your shoulder already experiences enough stress on the field – why add to it in the weight room? If you don’t have access to a safety squat bar, utilize a barbell crossface set-up to spare the shoulders.
This is an exercise that shouldn’t be found in anyone’s program, regardless of the sport. Upright rows involve taking your shoulders into flexion (up), abduction (out), and internal rotation (rotated inwards) – almost identical to the position that doctors will place your shoulder to test for impingement! Instead of an upright row, add a horizontal rowing variation into your program – the 1-arm dumbbell row is a classic.
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