Just so we’re on the same page, baseball is a rotational sport. So while recently looking over a collegiate baseball summer training program I couldn’t help but notice Olympic lifts were included. Really?
Olympic lifting is a sport in and of itself that includes lifts such as the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. These lifts require a tremendous amount of technique, a high learning curve and demand a high level of skill specific to the sport of Olympic lifting.
So why are these movements/exercises finding their way into the world of baseball training? I know, I know Olympic lifts can create powerful hips; and they do…in the sagittal plane of motion – which is not the dominant motion in baseball. Baseball is dominated thru the transverse/rotational plane.
Structurally, Olympic lifts could create abnormal (and high) levels of joint stress - particularly thru the shoulders and wrists- (let’s not forget about the force that's placed on the knees). I think we would all agree that the knees, shoulders and wrists are important to a ball player, thus we wouldn’t want to risk an off-season injury.
I’m not against Olympic lifts – I MIGHT incorporate them (MAYBE) if the athlete has a better than average base and understanding of Olympic lifting. However, I haven’t seen too many baseball players having been properly exposed to these lifts. Therefore I have to ask myself how important is it to teach and incorporate a potentially “risky” movement in order to develop sagittal plane hip power when baseball is dominated by rotational power. What's the reward:risk ratio?
Now, Im not saying we shouldnt do any sagittal plane power training. I just believe that in order to save the shoulders, wrists and knees we can choose safer alternatives (such as box jump or reverse medicine ball toss) can be performed BUT IN CONJUNCTION with rotational power training. Lastly, you may find yourself working within a limited time frame; so wouldnt you rather spend your time on related baseball training than taking up valuable training time to teach exercises (which may not get mastered) that are unique to the sport of Olympic lifting.
Train Hard. Train Smart.
Go hard in the yard.
- Five Tool Baseball Performance Training (FTBPT) is dedicated to sharing its knowledge, ideas and opinions on baseball performance training based upon field tested experiences as player, coach and baseball strength & conditioning coach. Proper exercise technique ( to ensure effective & efficient training programs) and baseball related movement patterns are implemented to maximize on-field performance. Emphasis is placed on movement based training which integrates multiple muscle groups. This approach has a greater transfer to on-field performance and can minimize the incidence and risk of injury. If a game is being played you can be sure Im watching it from home or from the stands. Many of my own workouts involve designing/creating out-of-the-box exercises & programs to enhance performance and movement unique to baseball