It's Okay To Bench!

Well, sometimes...

Image result for olympic bench pressWith the advent of smart, sport specific baseball training and conditioning, some athletes and their parents have taken the message of Eric Cressey et. al out of context.

The bench press has plenty of potential for putting the shoulder at risk. It is also a technically simple and effective way to build upper body size and strength.

Is it okay for baseball players to bench press? I think Cressey himself would tell you that it depends. The best we can do is answer the question in the consideration of a given athlete.
- - - - -

Is the baseball player going to bench press two or three times per week? Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is National Bench Press Holiday for all the gym bros who love them some bench. This is unnecessary and may lead to development of imbalance and overload to the shoulders.

Is the athlete already bench pressing three hundred pounds for reps? He is already in a place called "strong enough" and as a baseball player, should invest his time elsewhere.

Has the baseball players put in many seasons as a pitcher and developed adaptive changes to the shoulder (like anterior shoulder joint laxity and torsion of the humeral shaft)? Bench pressing is not best for this athlete.

Is the athlete already being paid millions of dollars to pitch? In this case the potential benefits of bench pressing are not worth the risk of injury.

- - - - -

Is the athlete generally free of shoulder issues and sporadically using the bench press as a part of an overall strength training program?

Is the baseball player in desperate need of gaining five or thirty pounds in order to improve overall performance?

Is the athlete going to keep things in perspective, NOT hyperextending his back and using a super wide grip and massive hip drive in order to move 15% more weight on the bar?

- - - - -

Most young baseball position players fall into the latter group of scenarios listed here. They have much to benefit from using the bench press as part of an overall training program. Many collegiate and higher level pitchers will fall into the former group and should likely cool it on the bench.

No comments:

Post a Comment