Saturday, May 15, 2010

Whats wrong with that exercise?

I have been doing a little surfing in the last few weeks and am astounded by what I see. Baseball is natoriace for banning exercises that “will harm baseball players”, but what is the science behind it, what is the reason for the negativity towards the exercise. In many cases an isolated incident may have contributed to an injury and all of a sudden we can’t use the exercise any more. That is ridiculous and such small thinking that it is no wonder that so many players seek outside help, and in many of those cases find trainers that really don’t know what they are doing. I firmly believe that there are few exercises that athletes should not perform, but is all instances the player must be evaluated and cleared before doing any exercise program or exercise. A great example of an exercise I love but in many cases is done wrong especially in the lower levels of baseball is the Clean. What a great exercise, the player gets work in all parts of the body, in multiple disciplines, (power, strength, balance), but if the exercise is done wrong it can become one of the most dangerous exercise for an athlete to perform.
An exercise that gets a bad name in baseball is the bench press, but why? Iv heard it all, It hurts the rotator cuff, it causes the humerus to compress into the shoulder joint which causes pinching of the bursa, we get enough chest work while playing so we don’t need to do chest work, and this just names a few. What a bunch of hog wash, can these things happen, well yes, but that does not mean it will happen with every player and in most cases will never happen in most players. The question comes back to, just because it happened to one player does not mean it will happen to all players. Let’s free our minds and have the ability to be professionals. In many cases that trainer that says no benching, has his players doing DB bench press, really, yah that’s a lot different, and in some cases can even be more dangerous, but since the DB bench is “open chain” it must be ok. Come on wake up and learn the mechanics of the body.
Enough ranting and raving, I could go on and on with many different exercises, but what’s the point. We need to step away and decide if we are here to increase the players’ performance or sell an idea or program. Realize that not every exercise is right for a player but being able to identify the players’ needs and then prescribing a program that can help them get to the level they want is the goal. Take a minute and look at the exercise you use and realize that there are many ways to reach a goal and the player is the most important part of the equation.

Brian Niswender, MA, CSCS
Warrior Sports Training

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