If you are reading this then you probably have an interest in sports performance or fitness in general, and if you have an interest in fitness then you’ve probably heard the saying that goes something like this: “Every exercise is a bad exercise when it is done incorrectly.” Yeah, yeah, big whoop Austin that’s pretty much common sense. Well today I am here to tell you that, for specific populations, some exercises are bad EVEN when they are done correctly. For this article I’m going to focus on baseball players.
It seems like every time I turn on ESPN they are talking about a different pitcher who has to get Tommy John surgery. Just the other day Marlins’ stud Jose Fernandez was diagnosed with a torn UCL and is out for the season. I could go on and on about why I think so many pitchers are needing TJ surgery these days, but I’ll save that topic for a different blog. I do want to say though that I believe these injuries are chronic issues and not simply acute injuries. I believe in most cases UCL injuries come from years of stress placed on the elbow through throwing/pitching and improper strength training. With that being said, let’s break down these 3 exercises that ALL baseball players should avoid.
1. Tricep Dips
Tricep dips are commonly done one of two ways, either by doing them with hands on a bench or by using one of those dips-handle-machine-thingys. Both variations are harmful to your shoulder health.
There are plenty of other ways to strengthen the triceps without putting the shoulders in a harmful position. Also, I argue that baseball players don’t need to do any direct bicep or tricep work and that they should get enough bi/tri work through heavy chin ups/heavy pressing exercises. So basically, ditch the dips = save your shoulders!
2. Upright Row
I talked a little about shoulder impingement in my last blog about the sleeper stretch (which you can read HERE) and I’m going to talk about it again. While performing the upright row (especially the barbell variation) you are putting yourself in an extremely vulnerable position for shoulder impingement. When you do this exercise and your hands are gripping the barbell your humerus is fixed into internal rotation.
Strength and conditioning programs are designed to improve performance. Injury prevention is, I believe, an extremely overlooked aspect of strength and conditioning. Instead of performing upright rows try this exercise: standing DB lateral raise w/ external rotation (thumbs up).
3. Empty Can
I usually see this exercise performed where the athlete performs a standing DB front raise and then at the top of the movement internally rotate (pretend to dump the contents out of a can).
In closing, performing these exercises might not hurt you right away, but the stress that is placed on your shoulders while doing these exercises will add up over time. For long-term health and better performance on the baseball field I highly recommend eliminating these exercises from your strength and conditioning program. Like I said before, strength and conditioning programs are supposed to help you, not hurt you. If you liked the information I presented in this blog feel free to leave a comment or tweet me at @AustinWomack12. Shout out to Collin Radack for taking pictures of me. Oh and lastly, my goal is to bring back the phrase “big whoop.” Seriously, why don’t we use that phrase anymore?? It’s an awesome phrase.