Off Season Workouts, College Edition

It’s been a busy summer to say the least (hence, I haven’t written a blog since the year of The Rat), so apologies up front for being MIA. Today’s topic has me fired up, so let’s get right into it.

On Monday, I had a college baseball player come in for his initial assessment. By the time we finished, I was blown away with the results I saw with his upper body. Long story short, he had 95 degrees of total rotation in his throwing shoulder, to which I began asking questions. It went a little something like this…

Me: So what’s a normal work week like for you guys in the gym?

Player: Monday – Chest, Tuesday – Legs, Thursday – Back/Chest, Friday – Legs.

Me: Oh, so we’re still doing things like I did in college when I blew my shoulder out doing football workouts?

Player: Yep.

Me: I’ll be over here smashing my face against this wall, see you in 5!

Okay, so I didn’t smash my face against the wall, but that’s what it felt like. Here’s a kid playing in a major conference in college baseball and he’s stuck in a situation where he has to go to the weight room and lift like he’s trying to make the football team. Unfortunately, as we know, football workouts don’t jive with baseball players. Let’s look at their off season workout routine…

Monday – Chest: Red flag out of the gate. As baseball players, you all need to worry about your back more than your chest. On top of that, never get under the bench. I mean for christ’s sake, I was told when I was 16 (I’m now 27, 28 October 1st if you’re thinking about sending me a gift, just sayin’), as a baseball player, you should never bench. We’re talking 11 years ago here people. How is it that baseball players at major college institutions are still getting under the bar and pressing it??? THERE’S SCIENTIFIC PROOF THAT 1) PUSH UPS AND 2) DUMBBELL PRESSES, ARE HEALTHIER FOR THE SHOULDER THAN THE BENCH! If you’re a college coach reading this and you don’t take the bench press out of the programming for your players, don’t be surprised when guys go down with arm problems. Bench press only hurts your players, so stop doing it!!!

Tuesday – Legs: From what I gathered, squats are the big lift. I like it, we squat, but we’ll also front squat a lot. I like front squats a lot better for baseball guys due to the core stabilization that fires during the lift. It also keeps the shoulders from being retracted with a heavy load, so we’ll go back and forth to keep balance in the programs throughout the off season. Beyond the squat, step ups are thrown in, which is fine. Beyond that, absolutely ZERO single leg work is thrown in. No forward, walking, side, or reverse lunges. No single leg squats. No Bulgarian split squats. How are guys supposed to stabilize their hips and glutes??? Those are two pretty demanding parts of the body when you’re on the diamond. Get on the single leg work.

Thursday – Back/Chest: I’m digging the fact that back is heavily involved during the Thursday lift. The thing that sucks is that chest work finds it’s way back into the program. By the time the week is over, these players have achieved more chest work then back work. You spend most of the year throwing, hitting, or fielding to the front side of your body. To take that a step further, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player throw, hit, or field to the back side of his body unless he’s making Sportscenter’s top plays. Doing more front side work than back side work is detrimental at best. Spend more time on the back than you do on the front and you’ll get healthier, more balanced players.

Friday – Legs: See Tuesday.

That’s my rant for the day. Before I finish this off, let me say that not everyone is doing this, but I’m pretty close to what’s going on. The bottom line is this…Most college strength coaches/head coaches in baseball need to get their act together. The information on how to train the baseball population is just a google search away. You want a National Championship? Get with The Program…


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