The Premier Baseball Social Network for Players, Coaches, Scouts, and Umpires

Weightlifting and Baseball Training. Where and When does it fit in?

Coaches - I need some professional advice. My son is a High School Junior, who has performed well enough in the Showcase events that he's addended that he's begun hearing from some pretty nice Div.1 Baseball programs. He plays middle infield for his HS team as well as being what some consider a candidate for the closing pitcher role. His team has a year round practice/game routine that they just completed and are now ready to play their first season opener this week. Part of their off season routine was to do a fair amount of weightlifting a couple times a week, right up until two weeks ago.

Here's my situation; Two weeks ago, the field practice was called off due to rain. Instead the Coach decided to have them go into the gym and workout and test their "Max" lifts. One of the lifts they had to perform was the "power clean". My son is 165 lbs and was attempting to lift 195lbs for max. In the process of attempting to complete this lift he ended up seriously injuring a ligament in his hand. He can no longer grip a bat without experiencing intense pain when he swings. We've seen a hand specialist, and have had an MRI done as recent as yesterday. We're still trying to find a way to reduce the pain.

My Questions: Why would a strength coach have a baseball player doing "power cleans". - What is the benefit? - Why would you do this sort of "max lift" two weeks before opening day? - What articles are out there that address Weight Training and Baseball, that I can read, so as to understand WHY? It doesn't make sense to me.

Bottom Line: my son is now hurt bad enough, that they have to DH for him. For how long.. we won't know till we find a treatment. He is emotionally distraught for fear that these colleges that are recruiting him will now turn away.

Consequences: If this sort of weightlifting exercise is deemed inappropriate for this time of season, or for the sport, how do I handle it with his coach and strength coach?

Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

Coach Mark Przybylak

Views: 782

Comment by Mike Greene on March 3, 2010 at 10:32pm
Mark, I can pass on an experience that I went through with my son. He was a B+ player and signed with a smaller school to play in college. He was a pitcher and outfielder. During his freshman year he got involved with the team's weight training program. He did not lift much during HS because his coach did not really believe much in weights for baseball players. They did a lot of natural body weight work, situps, pushups, crunches, etc. He got into the weight room at school and the next thing you know, his baseball career is done. He tore his shoulder up lifting moderate weights and that was it.

I have seen 4 HS players that have had the same thing happen to them in the past 3 years. 2 shoulders, 1 back and 1 blown knee. Weights and baseball are not a great mix. There are too many other types of strength training that do not involve making muscles bigger and yet will make them stronger. Tell the coach that if he wants body builders he should switch to football.
Comment by Michael on March 4, 2010 at 11:50pm
Mark, I am sorry to here about this incident. I have some journals about various types of lifting for baseball players. As a former professional we lifted during spring training, right before the season started. We lifted during the season as well.
Your son had a misinformed coach.
Comment by Mark Przybylak on March 5, 2010 at 1:01am
Michael - was any of your lifting done as "max" and was there ever a need for Power Cleans above your head? I know that lifting is important to build strength, but how heavy and what exercise? I really would like to choose to be part of the "solution" and come up with a better training program to suggest to his coach, rather than become part of the problem and just flat out crucify him. Any input you share is appreciated! Thanks!
Comment by Michael on March 5, 2010 at 1:14pm
I "maxed" out in HS, but that was the last time I ever "maxed out". Unless it was for show. Now many coaches require a max to get the correct % for weights on certain lifting days. However, I estimate a max based on number of reps at a certain weight. There are plenty of "max" estimates based on reps online, I have used them and there is really no need to max.
Now we (and myself) would lift heavy but that was during our off season. Now I have a workout program that I have used with my HS and college players and honestly some want to go heavy and some do not. It depends on the athlete and how the feel during the season. I have a 4x a week lifting program and we just work around game days, but we have a light day which is sets of 15 reps and strength days. During my pro career we did 3 x 10 every 3rd day with a full body workout, that was to maintain our strength. The key is what is your goal for the it to maintain which is for most. The use of no weights which we incorportated at times as bodyweight circuits very intense in a very short time period 20 minutes max maybe 30 depending on the athlete.
But the big olympic lifts cleans, snatch, jerks really should be left for the off season and with close supervision.
Comment by Joel Wetherell on March 11, 2010 at 4:17pm
Maybe it was the football coach that day?

Ok. I'm not an expert here, but this story is unbelievable. Sorry to hear about your son. Strength training is fine off-season. It builds extra muscle mass that protects the joints from stress, and can improve flexibility depending on the technique. Preseason and in-season should be light weight and high reps, but combined with stretching. Did this coach make sure the players were sufficently warm prior to lifting? I just don't understand how testing max dead lift relates to performance on the field - especially at the HS level.
Comment by Anthony Fruhling on March 12, 2010 at 4:27pm
I agree with some points made here and disagree with others. I'm about to finish a certification program to become a personal trainer. When you "max" out it's easier to determine strength levels for various workout programs. In HS and college we lifted year round with a baseball specific program. We would "max" once a month. Most weightlifting injuries occur due to improper motions during the exercise. The amount of weight will not hurt you if you lift it properly. I'm not saying your son was purposely doing it wrong but possibly on that particular lift something wasn't right mechanically and injury occurred. This same thing could have happened throwing the ball on the field. You can't blame the coach for every single injury. Even MLB players lift weights during the season.
Comment by Anthony Fruhling on March 12, 2010 at 4:29pm
Also to let you know power cleans are used to build strength and explosiveness in your muscles.
Comment by Michael on March 14, 2010 at 9:32pm
It seems like the coach just had a lack of knowledge and could only figure out lifting % based a max. Again, if you do not have the knowledge you put your athletes at a great risk. As Mark has stated. In the years I have played as a professional and all the years I have trained athletes.....the top level trainers and athletes rarely max. Again, it sounds like the coach did not teach proper mechanics of the lift. This happens with inexperience individuals/coaches with Olympic lifts, a high volume of athletes (needing to be trained), and coaches hearing that certain lifts have to be done by the athletes. When it comes to lifting there is a huge lack of supervision....especially at the HS level and some collegiate levels.
Comment by Andy Shaw on March 22, 2010 at 12:41pm
As some one who has done a lot of weight training in the past (you wouldn't think it now) I know that doing max powerlift as you mentioned with out training specially to do lifts like this is not a good idea as it put excessive strain on the ligaments and tendons. Heavy heavy lifting like that should be built up to like a power lifter would so that the ligaments and tendons become stronger as well and techniques can be perfected to reduce the chance of injury.
The one rep max can be calculated from say 10 rep weights. so i don't see the point of the heavy lifting in this case for ball players.
Good articles for weight training for baseball can be found on www,bodybuilding,com
Comment by Justin Tillinghast on October 3, 2018 at 3:50pm

As a sports scientist BS and MSc I can tell you that most high schools are not equipped with strength coaches, rather they have physical therapists or athletic trainers who are.  Most personal trainers, PT's, or ATC's do have a fundamental knowledge of strength training HOWEVER, this is a complex lift that requires proper instruction to be done properly.  An Olympic lift is usually learned using PVC pipe and then transitioned into light weights until the athelte can prove that they can handle a weighted exercise.  These types of explosive lifts are meant to increase explosiveness and power and are great exercises.  Max lifts are fine as benchmarks if the athelte is conditioned and has a good foundation leading up to the lifts.  Mobility is key in baseball so avoiding things that decrease mobility should be avoided.  Body weight exercises and functional training are fine both in and out of season.  Just because someone puts a workout online that says it is good for baseball I would stay away from it.  Take a look at Cressey Performance.  Eric is a world class strength coach who works primarily with overhand throwing athletes and is known throughout MLB as the go to source.  Thanks.


You need to be a member of CheckSwing to add comments!

Join CheckSwing

Get Your CheckSwing Badge !





© 2019   Created by Kyle Grucci.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

--> \ua!-- G +1 All Pages Above Sign-In\ud\ud-->