Great post by my good friend Adam Brush

Just so we’re on the same page, baseball is a rotational sport. So while recently looking over a collegiate baseball summer training program I couldn’t help but notice Olympic lifts were included. Really?
Olympic lifting is a sport in and of itself that includes lifts such as the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. These lifts require a tremendous amount of technique and demand a high level of skill specific to the sport of Olympic lifting.
So why are these movements/exercises finding their way into the world of baseball training? I know, I know Olympic lifts can create powerful hips; and they do…in the sagittal plane of motion – which is not the motion dominated in baseball. Baseball is dominated thru the transverse/rotational plane. I’ll say it again – from hitting, throwing and running – baseball is a rotational sport requiring rotational power training.
Structurally, Olympic lifts can create abnormal and high levels of joint stress – particularly thru the shoulders and wrists- (let’s not forget about the shear force that can be placed on the knees). I think we would all agree that the knees, shoulders and wrists are rather important to a ball player, and we wouldn’t want to risk an off-season injury.
I’m not against Olympic lifts – I MIGHT incorporate them(MAYBE) if an athlete has a good base and understanding of Olympic lifting. However, I haven’t seen too many baseball players having exposure, or even master these lifts. Therefore I ask myself how important is it to teach and incorporate a potentially “risky” movement in order to develop sagittal plane hip power when baseball is dominated by rotational hip power. In other words what’s the reward:risk ratio?
Now, Im not saying we shouldnt do any sagittal plane power training. I just believe that in order to save the shoulders, wrists and knees a safer alternative, such as box jumps, can be performedBUT IN CONJUNCTION with rotational power training. Furthermore, you may find that you are working with limited time so wouldnt you rather spend your time training for baseball than teaching exercises specific to the sport of Olympic lifting.
Go hard in the yard.

Life is a sport,

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and dont forget to rotate!)


  1. Josh says:

    Interesting article at our gym we have olympic lifting for our athletes who train for baseball as well as other sports. Some of the reasons we do these lifts is to engage the fast twitch muslces and explosvie movements.

    Other reasons why we do them is that they are full body exercises. While I think you have a great point as far as a rotational plane I think that explosive power is extremely important in baseball.

    Thanks for the great article, although we have different perspectives I like that you have thought out your side

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