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 Baseball Performance & Injury Prevention Training
 Bench Press vs Push up
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Posted - 08/13/2018 :  07:42:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In the current training era, itís pretty widely accepted that barbell bench press variations arenít recommended in populations required to throw. Before I even start, however, this is not a knock at the bench press. The bench press is a hallmark strength training exercise as old as time, and is arguably the best exercise for general upper body development. Iím simply saying that for a baseball player, it may not be the most valuable exercise prescription. Among many reasons (different coaches will have different philosophies) the bench press may not be the best choice because the loss of range of motion at the shoulder. Proper bench press technique requires the shoulder blades to be locked down and therefore immobile on the rib cage. Additionally, added bulk and activity at the muscles used to bench press can cause a loss of range of motion at the shoulder, particularly internal rotation. Put simply: the adaptations required to bench press high volumes require the athlete to use ďnon throwing friendlyĒ patterns. There are endless dumbbell and kettle bell pressing variations, both of which we use quite frequently for training. I just want to give credit to a highly under rated exercise!

Enter the push up. The push up is also as old as time and is an EXCELLENT way to develop the upper body. Some added benefits are, serratus anterior recruitment, scapulo-thoracic movement, scapulo-humeral rhythm, anterior core recruitment, and potentially several other qualities that ARE friendly to baseball players. (Translation: you get an important shoulder blade muscle, your shoulder blades get to move in sync with your arms, and you get abs! Oh, and you get really strong.)

Here are 3 push up variations you can do anywhere. **Side note: the traditional push up should be done REALLY well before these progressions are introduced** All passwords are: Rapidvideo

The yoga push up is a 2:1 special. You get strength development as well as mobility work. This variation is a great way to get in overhead movement, as the shoulder blades rotate up with the arms. Additionally this drill can be prescribed to tone down cranky calves, hamstrings, and lats. Reach through the floor!


The spider-man push up is extremely challenging and requires a tremendous amount of core and upper body strength to do correctly. This drill is great to induce rotation at the trunk, a critical movement component for throwers.


Slide Board Push ups are one of the most challenging push up progressions because they require such a tremendous amount of both strength and control. This variation biases one sideís strength as the other goes into an overhead position, which requires tons of shoulder stability and strength. The overhead position trains the shoulder blade to follow the arm, which is a natural process in throwing. Be careful with this one as it should only be attempted in those who have a strong push up foundation and do not have known shoulder injuries.


We hope this is helpful! Have a great week, and as always feel free to comment with questions or topic requests!

All the best,

The Rapid Team

Andrew Gordon, MS, CSCS
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