Sunday, November 27, 2016

Exercises in the Weight Room that Should Not Be Implemented in Baseball

When training athletes in the weight room, generally you are looking to make them bigger, faster, and stronger overall. However, when training overhead athletes there are common exercises that should not be incorporated, because they are not sport specific to baseball. If you incorrectly over-train certain areas of the body, you are setting your athletes up for several different shoulder issues, which can quickly result in injuries further up and down the kinetic chain. Even though there are several exercises that shouldn’t be incorporated in a baseball player’s strength training program, we will discuss exercises that I personally think are two of the worst exercises you could prescribe an overhead athlete.
Barbell Shrugs
Shrugs are generally a bad exercise to prescribe anyone outside of body building, but they absolutely have no place in an overhead athlete’s training regimen. Generally, the upper trap is worked plenty in lifts such as deadlift, farmers walks, step-ups, and virtually any exercise that requires you to hold weight by your side. Thus, the upper traps are never weak.1 Your upper traps and the shrugging movement have no crossover to baseball. There is no movement that you will perform as an overhead athlete which requires to have excessively strong upper traps. Furthermore, when making your upper traps excessively strong, you create rounded shoulders and muscle inefficiency in the posterior chain. Having overactive upper traps, as previously discussed in our Upper Cross Syndrome blog, anteriorly translates the scapula on the thoracic cage. This translation causes the rotator cuff to work in a stretched and non-optimal position, creating inflammation that can lead to impingement, and if not corrected, possible tears or labral pathology. Overactive upper traps also create inefficient lower traps and serratus anterior, due to their weak and inhibited state. This group of muscles are extremely important in proper scapulohumeral rhythm, which goes hand in hand with optimal movement. As a substitution for shrugs in the weight room, focusing on posterior chain muscle activation should be incorporated with exercises such as prone Y’s.1

Upright Rows
When performing upright rows to strengthen the anterior deltoid and upper traps, you internally rotate your shoulder to raise the weight. This limits and puts stress on the subacromial space in which the rotator cuff moves, thus essentially creating impingement in the shoulder with each repetition.2 Excessively recreating this impingement will lead to inflammation of the rotator cuff, resulting in pain and drops in velocity, while threatening to create rotator cuff tears and labral pathology.

1Cammarota, ATC, MEd, CSCS, CES, B. (2015, February 18). Three exercises baseball players should NOT do. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from

2Womack on May 14, 2014 at 7:36pm View Blog, A. (2014, May 14). 3 Exercises That Baseball Players Should Avoid. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from


  1. I think this article is very informative. It goes to show not every exercise is appropriate. It all depends on what the athlete wants to accomplish. I really enjoyed the article

  2. Great topic to discuss. I believe this is a topic that should be discussed more. This knowledge could make all the difference in an overhead athlete.