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Another coach and I were talking during the football period today while the kids were lifting and he had a theory that I thought I would throw out there and see what the thoughts of people more knowledgeable than us were. His idea was if a kid was benching (please don't turn this into a baseball players shouldn't bench discussion!!), if you nudged one end of the bar to get him off balance a little, that the little muscles around the shoulder and chest would have to kick in to help re stabilize the bar. Thoughts?
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I wouldn't do it. While stability would be great and all that, depending on how you do it you could easily injure somebody. There really aren't that many "little muscles" around the shoulder like there are other joints. Sure, there are quite a few muscles there (the rotator cuff is 4/5 depending on who you ask!) but there are other ways to work those..

Also, I wouldn't consider "stability" to neccessarily be a major issue in the shoulder as much as in say the ankles and hips.

what your coach is trying to incorporate is an incredibly beneficial training module called Imperfect Training.

Quote from a great John Davies article:


"Imperfect training means no machine training and no isolation movements. Bands are imperfect; training in grass or sand is imperfect; pushing a wheelbarrow is imperfect. Perfect training only works in the perfect world, which doesn't exist.

Nonconforming objects are another example of imperfection training. Try performing power cleans with sandbags.

Many laboratory studies involving training and sports are flawed because they're done perfectly in a perfect environment. Sport isn't a perfect environment so the value of these studies is limited.

Although Davies is often criticized for his opinions on imperfection training, he says that everyone is starting to incorporate these ideas. Right now there are equipment makers about to come out with squat racks and benches that have a slight wobble to them. Davies predicts that many of his critics will end up paying $4000 for this equipment.

The "dive start power clean" is an example of imperfect training. To perform, stand in front of a barbell. Ask someone to clap their hands. When you hear the clap, grab the bar without looking down and fire up a power clean. Don't take the time to set your hand position perfectly. You can even close your eyes when performing this exercise. The claps should come randomly and surprise you."

My view on this-You should not be able to nudge the bar, because the bar should be moving to fast for you to touch it. How do you swing? fast and controlled. how should bench press be performed for maximal force production? Fast and controlled.

I am not going to go into force production and baseball weightlifting, you can pm me if you would like to know more.

Now, onto stabilization

Stabilization, especially in the shoulder capsule and core(no not abs), is a completely underlooked and sometimes untouched aspect of weight training in most baseball programs. Shoulder and core stability is crucial for a baseball player for the following reasons[LIST]

throwing velocity

generating power in the mid section

injury prevention

fixing muscular imbalances

correcting posture

Ways to train this
-Overhead squats
-Walking Figure 8's
-hand stand
-Turkish get up (preferably barbell)
-Corkscrew and Windmill
- Core holds(especially the bridge)

incorporate those, I would stop what your doing, even if you dont agree on the bar speed issue.

If he insists on it, try bench pressing on a stability ball with dumbells.

Good luck

There are certain ways
Freak accident.

Sure buy a burst proof one.

Who cares.

I am pretty sure that nudging someone while they are using heavy weight(especially on the bench press that strains the throwing muscles already)
is a little more to worry about injury wise than working out on a stability ball.

In my profession-to-be ignoring a "freak accident" like this is just waiting for a lawsuit. In fact, I'm pretty sure there was talk of a lawsuit in this specific case.

And as for the original post about the "nudging the weights," you may want to look to see that I was the first one to make that a major no-no.

Overhead Figure 8

Hold two dumbbells overhead with the elbows locked and walk in a figure eight pattern. The length of the pattern should be approximately four meters each way (about 13 feet). The elbows stay locked and the arms remain overhead throughout (keep the palms facing forward).

The figure eight pattern increases the instability of this exercise. Just holding two dumbbells up overhead isn't very challenging, but if you walk in this pattern, all of the rotator cuff muscles have to fire to stabilize the load. Therefore, it becomes a rotator cuff exercise that challenges the muscles in more than one plane.
I am a highschool baseball player (catcher) and have always been interested in weight training for sport development and specifically for baseball. I have studied countless programs and instructors, both online and books.

From these studies I concluded that Jon Doyle provided the most functional information, stuff that really applied to baseball. If you have purchased any of his products, I am sure you understand.

I also feel that Renegade training provides awesome techniques used by the best athletes in the world. By no means am i associated with either of the two, i have just seen what their methods have done to my athletic performance and baseball performance.

As for actual baseball, I have had personal contact and lessons with Jaeger Sports and Steve Englishbey.

This summer i am training with API and i cant wait for that...

Anyways, If you have any questions about my actual training beliefs and methods, feel free to ask me, and i will go into detail about it.

As for practical experiance, theres not much to say accept that I am really into training, train 5-6 days a week in the offseason (three lifting days focused on olympic style movements and force production, followed by medicine ball and core(real core) active recovery and rotational axis training days.

If you would like, I can post a sample workout of mine on here...
Good discussion; to which I would add these thoughts:

I would argue that "nudging" during benching with any appreciable weight would have limited practical effect for the tremendous risk. Not the least of which because the ability to "stabilize" when the spine is presumably pressed to the bench and therefore unable to move would completely isolate the shoulders. Further, the maximum stress point (the most difficult part) of this effort would be when the weight was most off center (and the shoulders are most vulnerable). No good could come from that.

Also, absolutely agree with BD19. If you are using stability balls, make sure they are tested for burst resuistance. Seen 'em blow up; it's just smart.

Finally, one of the best shoulder stabilization exercises I can suggest probably looks the easiest, but it is, arguably, one of the most difficult. Get two well inflated stability balls (easier on your wrists), put your feet on a bench, and do pushups with your hands on each. Great chest and shoulder workout!
I like your enthusiasm for your training and I especially like your willingeness to investigate and research training methodologies. I would suggest, however, to you and to anyone considering the Figure 8 exercise (and certainly anyone who does a lot of overhand throwing like our folks here) that they start (and stay) fairly light on this exercise. Biomechanically, the "ball and socket" of the shoulder allows the joint a great deal of mobility; the tradeoff, of course, is that it is fairly fragile (as joints go). This exercise would likely put in a fairly weak position so caution is warranted.
Last edited by Ole Ball Coach
Try loading the bar with kettlebells as opposed to plates.

The swaying produced by the kettlebells extended center of mass will exagerate the imperfect path the bar is travelling and teach the athlete to create a much more vertical bar path.

Remember the shortest distance bewteen to point is a straight line.

Alongside better benching technique you will also challenge the rotator cuff ability to create balanced tension.

work with 40% of the athletes 1RM and try to perform 5 Reps.

Keep me posted if you decide to use it! Smile

Ash Allen - Personal Trainer - Amsterdam

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