Olympic lifts

Any thoughts on olympic lifts to increase overall athleticism and power as a pitcher ( assuming they’re done with good form)? Exercises like snatch, clean and jerk, and even just power lifts like back squats, deadlifts, etc.

You don’t need cleans, snatches, jerks, etc. to build power. Personally, I would shy away from them. Eric Cressey does a lot better job at explaining why not, but the risk/reward is not nearly as good as it should be, especially when you can create the same power through other methods.

The Olympic Lifts are a good way to gain a base of strength that you can then use to incorporate other explosive exercises. While Olympic lifts are explosive if you do them right, there are many other variations you can do. Our Strength and Conditioning Coach has our strength program based with primary Olympic lifts (Hang Clean, Snatches, etc…) and compliments that with a variety of other lifts and exercises. Overall though, basically every lift or exercise we do is used to increase explosiveness and athleticism.

What about the stress on the writsts and elbows? Baseball already stresses these joints enough.
Another issue with Oly lifts is that they only occur in the saggital plane. Baseball power and explosiveness is not monoplaner, but requires the ability to produce power in all planes. I´m not saying this from a removed perspective either. My college strength coach actively programs Oly lifts into our lifting program. Basically if you can create the same amount of power and explosiveness with other means, you ought to do it. As I said, check out Eric Cressey on the subject.

I’d probably not add the snatch to anyone’s programming, but the power clean is fine. We don’t personally use Olympic lifts that much - unless the athlete is a two-sport kid, in which case cleans are a vital part of both football and field athletics (shot/discus) - but they’re not as good as some people make them out to be (we all know who this is) and they’re not as bad as people make them out to be.

They’re great for developing lower body explosive power in a single plane. Whether or not that’s lacking in your programming or something you need to shore up is an individual decision - adding them to everyone’s program is clearly a mistake.

Kyle do you fee that the power clean is a necessary movement or are other movements just as effective for overall explosiveness?

I’ve got a kid that just can not d power cleans properly, therefore he isn’t allowed to do them.

Yeah, I do agree with the stress on the joints. And honestly with the jerks. I was told right when I went to college that I should stop doing any lifts that require going over my head, so I stopped doing them. Then I transferred, and our S&CC makes us do all sorts of stuff like that. But I can’t really not do them, so I make do.

Olympic lifts are great in my opinion. The problem I see with people lifting this way is that their body isn’t in proper condition to lift. Id first get a proper conditioning program that prepares your body to lift. For instance, I see people doing deadlifts squats and power cleans with belts on. Yes the belt prevents you from getting hernias but it weakens you. The point of deadlifts squats and power cleans is to not only strengthen your legs but your core as well. If you can’t lift without a belt then your core isn’t strong enough to perform the lift or the weight on it. That’s the whole purpose of conditioning. And as far as stress on the joints, power cleans and such are made to strengthen joints if done with proper form. Also lifting just isn’t the only thing to gain athleticism. After strength training you have to turn that new found strength into “functional” strength, meaning being able to put that strength into your sport specific movements. So after lifting you just can’t go into throwing or hitting. You gotta do workouts to allow your body to adjust. You may be able to deadlift 500 pounds but can you put that strength into your swing or throw?

There is nothing wrong with adding olympic lifts to your workout. It is important to have a good form though. With proper technique you should be just fine but poor form increases the chance of injury. I am a strong believer in olympic lifts because they are explosive lifts and pitching as an art is an explosive movement. As always use extreme caution.

There are too many other exercises available to add explosive power. Why take the chance on Olympic lift?
Especially for pitchers. Doesn’t make sense.

I would definitely stay away from any overhead Olympic lifts. Even Olympians sometimes get injured doing these lifts, so there is absolutely a chance you will get injured. Dead lifts and squats on the other hand are very valuable exercises for pitchers. There are plenty of exercises and drills to develop explosiveness that won’t put you at risk of injury, or cause unnecessary stress to your upper body.