Baseball strength training is a double-edged sword. It is important for increasing throwing velocity, but when done incorrectly, it can cause serious shoulder damage. Because of this, many coaches debate what exercises baseball players should be doing and how heavy they should lift on those exercises. One of these often debated baseball strength training exercises is the bench press. Few exercises can match its' development of the upper body, but it can also do a number on the shoulders. For baseball players that want the strength benefits of the bench press, without the achy shoulder, here are three shoulder-friendly alternatives to the bench press.
1. Landmine Press
The landmine press is an exercise that should be included in every baseball player's strength training program. The great thing about this exercise is the fact that the motion is not fixed, which makes it much easier on the shoulder. A secondary benefit is the amount of serratus anterior recruitment that is involved with the motion - a major muscle responsible for scapula and shoulder stability.
2. Chain Push Up
For many experienced baseball players, a simple push up is not enough resistance to cause a proper training effect. For these individuals, adding chains to the exercises keeps it shoulder-friendly, while also creating a training effect similar to the bench press.
3. Suspension Push Up
Another way to increase the difficulty of a push up is to elevate the feet of the athlete. By also adding in a suspension trainer, you have the recipe for a very challenging exercise, even for experienced athletes. By using a suspension trainer, there is also the added shoulder stability element that is not involved with most pressing exercises.