Why Baseball Players Shouldn’t Bench Press
I’ve been keeping this article in my back pocket for a while now because I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to approach writing it. Lets be honest: talking smack about the beloved bench press is the fitness equivalent of talking smack about Princess Diana or worse, kittens.
You just don’t do it!
To save face, though, let me be clear up front: I LOVE the bench press. Well, let me back track a little bit. From a personal standpoint I freaking hate the bench press.
I’m an admittedly horrible bencher (god awful in fact), and if it came down to choosing between bench pressing or tossing my body in front of a mack truck, I’d seriously consider the latter.
Every time I look at my program and see the words “bench press” written down this is pretty much my standard reaction:
Temper tantrums aside, I do recognize that the bench press is an important strength building (and for those more aesthetically minded individuals reading, chest building) exercise. I think we can all agree that the bench press is a super star and is one of the staple exercises behind any well-rounded program.
But is it for everyone?
One of the more common questions we receive at Cressey Performance when people come in to observe is:
Tony, why do you coach with your shirt off? Tony, how come you don’t allow your baseball guys to bench press?
It’s a loaded question, but one that can be answered relatively easily.
I’m of the mindset that there aren’t many contraindicated exercises (you can generally find a legitimate and appropriate use for any exercise. Yes, even if done on a BOSU ball), as there are contraindicated lifters!
For me bench pressing and baseball don’t mix – for a variety of reasons – and there are plenty of other exercises we can use in lieu of the bench press to elicit a training effect.
In this article I wrote for Stack.com I explain my rationale on both fronts: