I received a question the other day about cleans and whether or not its an ideal movement for baseball players especially pitchers because of the stress placed upon the elbow/wrist joints. I'm a strong advocate of cleans for overall explosiveness and power development.However, I wanted to get everyone else's viewpoint regarding this movement.
I would contend that baseball is a sport where downward vertical force absorption is not critical. So what does a full catch-clean provide that a clean pull does not? Coming from a guy that has no problem doing the full catch with infield/outfielders.
MLB now has Pitch Smart (m.mlb.com/pitchsmart) with guidelines to help reduce injuries.
Perfect article. Olympic lifting is one of the more safe movements that can be performed, because it goes through an entire range of motion. Limiting joint motion is the reason individuals get hurt.
Joey Guzzo said:
Just some food for thought..
How many pro pitchers do cleans, snatches etc? Can you show any studies on pitchers? If these exercises are so great for pitchers why don't ML organizations do them? Is there transfer to rotational sport? Eric Cressey just said in an interview with Mark Watts that he doesn't have people do them - and mentioned valgus on elbow etc with pitchers. Considering all the TJ surgeries etc. is the risk worth taking? Again, where are the studies on baseball pitchers? Science should have data right? Where's the sport science on baseball pitchers? How would you implement with starters, mid relievers, closers for off, pre, in-season including throwing schedules? Can you get benefits (i.e., triple extension) with med ball scoop or over the back throws without the risks? Would you catch and rack cleans etc. with pitchers/baseball players and why?
I like the idea of it coming down to risk/reward and the athlete population that is being worked with. Take a young high school kid, where power and strength development are generally easier to achieve due to body maturation anyways, would the benefits of cleaning (power development, among others) outweigh the risks (joint stress, improper mechanics while learning the exercise, overexertion with resistance)? What about a professional pitcher, with a big dollar figure contract? Cleaning undoubtedly is proven to improve power and strength in athletes, but I would argue that there are safer, more applicable modalities to apply to baseball players that alleviate the potential drawbacks of cleaning.