Yesterday I spoke to a 17-year old baseball player who’s been lifting weights for the past couple years in order to improve his performance.
He’s been stuck, so his father hooked him up with me in the hopes of making him a better, bigger, stronger, faster player.
At first the boy was resistant. He’d bought into the silly idea that weight training is the key to athletic success, regardless of the sport.
And being he’s surrounded by weights and people espousing the glories of them everywhere he goes, it’s only natural for him to “buy into” the “it must be right because everyone else is doing it” mentality.
Anyway, I taught the boy a series of bodyweight exercises that are NOT in Combat Conditioning (but will be in a forthcoming book). I didn’t tell him to stop lifting weights. I just left that topic alone.
Well, waddya know?
The boy went from deadlifting 315 pounds wherein he thought he might hurt himself (due to lack of flexibility), to an easy 425-pound deadlift, with no fear.
Now, I never bothered telling the boy that deadlifts are far and away the WORST exercise you can do to improve your baseball. Same goes for tennis, golf, or any other coiling action sport.
If you play a coiling action sport, what in the hell are you thinking when you prescribe push-pull exercises? It’s the dumbest, most insane prescription I’ve ever heard or seen.
Years ago I was sitting in a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, in between rounds of the Arnold Classic. At the table with me were a few other notables, one of whom was a world champion kick boxer. Another was a fitness author who proudly proclaimed, “Deadlifts are the very best single exercise anyone can ever do.”
I turned to the world champion and asked him if he’d ever done any deadlifts.
“Never,” he said.
“Then how’d you generate the power to knock people out?” I continued.
“A kick is a whip,” he replied. “It’s not a deadlift.”
My Cheshire Cat grin can still be seen on the walls in that restaurant, me thinks.
A kick is a whip. So simple. So true.
It’s coiling action at its finest.
But the “old stuff” is out-dated.
Bring in the ‘roid boy trainers who’ve never thrown a pass, ball or javelin (at least not well); who’ve never hit a golf ball square, much less a tennis ball or ping pong ball; who’ve never knocked someone on his ass with a punch, kick or slap.
Meanwhile, el Furecat sits around watching the rate of injured athletes accelerate, especially injuries to the tendons and ligaments.
It’s scary stuff.
Yet, when most people look back at all their serious injuries, it’s hard to find one of them to a muscle.
So tell me, how you going to prevent injuries to tendons and ligaments? By building your muscles?
That’s not going to do it, my friend. It’s not going to do it.
In fact, the more you shorten and tighten the muscles, the MORE likely you are to cause injuries to the tendons when playing a sport BECAUSE you tightened the tendons, too.
Hmmm, I’ll be dawg-goned.
Here endeth the lesson.
P.S. By the way, the exercises I taught the ballplayer, in total, took him five minutes a day in the beginning. Now he spends 10-15 minutes. He’s throwing and hitting the ball harder than ever, too. Just imagine what would happen if he gave up the deadlifts.