Why I Don't Have Baseball Players Hang Clean

I know this is a highly debatable topic but I wanted to get on the record with my OPINION! I have two main reasons why I steer clear of the hang clean with baseball players…

Reason #1 - Concern for wrist, elbow and shoulder health of baseball players. 

Like many coaches who work with a large amount of baseball players, I see my fair share of athletes who have wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries or history of injury.  I also have seen my share of athletes develop cranky wrists, elbow and shoulders from the classic weightlifting style front rack position.   I recognize baseball players are already susceptible at these specific joints due to their sport and want to protect these areas of their body during training, not open them up to further damage.  My first and most important rule with regards to all the athletes I get the chance to train…Do No Harm!  Injuries are not acceptable in the weight room!


Reason #2 - Hang Cleans Are Not Plane-Specific Enough To Be Emphasized 

Hang cleans are a movement that take place exclusively in the sagittal plane, where as most baseball movements take place in the frontal and transverse planes.  Even though I don’t believe all exercises an athlete trains in the weight room have to mimic movements they do in their sport exclusively, as a performance coach, I want my athletes doing exercises & movements that will give them the most bang for their buck.   If I have the choice between hang cleans and a speed skater with trunk rotation (frontal plane) or a high intent rotational throw (transverse plane), I will pick the latter movements every time.  Squats, lunges, sprints, and vertical jumps still have a place in a complete training program, but they are not always the best predictors of baseball performance.  With a finite amount of time to train, it is crucial that the exercises prescribed for the athletes are exactly what they need!


Research Articles Discussing Plane Specificity:

“Correlation of Throwing Velocity to the Results of Lower-Body Field Tests in Male College Baseball Players”

“Relationship Between Vertical Jump Force and Pitching Velocity”