Improving Rotational Power In Throwing Athletes

Force*Distance/Time=Power

To make a jumble of words and characters make sense, strength * speed = power.

Most strength coaches and ATs assess this equation with the stereotypical "Let's Get Stronger" Attitude - I agree! But, after we get an athlete strong in the off-season, how do we continue to make him faster, more dynamic, and more precise?

Below are some of my go-to exercises for throwing athletes to care for all parts of increasing power.

Chops

These are typically diagonal movements, with arms long and coming across the body at a high velocity. These can be done with cables, bands, medicine balls, dumbbells, landmines, etc. 

Medicine Ball Drives & Slams

Medicine balls belong to the family of ballistic movements, which is aimed at increasing power output. We can almost exactly mimic things like pitching, throwing and overhead hitting with medicine balls, even down to the foot position. Of course, even though most throwing athletes only use one arm, we need to train both sides to get the most benefit. 

Medicine Ball Drills Demo Video

Hang Cleans

Many throwing athletes, especially baseball players, shy away from the Olympic Lifting all together. I disagree to some extent - the hang power clean can be extremely helpful for improving whole-body strength and speed (power, heyyy!). This is most beneficial in the off-season. 

Core Training

Core does not equal abs. The core encompasses everything that keeps us upright; glutes/hips, back and abs. Training these muscle groups through rotation and anti-rotation movements keeps the foundation for our ability to move strong!

QL Walks Demo Video
Quadruped Hold Demo Video

Breathing

Learning how to breathe deeply and on time can be extremely beneficial for all types of power production. Lying breathing exercises, such as 90/90 and slow-paced breathing, can help an athlete become aware of how and where they breathe, making adjustments as needed. Move on to active exercises, until they can breathe in pattern with their movements. 

It's holistic.

For best results, power training should be combined with whole-body strength training, mobility and flexibility work to prevent injury and improve movement, psychological skills training, vision training, and sport-specific drills. Don't forget that the lower body can massively impact the upper body's power; learning correct foot and hip positions is also vital - make sure to work with your sport coach on that, or film yourself as you drill.

What are your favourite exercises for throwing athletes?