Thursday, March 5, 2015

5 exercises to build rotational power for spring sports

As winter winds down, spring sports are not far from starting.   Are you ready for your sport?  Whether you play baseball, lacrosse, golf, soccer or tennis, all require three things:  mobility, core strength and rotational power.  All of these sports require a person to maintain their balance while delivering a powerful kick, throw or swing, so having good stability will also be key.  

Here are five exercises that will help you build more rotational power to better prepare you for the demands of these sports and help improve your performance on the field.

Look for this article to also appear in the BendOR Magazine in this month's issue; due to be on stands Mach 9th.

1.       Med Ball Side Lunge with Twists - This is a great exercise for strengthening the glutes, obliques, inner thigh and mid-back muscles that come into play during the rotational movements.

·         Hold a medicine ball at chest height in front of you with your arms extended 
·         Feet should be shoulder width apart in a good athletic stance
·         Lunge to the left and at the same time explosively rotate the ball to the left
·         Step your right foot to the left and bring the ball back to the start position
·         Perform 8-10 reps on each side

2.       Half- Kneeling Rotational Cable Chops – This exercise works the hips, core, wrists, triceps and shoulders.  It trains your abdominal muscles to work in conjunction with your lower back and hip muscles leading to more rotational power during a throw or swing.
·         Attach a rope to a high setting on a cable machine
·         Begin in a half-kneeling position facing sideways to the machine, the outside knee down and your inside foot down
·         Hold the rope with palms down and hands shoulder width apart
·         Engage your abdominals and squeeze your glutes to create stability
·         In one motion, turn hips and shoulders away from the machine as you pull the rope to your chest and then push it down and away from your body
·         Keep your chest up and shoulder blades pulled back
·         Focus on using good form before increasing the weight
·         Perform 12-15 reps each side

3.       Single Leg RDL to Clean and Press – A favorite exercise of mine, (also used in the January Issue of BendOR magazine) this exercise trains the upper and lower body to develop stability.  It also helps build strength and power.  In this exercise your core muscles will be working to resist rotation, which can give you more control during rotation and lead to a more powerful shot, throw, or kick.
·         Maintain slight bend in the knee with the foot on the ground, and lift the other foot off the ground.
·         With a Kettlebell or Dumbbell in the same hand as the leg on the ground, perform a Single Leg Deadlift; hinging at the hips with a slight bend in knee and maintaining a flat back.
·         Swing the opposite leg through, clean the weight up to shoulder level, and then press overhead.
·         Start with a light weight (10-20lbs.) and increase as your stability improves
·         Perform 5 reps on each side

4.       TRX Standing Y,W’s – This is a great exercise that addresses the deltoids, upper back muscles,  and the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders to help build stability and reduce injury.  Any sport involving a high velocity throwing or swinging movement will require these muscles to decelerate the arm. 
With these two movements, you can alternate back and forth between the “Y” and “W” or do all reps for the Y and then all reps of the W.
·         Grab handles of TRX Suspension Trainer with palms down and lean back at a 45 degree angle with arms extended.
·         Feet should be shoulder width apart
·         Pinch your shoulder blades together and down (shoulders away from the ears)
·         While keeping your body and arms straight, exhale and pull the arms overhead in the position of a “Y”.
·         Lower the arms slowly to the starting position.
·         Start in the same position as the TRX “Y”
·         While keeping the body straight, exhale and rotate your shoulders back forming a 90 degree angle with the elbows and shoulder and forming a “W”.
·         Slowly lower back to starting position
·         Perform 8-10 reps of each movement

5.       TRX Flutters – This is a great exercise for any throwing sport as it helps to strengthen the shoulder muscles that help prevent rotator cuff injuries.  Your core muscles will also be on fire as they must work to support the spine to keep you in a balanced position.
·         Hold the TRX handles in front of your chest and face away from the anchor point.
·         Lean your body forward at a 45 degree or more angle
·         Feet can be shoulder with apart, or to make it more challenging, together
·         Keeping your core muscles engaged and your body in a straight line, move your right hand straight up and your left hand straight down simultaneously.
·         Continue to alternate back and forth without letting your hands flare out to the sides
·         Start with short strokes and progress to longer strokes as you become more efficient with the exercise.
·         Perform 8-10 reps on each arm


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