Developing Rotational Power II: Key Exercises for Sports Success

Have you ever attempted to throw a ball or swing a bat/club/racket without turning your hips during the movement? This would limit your ability to produce power for accomplishing your goal. Rotational power production is the key ingredient in developing many athletic abilities. Not only does it efficiently create power for use but it minimizes the strain placed upon the arms and legs to produce an equivalent amount of force. This in turn creates an optimal full body transfer in energy while minimizing the chances of injury. To best generate this type of power and body control, an athlete must make a concerted effort on exercises which focus on hips and core explosive movements. The following post will list and describe exercises which best allow an athlete to accomplish these goals.

Two exercises which facilitate the use of the core and hips in an explosive manner are centered around medicine ball use. Medicine balls are great tools for these drills as they are meant to be thrown around and slammed, thus allowing an individual the ability to store and release energy in a powerful movement.

The first medicine ball exercise is a horizontal medicine ball toss with a focus on keeping the back leg loaded. This would best be done by an athlete holding the ball near their belly button and striding slightly towards the wall, while exploding open with the hips and throwing the ball. Throughout the movement the athlete should maintain their weight on their back leg and attempt to hit the middle of the wall. This is very similar to the loading pattern in a baseball swing.

The next medicine ball drill is my personal favourite as it focuses on a strong medicine ball slam but with the twist of it being done with the athlete on one leg. The athlete will hold a ball at belly button height with two hands. While holding the ball, the athlete then balances on a single leg and extends the ball overhead while pivoting and then exploding through the core and slamming the ball to the opposite side of the single leg. This cause the athlete to not only work on explosive power but on maintaining dynamic balance on the single leg.

The last exercise I utilize to build rotational power incorporates the use of cable or bands. While down in a “back knee on the ground” lunge position, the athlete holds a cable/band in one hand which is attached out infront of the athlete, and another in the other hand which is positioned behind the athlete. This is to create a push/pull type movement, in which the athlete pulls the band which is out in front with one hand to chest while pushing the band forward which is behind them. To get the full benefit of the workout the patient must not only push/pull with the arms but also rotate the hips to facilitate as much rotation as possible.

These exercises are only basics to which individuals can modify and adapt to better replicate movements in the specific sport in which they play. The key to sports specific training is building up strength, speed and stability in movements which best sync up with movements produced during competition.


For more details on how to best build a sports specific training regimen for optimizing your abilities, or recover from an injury, do not hesitate to contact us at Honsberger Physio+.

Kulraj Shergill, MScPT, ATC, CSCS, PTS, NWS

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