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Three exercises to strengthen your throwing shoulder

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With the recent rule changes to the game of football favoring the offense, a quarterback's ability to throw the football effectively and accurately is at a premium. Developing shoulder strength must be a consistent component of any quarterback's midseason and offseason training regime. Strengthening the small, but mighty, muscles that sit around your upper arm bone (humerus) like a "cuff on a shirt" are critical!

This article will show and explain three integral exercises to develop power and strength in the throwing shoulder. These exercises can also be utilized by any other position players to improve the dynamic health of their shoulders.

(Fig-1) - Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton demonstrates The Internal Rotation exercise.
(Fig-1) - Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton demonstrates The Internal Rotation exercise.

1) The Internal Rotation exercise -- The exercise in Figure 1 focuses on strengthening the specific shoulder muscles that help rotate the arm inward while throwing a football. To perform the exercise, simply grab the end of a band or pulley handle and move your hand inward toward your midsection, before returning to the starting position. Attempt this exercise for three sets of 10 repetitions in a controlled and smooth manner.

(Fig-2) - Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton executes the External Rotation exercise.
(Fig-2) - Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton executes the External Rotation exercise.

2) The External Rotation exercise -- Figure 2 is the opposite motion of an internal rotation exercise. In this drill, rotate the cord or pulley outward or away from your midsection, and then return to the starting position next to your midsection. Remember to stay relaxed in your upper boday, and not to "hike" your neck and trapezius muscles when performing this exercise. Execute this movement in a controlled and rhythmic manner for three sets of 10 repetitions.

(Fig-3) - Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton performs the Follow Through exercise.
(Fig-3) - Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton performs the Follow Through exercise.

3)The Follow Through exercise -- In this exercise, as demonstrated in Figure 3, position your feet as if you were throwing a football. Then with the resistance band in a low position, raise your hand upward and backwards as if you were about to throw the football. Your hand should be near your cheak before returning to the starting position. Repeat this motion slow and under control for three sets of 10 reps.

So many times in the weight room, the "sexier" exercises like the bench press or bicep curls get emphasized and the important rotator cuff exercises are overlooked. The rotator cuff muscles are crucial for the health and performance for the throwing athlete. They are still important to any player on the football field, because they help keep the bones in the shoulder in a optimal position, which translate to more explosive upper body strength. So don't neglect these small, but important muscles.

-Brett Fischer is a licensed physical therapist, certified athletic trainer, certified strength and conditioning specialist and a certified dry needling provider. He has worked with the University of Florida, New York Jets, PGA; Senior PGA TOUR and the Chicago Cubs.

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