Monday, June 09, 2008
To Train Rotation, Resist Rotation
Common wisdom in the modern gym goes, that to train for sports that include an element of rotation like golf, you must perform rotational strength elements. This is just a fancy way of saying that performing seated cable torso twists is a useful exercise to build rotational power.
This is wrong.
Nearly every sport that has significant trunk rotation as a movement element develops that rotation from the hips downward. That is, significant rotation occurs starting at the ground. The implication of this is that in order to effectively transfer the twisting/rotary forces from the hips to the trunk, the muscles of the torso have to be able to effectively RESIST the rotation happening below. Otherwise, the hips would clearly turn and the shoulders would not.
Rotational strength then, comes from being able to apply a solid isometric force at the trunk that effectively captures the potential energy from the rotating hips below. The quality of this isometric force equates to the quality and effectiveness of the transmission between wheels and engine.
We have found that the best way to develop rotational prowess is to actually have our athletes resist active rotation as in the single arm dumbell swing above. Universally training to resist rotation instead of actually performing rotational training develops better integrated, more powerful athletes. (IE. you don't have to perform cable wood chops to hit the tennis ball harder) And this applies to side rotation too. Pull ups and overhead squats appear to magically dissipate bike sway during climbing for example.
There is merit in developing torso rotational speed. Throwing a light four pound medicine ball for speed can help develop twisting quickness and futher develop that twisting motor pathway. Just be sure to keep it light and fast.
And don't confuse integrated trunk power with swinging a very heavy bat, or seated cable twists.
at 11:01 PM