Rotation is one of the foundations of human movement and sports performance. From throwing a punch (or kick), to throwing a ball, to swinging a baseball bat, golf club or tennis racquet. So, improving one’s rotational power will certainly enhance performance in any rotational oriented activities.
In this post I’m going to share two keys for improving rotational power, and the top three rotary power training exercises used in the Performance U training approach to helping clients and athletes develop the power to rotate like the Tazmanian Devil!
The Two Keys to Building Rotational Power
According to a 2012 article published in the Strength & Conditioning Journal, “Because sequential kinetic linking plays such a vital role in rotational power, fundamental exercises that enhance trunk and core strength are essential for success. Furthermore, ground reaction forces generated by the large muscles of the lower body provide a base of support to transfer kinetic energy through the core, resulting in a more powerful kinetic link.”
In short, if you want to improve rotational power, the two keys are to to improve your lower body strength and core strength.
Our Top 3 Specific Rotational Power-Building Exercises
In addition to using general core exercises and exercises like Deadlift variations, Squats, Lunge variations and hip thrusts, jumps and bounds, etc. to strength the legs and hips and to improve lower-body power; the Performance U training approach utilizes the three rotational exercise applications shown in the video below. These three rotary power exercises are what we’d classify as specific exercises, as they have a specific transfer into improving your ability to generate rotational force at high speeds because they’re based on the principle of Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands (S.A.I.D.). The S.A.I.D. principle is also known as the principle of specificity.
According to Dr. Everett Harman in the reference book for the NSCA, “Essentials of Strength & Conditioning”: “The concept of specificity, widely recognized in the field of resistance training, holds that training is most effective when resistance exercises are similar to the sport activity in which improvement is sought (the target activity).”
“The simplest and most straightforward way to implement the principle of specificity is to select exercise similar to the target activity with regard to the joints about which movement occur and the direction of the movements. In addition, joints ranges of motion in the training should be at least as great as those in the target activity.”
Essentially, the principle of specificity tells us the adaptations to training will be specific to the demands the training puts on the body. In other words, you’ll get better at doing rotational activities by using exercises that require you to either create and control rotational forces.
The following are our top three ways to work on improving specific force generation patterns (e.g., rotational power), which transfer into target movements (e.g., specific sports like golf, tennis, baseball or combat)!
1. Developing Power to Turn. Frank J. Spaniol, EdD. NSCA Strength & Conditioning Journal. Vol.34, #6. Dec 2012.
2. Essentials of Strength & Conditioning, 3rd Edition. Edited by Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle. NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association. Human Kinetics. Copyright 2008