Rotational power is one of the most important physical attributes when it comes to athletic performance. That being said it is very difficult physical attributes to train and requires some rather specific exercises to be trained successfully. Let’s look at five different exercises you can use to improve your rotational power.
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So many different styles of sport rely on rotational power. From more obvious examples like the discuss and shot put, to other examples like contact sports e.g Rugby, American Football, and Judo. Rotational power involves a rotation of the trunk, with the power being transferred from the lower body to the upper body with the core musculature in the middle allowing for this transfer to take place. Training rotational power by using the examples as seen in this list, will enable better athletic performance for sports where rotational power is a key physiological element.
Having the general ability to transfer power from your lower body to your upper body is important in day to day life. Obviously, we are very rarely performing at maximal output in our daily lives, but being able to move through all planes of motion with a high degree of movement virtuosity will always put you in a better position when it comes to health.
Rotational power, to be generated, requires an individual have both a strong and powerful lower body. This will enable you to generate the power we talk about when we discuss rotational power. Next, a strong and robust core musculature is required, one that can move consistently through the rotation movement pattern with load. Finally a strong and stable upper body, there can be no missing link in the chain, all three must be strong and capable.
This means that in order to generate effective rotational power you will need a strong lower body, upper body and core musculature. In this exercise list I will just provide exercises that increase rotational power using core exercises, you will be able to find plenty of lower body and upper body movements to use in our extensive movement library.
The landmine full contact twists is one of the best exercises for training rotational power and one of the movements that best replicates movements that we see in many contact sports. Make sure that you have a competent skill level in all movement patterns before attempting this exercise as it does require technical precision. It needs to be performed with speed, with the lower body generating the power and then using the muscles of the core to rotate and transfer the power to the upper body.
Kettlebell circles are a great way to work on rotational power. They are slightly simpler than the landmine full contact twists, but still require good hand eye co-ordination. They need to be practiced with a light weight to ensure technique is mastered prior to using heavier weights.
The DB Crush Grip Cross Chop is a brilliant exercise for people of all abilities to work on their rotational power. Due to its lack of technical difficulty, it can be done effectively by both beginners and advanced individuals alike. It allows us to put emphasis on physical progression rather than technique. It needs to be performed with power and speed in order to work on rotational power.
The Half kneeling banded diagonal chop is another great beginner friendly exercise that will allow for the development of rotational power. I prescribe this exercise often and to great effect. It not only develops rotational power, but when the eccentric phase of the movement is performed slowly it develops rotational power in conjunction with allowing for progression in resisting rotation.
The standing twist is a great way to build rotational power. Although the technique is exceptionally simple, it should be reserved for more advanced individuals as it requires higher levels of physical preparedness than a lot of the other exercises. If this is the first time performing this exercise, do not over do it on the weight selection as it can be tough on the lower back and the muscles of the trunk.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.