Quarterback-specific strength training exercises are a great addition to the weight training program you’re currently doing. This workout is designed to help you link your entire body together for stronger, more accurate throws.
If you lift four days a week, do two of these exercises after every workout, starting with very light weight and building up. Remember, for every one push motion, a quarterback should do a minimum of two pull motions. Focus on form, and you’ll start seeing real results on the field.
Remember, never sacrifice quality for quantity. Throughout each lift in the QB workout, concentrate on perfect form every single rep.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Press
Lie flat on the bench with a dumbbell in one hand. Slowly lower the weight down to your chest and fire it back up. Keep your back tight by pinching your shoulder blades together to widen the distance between your shoulder and ear. If you feel this in your core, on the side opposite of the working arm, you are doing it right!
Sets/Reps: 3×15 each arm
Purpose: Chances are you don’t throw with both arms. The Single-Arm Dumbbell Press keeps the two sides of the body balanced. It also helps engage the core during the throwing motion.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
Lower into a quarter-squat and lean forward, making a 45-degree angle. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and raise it to your chest by driving your elbow to the sky. Freeze the dumbbell at its highest point, then slowly lower it (four seconds down) before beginning the next rep. Like the Single-Arm Dumbbell Press, you should feel this in your core, opposite the working arm.
Sets/Reps: 3×15 each arm
Purpose: Throwing is a push motion. This exercise counterbalances that with a pull motion to help keep the body equal. The single-arm movement forces the body to stay stabilized.
Lunge Rotational Twist
Assume the lunge position. Your forward shin should be perpendicular to the floor and your back shin should be parallel to the floor. Staying in that position, grab two light dumbbells (no more than eight pounds each). Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle. Slowly rotate your torso 90 degrees to the left and 90 degrees to the right. Keep your head still by always looking straight ahead. And keep a straight line from elbow to elbow.
Sets/Reps: 2×8 each leg
Purpose: This exercise improves throwing motion by strengthening the legs in a split-stance position, helps with shoulder stability and develops rotational torso strength/flexibility.
Back “Y” Raises
Lie on your stomach on an incline bench. Align the midline of your chest to the top of the bench. With lightweight dumbbells in each hand, raise the weight to form a “Y” with your body. Be sure to keep your back arched and chest lifted off the bench. Raise the weight up, freeze at the top, then slowly lower the weight back down.
Purpose: Keeps the back and the shoulders strong to reduce the shoulder/elbow wear and tear that occurs throughout a season.
Get on your hands and knees with a dumbbell behind your knee. Squeeze the dumbbell with your hamstring to lock it in place. Raise the knee up to the sky. Keep moving knee aligned with opposite knee. Be sure to keep your hips parallel to the floor when raising the dumbbell. Pause the dumbbell at the highest point, and slowly lower it down. Start with bodyweight first and progress to ankle weights or dumbbells.
Sets/Reps: 3×15 each leg
Purpose: Strengthens the outer hips. A strong throw needs to come not only from the upper body, but also from the legs and hips.
Side Isometric Wall Push
Find a wall or a pole. Put your right leg forward and keep your left leg back. Press your left forearm flat to the wall or pole, forming a right angle with your elbow and armpit. Using your torso, press your forearm/wrist into the wall as hard as you can. Switch your feet and do the other arm.
Sets/Reps: 2×30 seconds each side
Purpose: Builds strength at the body position just before the ball release point.
Dumbbell Back Fly
Get in a Push-Up position with a dumbbell in each hand. Drive your elbow up, keeping it close to the body. Then, while keeping your eyes on the dumbbell, raise it up to the sky. At the top position, there should be a straight line from hand to hand. Don’t open up your hips, and keep them parallel to the floor. Alternate arms.
Sets/Reps: 3×10 each arm
Purpose: Builds rotational strength and flexibility while strengthening the back muscles used to decelerate the arm once the ball is released.
Lie on the bench with your right hand on the ground. Put a towel between your body and your left elbow. Place a dumbbell (no heavier than eight pounds) in your left hand. Squeeze the towel into your body throughout the exercise and raise the dumbbell upward. Keep your elbow at a 90-degree angle.
Sets/Reps: 2×15 each arm
Purpose: Keeps the shoulders strong and healthy.
J.R. Niklos is the owner of Acceleration Sports Performance, located near Chicago. He has helped more than 500 high school athletes develop into Division I college players. He is a former All-American football player at Western Illinois and a veteran of the NFL. At 6’3” and 240 pounds, Niklos ran a 4.48 40-Yard Dash and had a 42-inch vertical. For more information on his company, visit accelerationpro.com or facebook.com/accelerationpro.