Rotational power is essential for athletes to create maximal speed using their stick and bat. Resistance bands are great to train rotational strength and speed for sport-specific movements. You still need to work on movements like squats, presses, and pulls because they serve as the base’s foundation. Power is transferred into rotational movements. However, resistance bands are very versatile. You can attach them to basically anything and simulate and train sport-specific movements effectively. They are so effective that they feel more connected to your body and core when you attach them to your stick, bat, or arm.
Primary Muscles Trained
The primary muscles trained and affected by rotational movements are the rectus abdominus (your 6 pack abs in the center) and your obliques, the long muscles on the side of the 6-pack abdominals. The abs in the center of your body need to stabilize first before your obliques, to rotate correctly, especially with fast rotations. So, training one without the other is not advisable.
The oblique muscles have many functions. They bend the torso side to side, rotate the torso left to right and vice-versa, and create anti-rotational resistance to stabilize the spine. When standing or sitting, the abdominals and obliques act as stabilizers.
Rotational Training Benefits
Rotation is not just about training the obliques. There is a sequential pattern that occurs in sport-specific movements. If you are sitting and you turn and rotate to see who is beside you, you will use just spinal rotation. But, when in action, it is a different story. When you turn your spine/torso during the game, you are using your hip to generate power, not just your torso. The resistance band offers a great unique advantage here.
You can affect your rotation’s stretching and loading phases and power phases more effectively by using the resistance band attached to your bat or stick. The faster you can move into the stretching phase of your movement, the faster and more powerful you can throw or rotate your body.
Also, you can develop and train stability to produce more control of your movements.
Torso Rotational Training With Resistance Bands Benefits
Improve spine stability and mobility.
Improve your posture.
Increase the range the spine/torso can rotate.
Decreased the potential and possible risk of injury.
Improved stability will relieve any back pain or tension.
Improve athletic strength and performance.
Enhance your overall core strength.
Improve the balance of sport-specific movements.
Strengthen the connection of your hip and core throw rotational body movements.
Poor Core Engagement
Not engaging the core leads to poor core stability. And, poor core stability increases force on your spine. This is especially bad when performing spine/torso rotation movements. Tightening and stabilizing your core abdominal muscles is important to generate and transfer force and rotate properly. So, it must be done correctly to generate and maximize high levels of force through movement. And, at the same time, prevent injury from those forces being generated.
If your core muscles are not activated, even when doing squats and presses, this will develop back pain somehow.
Effective Torso Rotation
Torso rotation is not so big of a movement. Trunk rotation, in the beginning, should be slow, controlled, and small. Rotation of 45 degrees is perfect. As you develop stability and strength, more range of motion will occur. Rotate within your appropriate range of motion first. Stability is key in order to develop more range and mobility. Trying to move into an excessive range of motion will not develop stability and cause poor movement.
The goal is not to rotate maximally side to side. The goal is to gain control of the motion using the correct musculature. And this is why doing movements slow in the beginning will activate and stimulate the correct muscles before applying speed. Speed movements do not train the body effectively like slow movements do. Speed is the effect of trained slow movements.
Practice engaging your core by tightening your abdominals. Think about bracing your abdominals while sitting or standing. Or, when training, brace to stabilize your core and spine, then rotate and move. This will help develop awareness as well as control and stability for effective spine/torso rotation.
Try it. Sitting or standing, just slowly rotate your spine/torso side-to-side a few times. Now, brace or crunch your abdominals and again slowly rotate side-to-side. Big difference in activation!
When performing movements, never compensate your body position or biomechanics. If the tension is too much to complete the movement, change the tension. Never sacrifice good form, alignment, and/or stability to exert speed and explosiveness. This is how you will become more prone to strain or injury.
The best way to train rotation for your sport is by loading your movements. This will create the best and correct movement pattern and strategy for your muscles to stabilize, stretch, and contract. Using machines will not offer you a massive benefit like using bodyweight, resistance bands, or even dumbbells.
For more information about strength and speed, you can refer to my book, Instant Strength.
For more information about breathing and alignment, you can refer to my book, The Balanced Body.