Exercises a Quarterback Can Do to Improve His Throwing Arm

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A quarterback’s throwing arm is his main asset. In addition to strength, a quarterback needs flexibility, speed and accuracy. To improve your throwing arm, create workouts for muscle building, muscular endurance and speed, and train differently throughout the year.

Training Phases

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Muscle-building workouts require different loads than muscular endurance workouts. Speed-training exercises take place at a higher intensity than strength or power drills. Work on strength during the off-season. Emphasize muscular endurance two months before your season begins. The month before your first game, focus on quickness exercises.

Muscle Building

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Build your throwing arm with biceps curls, kneeling rows, pushups, chair dips and chinups, which help work the front of your upper arm and shoulder. Perform triceps extensions, kickbacks, pullups and bench dips to work the back of your upper arm. Use arm raises to build your forearms. Use heavy weight loads and perform three to five reps on one exercise per set. After a break, do two or three more sets of the same exercise before you move to a new one. For biceps curls, raise the weight slowly, hold it for two seconds, then lower it slowly, stopping before your arm is completely straight. Not completing the downlift all the way makes you use muscular effort to slow and stop and provides a more beneficial muscle contraction. Hold a dumbbell behind your back, between your shoulder blades, then raise it up and turn our forearm outward so your palm faces forward. This mimics the pronation that occurs during a throw.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance helps you use your arm for the duration of a game with less fatigue, including cramping. Use the same exercises you used for muscle building, but use roughly 50 percent of your maximum weight or effort so you can perform more reps. Do approximately 12 reps on one exercise, take a one-minute break, then begin reps of a different exercise. Create a 30-minute circuit training workout using different exercises each circuit, or repeat several exercises, but not in a row.

Speed Training

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Using weights lighter or heavier than a football will help train your central nervous system to work faster than normal, according to Richard Schonborn, former chief coach of the German Tennis Federation. Use a lightweight football, such as a foam ball, and throw six long passes. Immediately begin throwing a regulation-size football, throwing six passes. After your throw the light ball, your nervous system will be set to resist a lighter weight and will use more muscle speed to throw that light weight. This effect only lasts for a limited number of throws. Repeat this progression three times. Use a 2- or 3-pound medicine ball and throw it using the same motion you use to pass a football. You can use your second hand to help balance the ball as you throw it. Perform six throws, then begin throwing a regulation football. Your nervous system will be set to resist the heavier weight and use more power to move your muscles. Repeat this drill three times per practices.

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