Throwing Arm Exercises for Football Players

football player throwing a football

On many football teams, the quarterback’s right -- or occasionally left -- arm is the primary offensive weapon. As the quarterback, it’s your job to take care of that arm, to keep it healthy, and to strengthen it as much as possible. As a football player, you have a variety of exercises at your disposal to help build your arm strength so you can pass your team to victory.


Performing dynamic arm stretches, such as horizontal arm swings, or shoulder and arm circles, will loosen your muscles before a workout. Do static stretches after your workouts to improve your long-term flexibility. To perform a door stretch, stand straight in an open doorway and position your arms against the surrounding door frame or wall, at 45-degree angles to the floor. Engage your abs and lean forward until you feel the stretch in your shoulders and upper chest. Repeat the stretch while holding your upper arms parallel with the floor, and while setting them at about 135 degrees, so your body forms a Y-shape. Stretch your rotator cuff by standing erect, squeezing your shoulder blades together, then reaching your throwing arm across the front of your chest. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.

Medicine Ball Exercises

Sometimes throwing a different type of ball can help improve your football throwing. Tossing a medicine ball, for example, can strengthen your arms, shoulders, plus other muscles that help you throw the ball. Medicine ball chest passes target your triceps while working all of your arm joints. Hold the ball with two hands in front of your chest and pass the ball to a training partner by extending your arms forward. Work your shoulder and other arm joints, plus your core, by doing overhead throws. Assume a staggered stance and flex your knees slightly. Hold the medicine ball behind your head with your throwing arm, then throw the ball forward. Do the exercise with a partner or bounce the ball off of a sturdy wall.

Weight Training

Weight training is essential for strengthening your throwing arm. Do specialized arm exercises at the end of every regular workout. Work both of your arms to avoid muscle imbalances. For example, you can perform dumbbell presses and rows. Do dumbbell presses by lying face up on a bench, holding a dumbbell against your upper chest and pressing it straight up. Perform rows by holding a dumbbell next to your hip with your knees flexed, your torso leaning forward and your elbow bent at a right angle. Lower the weight straight down until your arm is extended, then lift it to the starting position.

Rotator Cuff Exercises

The major shoulder muscles are the three deltoids, but the smaller rotator cuff muscles also do plenty of work and are at risk for an injury if they’re significantly weaker than your delts. Use a light hand weight -- no more than 5 pounds -- to work your rotator cuff. To rotate your shoulder externally, lie on your left side and hold the weight in front of your left hip with your right hand. With your palm facing your body and your elbow bent at a right angle, rotate your shoulder to lift the weight up and over your body with your forearm while your upper arm remains in place, parallel with the floor. Do an internal rotation exercise by lying on your right side with your upper right arm against your chest and your forearm extended in front of you, holding the hand weight. Lift the weight up and toward your body by rotating your shoulder and keeping your right upper arm in place. Do the exercises with both arms.