5 Exercises Every QB Can Perform at Home to Increase Performance

The coronavirus has taken the nation by storm the last few weeks and has left a lot of people quarantined in their homes with a great lack of ability to get their training in. This is especially true for you quarterbacks out there who usually train at your schools or local gyms that are now closed for the time being. Not to worry though! We have you covered. Today, we want to give you 5 exercises that anyone can do at home with minimal equipment that will greatly increase performance as a quarterback. Just because you are stuck inside doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to improve your craft. Check this out and get better today!

1. Wall Sit With Alternating Hip Internal Rotation

This is one that Dusty and I have been playing around with for some time now. This is an excellent exercise to use to aid in the development of internal rotation in both hips. We often stress that hip internal rotation is extremely important during the acceleration phase on the drive leg and then on the plant leg during the follow through. Whenever players don’t have this range of motion capability in their hips, then they automatically compensate causing decreased accuracy and velocity on throws. Here’s what we want you to focus on during this exercise.

  • Hips at 90 degrees or slightly above
  • Foot placement slightly wider than shoulders (just like pre pass position)
  • Exhale deeply to feel back go flat against the wall, brace abdomen in that position
  • Keep upper back and head against the wall
  • Alternate legs into internal rotation as seen in the video above
  • Perform 3×12 on each side

This is a great exercise to use to use the musculature needed for this essential movement. A lot of times we will work on mobility for hip internal rotation, but then never follow it up with some exercise to claim this new hip range of motion. This is a great one!

2. Yoga Push Up

This is not just your ordinary push up. This push up is designed to strengthen, but we are also doing so much more than that. When bringing the arms overhead, we are forcing both shoulders to go into full ranges of shoulder flexion and also forcing the thoracic spine to go into full extension. This is all happening while the hips are flexing which is forcing the range of motion through the upper spine and shoulders instead of compensating through low back extension. When bringing the arms overhead, it is important to realize that we are trying to move the shoulder blades upward and outward on the rib cage. This upward rotation of the scapula turns on the serratus anterior which is an essential stabilizer of the shoulder girdle. Here are the steps:

  • Start in a great push up position with rib cage down, glutes on, abdomen on, and chin tucked
  • Lower yourself towards the ground slowly with the elbows 3 inches outside trunk (not pinned against trunk or flared)
  • Once face gets 2 inches off the ground, then drive up while still maintaining neutral trunk position
  • Press Arms into overhead position while exhaling at the same time
  • Focus on driving elbows towards each in full overhead position to fully activate serratus anterior

There’s a lot of bang for your buck with this exercise folks!

3. Turkish Get Up With Shoe Hold

This is one of my favorite exercises of all time, especially for quarterbacks. The turkish get up forces athletes into full ranges of mobility while also having to stabilize and move at those end ranges. It doesn’t get much better than that! For those that are unfamiliar with this exercise, I suggest you watch each sequence of the movement in the video carefully. I will explain the sequencing below:

  1. Start on your back with your right arm towards the ceiling and right knee bent. (right side example)
  2. Come up to the left elbow while looking at your right hand.
  3. Then come up to left hand while still keeping eyes on right hand.
  4. Extend through the hips and swing the left leg through to a kneeling position while still keeping arm vertical.
  5. Once stable, come to a single leg kneeling stance with arm still vertical and eyes now straight ahead, stand up.
  6. Reverse the steps one at a time.

We wanted to have a little fun in the video and make this a little more challenging for y’all. You can see that there is a shoe that is sitting on the top of my hand during the entire exercise. This is to facilitate coordination and stability in the shoulder. This also will cue the athlete to keep the arm in a perfect position the entire time. If the arm moves at all, so will the shoe by falling off the hand. Good stuff! Try this one out!

4. Cossack Squat

If there is one exercise that I wish I would have gotten good at as a youngster, it is this one. Frontal plane strength and stabilization is so important for quarterbacks and that is exactly what this exercise promotes. In this demonstration, you can see that I have my ankles propped up and I have a weight in my hands. I’m standing on plates because my ankle range of motion is extremely poor which causes problems if I were to perform the exercise in just shoes. Many of you will also fall into this bucket. Some won’t. I have the weight in my hands to act as a counterweight so I can sit my butt back easier to try and get depth. Even with this, I still have problems because of the range of motion restrictions I have in my hips and ankles. This is a great variation of the exercise if you are performing this for the first time. If you don’t have the limitations, then I suggest you perform this using body weight. Here are the steps:

  • Get in a position where you are twice as wide as your normal squat stance, toes pointed forward
  • Before you squat, take a deep breath while focusing especially on an extended exhale to set the rib cage and pelvis
  • With your hands out in front, squat towards one side while keeping the other leg completely straight
  • The straight leg is important in that we are trying to also work on hip internal rotation on that leg
  • Once you can get as close as you can to parallel, then stand up and perform on opposite side

If you haven’t performed this before, this is going to be really challenging at first. You will get better at it as you perform more and more. 

5. Side Plank With Shoe Hold

Side planks are always an excellent exercise for quarterbacks. You can perform many different variations of side planks by adding weight, band resistance in a specific direction, or adding some rhythmic stabilization to the body. For this specific exercise, we are going back to our trusty weightlifting shoe again. By having an unstable object on top of the hand, it cues the arm to be in a perfectly vertical position and then be able to hold that position for an extended period of time. This is prime time shoulder proprioception and coordination. Here are some coaching points for the side plank:

  • Foot of top leg needs to be in front
  • Once on elbow, take a deep exhale to set rib cage
  • Never let hips sag towards the ground
  • Keep glutes on entire time

Quarterbacks can never have enough trunk stability. Give this one a try.

Now you have no reason to sit at home and complain about the circumstances that you are in now. From a sets and reps standpoint, I would start with 2-3 sets of everything and gradually build reps/time over the next several weeks. I understand that about 20% of the people that read this will actually perform these exercises, but that’s alright. That’s the 20% who are going to give themselves a chance to be great and the 20% we write articles like this for. The rest of you can sit on the couch and watch Netflix while you pound baked goods. Go get better today quarterbacks. Let us know if you need help with any at home programming. You can reach us through text/call at 812-343-4226 or through email at drew@theqbdocs.com.

-Drew Kiel PT, DPT, CSCS

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