Lateral Chain Stability For Quarterbacks

I recently had a discussion with a group of quarterbacks on some of the common teachings that are out there now around the quarterback position. There’s two teachings that I think are quite unique that are being taught on a regular basis right now. The first is to drag the drive foot and to allow it to trail. The next is to cross the off arm across the chest during the follow through to keep the torso upright. The main reason on why these are being taught is to maintain balance throughout the throwing motion because quarterbacks are “out of control.” Today, we will dive into the main cause that’s causing this imbalance and why development of the lateral chain stabilizers are so extremely important for a quarterback during his motion.

Hip Abductors

Are any of you quarterbacks out there able to take a hitch and throw from the pocket, but once you try to throw in rhythm you become really inaccurate? Don’t worry. You’re not the only one out there. This is one of the many common problems quarterbacks have when they play the position. The reason for this is an inability to control the pelvis in the frontal plane which leads to a compensatory strategy in the trunk to maintain balance over the center of mass. Is this that big of a deal? Yes, it absolutely is! You are only as strong as your weakest link in the chain. This muscle is overlooked a lot of the time. Check out the video below to see what we mean in depth on our breakdown of Dwayne Haskins who presents with this same issue.

Are y’all wondering how you can fix this? Don’t worry, we got you covered! In the video below, we will provide you all the details on how to increase lateral hip stabilization both at low velocity and at high velocity. It’s extremely important to gradually increase the capability to stabilize because if you increase too much too soon, then the benefits won’t be as much.

Internal/External Obliques

These muscles are often very overlooked when talking about the throwing motion, but these are the main rotators of the trunk. There muscles are extremely important for quarterbacks! With quarterbacks being both unilateral and rotational athletes, there is asymmetry most of the time with the quarterback having more strength and stability to the obliques that are on the opposite side of the throwing arm. For example, a right handed quarterback would have stronger obliques on the right side. This is a main example of why quarterbacks would have so much trouble with balance, especially during their follow through. When players are taught to drag their drive foot or keep the off arm across the body after the release point, these mechanisms are acting as false braking systems because of the lack of stability they have in the musculature of the trunk and hips. These false braking systems might improve some efficiency and balance of the body, but it is at the cost of a lot of power translation which decreases velocity on throws. Do you have trouble throwing the deep out or skinny post in rhythm? You can’t drag that back foot!

Below, we have provided a video on how to improve the deceleration capability through the torso which will allow you to brake more efficiently without having to keep the off arm across the body. No more false braking mechanisms. Let’s develop some better capability to control the throwing motion.

Intrinsic Foot Strength/Stabilization

Of all 3 groups of muscles that are mentioned, these are never mentioned in relation to the QB throwing motion. The reason that they are so important is that everything changes in the kinetic chain once the foot hits the ground. If the foot hits the ground and the arch collapses, this will have negative implications for both the hip and the trunk. A lot of times, you will see a quarterback that has sequencing problems in their motion present with a lot of weakness in the muscles of the foot that maintain an arch. Once this cleans up, then everything above the issue cleans up as well. Magic, right? Well, it’s not that easy. Since quarterbacks move in a very specific manner, it is also has to be trained in a very specific manner. Check out the video below to see how we can do that!

Instead of thinking of ways to slow the motion down by decreasing trunk rotation during the follow through and dragging the drive foot after the release of the ball, let’s find ways to control our body under high velocities. These common teachings are just putting a restraint on a player’s ability to reach their full potential. Let’s fix the impairments, not put a bandaid on them. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out. I can be reached by email at drew@theqbdocs.com or by txt/call at 812-343-4226.

-Drew Kiel PT, DPT, CSCS

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