Reasons for kneeling torso rotation exercises


A biomechanics expert I am not!

However, can some explain to me why my sport coaches (and everyone else) want to do med ball rotation tosses into a wall from a one knee up position?

Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to complete these exercises standing?

Any research/literature you can point me to would be appreciated…

If they insist too that the movement take place in the lumbar spine to recruit more the obliques, fire those idiots bastard RIGHT FUCKING NOW, each vertebra in the lumbar spine have 2degres of rotation, how to create an injury 101.

"Sahrmann goes on to note a key fact that I believe has been overlooked in the performance field. “The overall range of lumbar rotation is …approx 13 degrees. The rotation between each segment from T10 to L5 is 2 degrees. The greatest rotational range is between L5 and S1, which is 5 degrees…” tested with injured patient, but vast majority of studies Is with injured patient anyway…

Do those exercises while standing side to the wall and explosed while rotation ALL YOUR BODY (TWISTING BOTH FEET FROM DE GROUND like in baseball).

Not sure If I understand properly your one knee up position, If Its from the standing position (like a freeze Askip) that would be even more dangerous that combine stress to the knee ligaments.

Lateral tibial rotation stress the collateral ligaments (If you injure the internal collateral your gonna also injure the internal meniscal capsule).
Medial tibial rotation stress the anterior and posterior cruciate ligament.

Thanks for the quick reply.

I may not have explained this properly. Here’s a youtube example:


Fire those idiots part 2

never do any power exercises while in an unstable position

If It’s the way the video present (into a wall) Its a lot less dangerous than I first explained, but you’ll have to have a wall that’s not too far, 13 degrees of rotation Is not that much…the position Is somewhat unstable too…

I much prefer the standing side to wall version




Thanks again

The whole concept of the one kneed rotation (as in the video I posted above) seems relatively worthless to me. In sports such as baseball, football, golf, the hips should rotate (in hitting so the belly button faces the pitcher)…so why work on keeping the hips closed? Add to that the idea of putting your knee on the ground and twisting seems not good - especially with the sloppy technique I see - kids rotating way more than the 13 degrees you mentioned earlier.

I will research more into this, so I have a pile of data to throw at the sport coaches…

Yeah kids are sloppy and don’t control their movement properly, this is a high risk exercise for them, and I would qualify a controlled risk for an advanced that know exactly what he should do and control the movement properly.

In no way that exercise style can lead to more performance transfer than the standing version…PERIOD

As long as there is proper rotation of the hips (30 degrees) then the rotational exercises are safe.

Make sure the hips rotate and the lumbar spine will keep within its range of motion.

These exercises are a staple for our QBs and other athletes in the form of a shot-put throw (1st video).

I always emphasize hip extension and make sure the execution is proper. We have many different variations that are performed but the key is to make the spine, hips, knees and ankles work in a synergistic fashion that is orthopedically safe.

We also do not use more than a 12lb ball (usually 6-8lb).

Also, this has been discussed previously on the forum, oscillatory isometric exercises (in the form of medicine ball perturbations) are a great way to train the spine, hip and oblique musculature in an aerobic, extensive nature (2nd video).



Another version of the shot-put throw.


Edit: I’ll add some more rotational special exercises that I will be using with our QBs in the summer once I film them in the coming weeks.


Thanks for the videos - I enjoy watching them. Please don’t misunderstand me, I like and use torso rotation exercises. However, I have athletes do them on 2 feet - just like the videos you posted.

Why do you believe the kneeling ones would be beneficial?


If they have adequate pelvic girdle suppleness, they can still achieve the 30 degrees of hip rotation while keeping the lumbar spine neutral (in terms of rotation) or within an orthopedically safe range which allows an overload of the hip, trunk, and shoulder girdle musculature and creates different bio-dynamics that makes them a specialized preparatory or developmental drill (depending on if you use a med-ball or football) for a QB.

Give me a few days and I’ll get a video uploaded.

The most common assisted stretch my coach uses on us is a lying rotational hip twist, on a physio bed. It’s a great diagnostic tool, and stretches the periformis out well… after some PNF thought the twist on the spine is very large though. Do you guys know the stretch i’m describing?


Is this what you are speaking of?

If so, yes; this is used minus the strap quite often with our stretching series.

Also, the spine stays neutral (or within its range of motion) in this stretch; its hard to tell in the video if the spine is neutral, but when I perform it that’s one of the key cues I use and work through the ROM with the hip.

No, the twist is in the back, the shoulder is held down to the bed and the knee is brought across over the edge of the bed… I’ll take a photo if possible.


@devils Here are the exercises that I was speaking of; these are not kneeling but they are in a static position of the support leg which if you watch slow motion video of pitchers and quarterbacks you will notice; this helps develop “special” strength for either of the two so I use these as “bridge” from general to special preparation.

Those shown in the video are special preparatory exercises.

If you use a football (or baseball) and do the same arm motion but in a static leg position then they are special developmental exercises.

Quick note: My leg kinematics aren’t very good the knee should be more extended (or upright) and my trail leg shouldn’t be as extended. This will change with each individuals technique.

Thanks for the videos. :cool:I have athletes perform many exercises similar to this - on two feet, just as you displayed.

Of course, this brings me back to the original question - why would anyone think doing these exercises on one knee is a good thing? Forum members, take note - I’m not looking to start a fight here, I just want someone to share their opinion and any possible research about these rotational exercises performed on one knee.

No problem, devils.

You can perform any of those exercises on one knee.

Like I mentioned previously, as long as the kinematics are similar for the upper body (very, very similar) to the competition exercise, you can change the kinetics by manipulating other joints (hip, knee, ankle) in the body in terms of their angle, orientation, direction, etc.

By doing this, you change the working effort of the upper body (shoulder girdle & elbow), torso and trunk in that they have to utilize different dynamics in order to orchestrate and execute the exercise.

This is the what delineates between special preparatory (medicine ball throws) and developmental (using a ball of standard weight or a slight increase or decrease in weight) exercises.

Edit/Note: Don’t view “kneeling torso rotation exercises” independently; they can definitely have applications in various cases (ergo quarterbacks/pitchers as special preparation/development and general preparation/developmental for other athletes).

I wouldn’t look for any research about them; I think you’re being to inductive by trying to apply them.

I was told by a dear friend a bit more than a few years ago now… And she said to me it’s not enough to tell people something is so. More than 50 percent of people need a visual demonstration of why you must do something a certain way vs another chosen route.
When this site was created one of the challenges had been to take principles Charlie used in elite sprinting and show the world how these ideas can effectively be adapted to any speed and power sport. The other key reason for this site was to give Charlie a platform to dispel various comments post 1988 regarding the idea that pharmaceuticals replace planning, knowledge , experience with hard work.
So, I guess I have not been doing a good job yet regarding why single leg crap is just a bad idea. I guess I figured Charlie did a great job talking about this principle for 10 years on this site based on his top 5 ranking as one of the worlds fastest men and then as one of the best coaches in the world all time.
I guess all I can say is try it yourself and see.
I don’t like injuries. Injuries piss me off and slow me down. I love going to the gym and noticing there are not too many around my age with good knees and hips and backs… Or is it that I just know what to do and when to do it and I follow ideas I learned well and benefited greatly from?
My last thought is one of my favorite things Charlie used to say.
Just because you can … Does that mean you should?


While I agree with everything you touched on, in my specific case I am not working with sprinters exclusively.

In my mind, to effectively develop all of the requisite abilities needed by a quarterback (I’m talking holistically), the exercises that I have mentioned must be programmed into the yearly plan. However, they are not always present.

For the general client or even sprint athlete, these is no need for these specific exercises. Other means are used to develop fitness and all the needed bio-motor abilities to be successful and perform optimally.