The ability to rotate our body plays an important role in sports. It is an effective pattern of producing significant amounts of power in a short period of time.

As demonstrated below, the act of rotation occurs in many sports.

In order to effectively maximize our rotational power, the first step is achieving the necessary flexibility.

Note: There are 2 forms of flexibility

1) Passive flexibility: the ability to move in a certain direction with external assistance

2) Active flexibility – also known as mobility: the ability to move in a certain direction primarily using your muscles

The form of flexibility we are seeking is active flexibility/mobility. When we have active flexibility, we demonstrate greater control of range of motion. Specifically to sports we need to move ourselves into required positions without assistance in order to generate maximal power.

Rotation of the body primarily occurs through 2 areas:

  • Mid-back/thoracic spine
  • Hips

It is important that rotation occurs primarily through the above 2 areas to prevent compensation through other areas – ie the low back/lumbar spine

To quickly screen whether you have full rotation or not, try this test out:

Stand facing away from a large mirror with your feet together and rotate your whole body to the left.

Criteria to pass the test:

  • Do you bend forwards, sideways or backwards while you rotate? – no
  • Are you able to see the front of your right shoulder? – yes
  • Do your feet remain planted on the ground? — yes

If you don’t pass all the above criteria, you probably have a mobility issue.

What are some potential restrictors of limited mobility?

  • Muscle tension
  • Joint stiffness
  • Pain
  • Soft tissue restrictions

Activities/positions that can result in the above restrictors can include:

  • Slouching in one position for prolonged periods
  • Crossing your legs for prolonged periods
  • Sitting not directly in front of a tv (torso slightly turned)

Depending on the cause of the decreased mobility, it may be easy to fix through stretching or foam rolling or it may require an intervention by a trained health care practitioner to deal with joint stiffness and pain.

At MPC we take you through a series of tests to identify the exact areas of your body that are restricting your rotational range of motion. By doing so, we can help you access untapped power in your rotational sport.

Author: Zachary Hum MScPT BAKin