There is a myth in football training, especially among young athletes, when it comes to the origin of power when throwing a soccer ball. Many mistakenly believe that the muscles of the upper body, those of the shoulders and arms, are the main muscles used to perform a deep, powerful and precise throw. However, nothing could be further from the truth, as the most powerful quarterbacks in the NFL and college football use their lower bodies to get stronger when they throw.
The first muscle group that young players should be aware of is their thigh muscles. These include the quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, and kidnappers, among others. The calves shouldn’t be ignored either, but the muscles in the upper thigh are the most important. These muscles are used to plant the foot in the ground and establish a solid base of support for the launch. The force is usually put into the ground to generate a throw, and the leg muscles are what puts it in the ground to begin with. Without strong leg muscles, this strength cannot be generated.
Once the front foot is planted, the next muscle group involved is the hips. The glutes, primarily the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, are used to generate the twisting motion that creates the power to throw the soccer ball. The hips are the densest muscle area in the body and can generate tremendous amounts of strength, as can easily be seen with world class sprinters who have extremely developed hip muscles. Quarterbacks also need this development to deliver a long, powerful throw.
The final area of musculature that young football players need to consider is the abdominals. The abdominal muscles are mainly made up of the rectus abdominis, located at the front of the body; obliques, which are located on the sides of the torso; and the transversus abdominis, which crosses the torso diagonally. These muscles are not used so much to generate force as to transfer it, and mainly transfer it diagonally. This can be seen when a quarterback puts his left foot forward before throwing with his right hand. The legs and hips generate force, which is transferred through the abdomen and into the chest, shoulder, and arm.
These are the abs that complete the chain from the bottom to the upper body and allow for a powerful throw of the soccer ball. Unfortunately, many football strength training and conditioning programs spend far too much time focusing on the chest and triceps, in particular. While these muscles are important when throwing, they are primarily used for stability and precision, rather than power and speed. A precise, stable and slow throw is more likely to be intercepted than a strong, precise, stable and fast throw.