Specifically, this New York Times article — “Developing Arm Strength Feet First” — caught my eye. It’s about how Giants quarterback Eli Manning develops arm strength by working his core and his legs.
That is why the root of Manning’s arm strength lies in almost every other part of his body, Gilbride said; by honing proper footwork and building his legs and core, Manning is able to throw the deep pass as well as put greater velocity on shorter routes with a smaller window to the receiver’s hands.
When I first read through it, my initial reaction was, “This is news?” Maybe it’s just because I’ve grown up as a girl, but I was always taught that my “powerhouse” muscles were those in my abdomen, butt, and thighs. At age 5, I was taught that this was how to stay on and control a horse — because using the reins as one’s own personal safety line is Not Cool to the horse’s mouth. At age 7 or 8, I learned that this was how I should throw a baseball; yes, the arm was the final part of the throw, but the power behind it came from the legs and torso. Same with learning to shoot or pass a basketball and to throw a punch. (To this day, I have a mean right cross.)
So now, with yoga — because arm balances are about my favorite thing in all of ever — it’s very natural for me to think about most of the power and control as coming from places other than my arms. I totally get why someone would depend on legs and core in order to throw a football with power and control.
And yet, thinking about it more, I get why to some people, this might actually be news. (I mean, it could also be Saturday NYT fluff reporting. That happens sometimes.) I’m no stranger to gym visits where there’s a line for every upper body weight rack and machine while nearly all the lower body ones sit empty. Among my students (particularly the football players), “How much do you bench?” is often the question of the day and how well developed a guy is in the arms and chest is considered athletic prowess in and of itself.
So, yeah. I see where people might have missed the knowledge that a strong torso and legs do a lot for stabilizing the body and powering throwing arms. Or — in other cases — powering arm balance arms.