The Serape Effect – A Key Contributor to Rotational Power

12 Jan The Serape Effect – A Key Contributor to Rotational Power

The “Serape Effect” is a key concept for the the overhead throwing and striking athlete to understand in terms of power development, increasing swing speeds, throwing velocities, and core programming. Recognize one goal of the golfers, pitcher, tennis player, and all rotational athletes is to generate maximum speed to into ball, racket, or bat. A key component of this process is within the functioning of the core musculature.

The serape is a Mexican garment piece which crosses in an X-pattern on the front of the torso and draped over the shoulders. This concept of the Mexican garment is where the anatomical naming of the Serape Effect originates. The Serape effect centers upon rotational movements of the torso involved in throwing and striking motions. The anatomical muscles associated with the Serape effect are the rhomboids, serratus anterior, external obliques, and internal obliques. These muscles viewed collectively create and “X-pattern” or a Serape across the torso of the kinetic chain.


The Serape musculature are incorporated into integral concepts associated with the ballistic actions of throwing and striking. The Serape musculature are integral in the translation of ground reaction forces from the lower extremities to the upper extremities. Additionally the Serape create forces to this translation of ground reaction forces with rotational movement patterns of the torso. This occurs via the transverse rotation of the pelvis and shoulders creating a diagonal stretch similar to the stretch shortening cycle associated with plyometrics creating a “rubber band effect”.

An example would be within the throwing motion of a pitcher. After foot strike ground reaction forces are translated through the kinetic chain. In addition after foot strike the throwing arm is diagonally abducted and laterally rotated away from the lead hip of the pelvis. This action creates a maximal amount of stretch resulting in maximum potential energy to be released into the baseball at release point.

Recognizing the importance of the Serape Effect relative to the summation of forces for the overhead throwing and striking athlete it is imperative to address this musculature with the athlete’s strength and conditioning program. The process by which this can be achieved is via the implementation of exercises recruiting the core musculature in transverse patterns. Additionally, modalities replicating the Serape Effect. This can be achieved with exercises in a standing position with diagonal patterns relative to the lead hip and back shoulder.

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy provides Sean a proven track record of success.  He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renown Titleist Performance Institute.


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