Medicine Ball Exercises for Strength and Power
Speed, strength and power is vital to the success of ALL track and field athletes whether competing in the sprints, jumps, throws or endurance events. One of the most effective methods of developing these traits in your athletes is through the use of medicine ball training.
Medicine ball throws are an interactive and fun method of training that athletes always enjoy. Use these exercises together in one workout or break them up into several different workouts. Often, we will make a competition out of the throws by dividing athletes into age/grade groups or event groups. That way athletes get the opportunity to compete against their peers. I categorize this type of training as ‘tricking your athletes into working out’ because they always get into these workouts, making for an entertaining practice on many levels. At the same time, you are stressing the qualities that will improve their performance.
As with any new exercises, be sure to start off with light weights and always stress perfecting technique. Once your athletes meet your standards for form, they can start using heavier med balls. Because the load is relatively high with each throw, the number of reps in each set should be limited to no more than 5 or 6.
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Squat Throw (full body)
- Stand in quarter-squat position with trunk flexed forward and ball held between legs. Arms should be slightly bent.
- Perform underhand toss as high as you can, using the legs to explode up. Have partner catch ball on the bounce and return the ball. Athlete should catch ball after a bounce and repeat as prescribed.
Over the Back Toss
- Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Have a partner or trainer stand approximately 10-15 yards behind you.
- Grasp ball and lower body into a semi-squat position. Explode up extending the entire body and throwing medicine ball up and over the body.
- The goal is to throw the ball behind you as far as you and generating most of the power in the legs.
- Catch ball on the bounce from your partner and repeat according to prescribed repetitions.
Explosive Start Throws
- Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Knees should be slightly bent.
- Pick medicine ball up to chest level.
- Quickly explode up and press the ball straight out as far and fast as you can.
- As you press the ball forward explode with either leg so that you actually sprint forward a couple of steps.
Modified Hammer Throw
- Stand with feet hip-width apart; place right foot approximately one foot in front of left foot.
- Hold medicine ball with both hands and arms only slightly bent.
- Swing ball over to the left hip and forcefully underhand toss ball forward to a partner or wall. Keep the stomach drawn in to maximize proper usage of muscle. Catch ball on the bounce from your partner and repeat according to prescribed repetitions
One Step Wall Throws
- Stand with both feet parallel with knees slightly bent. A partner or wall should stand approximately 5-10 yards away.
- Pull medicine ball back behind head, take one step forward and forcefully throw ball forward as far as possible.
- Catch ball on the bounce from your partner or wall and repeat according to prescribed repetitions.
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