Medicine balls are so old school, that Hippocrates used sand-filled animal skin pouches to aid his patients recover from injuries. This happened almost 2,000 years ago. Nowadays, medicine balls come in various sizes and weights and they significantly improve your muscular power and athletic performance. The explosive ball movements attained through throwing and catching can enhance your exercise abilities and explosive power.
Before we dive into the following 5 exercise, you need a medicine ball. Pick a ball that's heavy enough to slow down motion, but light enough to enable your control, accuracy and range of motion to activate and work together. Do as many reps as you can as long as you do them with proper form. If you want to take it a step further and get a custom weight medicine ball for cheap, Ross Enamait, who is a boxing coach and author, has some easy instructions for you to follow in order to create your own homemade medicine ball. All you need is a canvas sea bag and gorilla tape!
Medicine Ball Exercises
If you want to make the most out of your medicine ball exercises, take it to the next level and change your workout into power exercise by performing the movement as fast and as hard as you possibly can. In other words, do it like you mean it! And remember to maintain your form at all times. Once your form starts to break, stop your exercise, otherwise you'll be doing it inefficiently and you risk some unpleasant overuse injuries or other accidents. Additionally, here are 2 things you need to keep in mind as you perform these exercises:
- Height: Throw the medicine ball as high as you can with every single rep. If you do this against a wall, pick a high target on the wall and aim for it. If you become fatigued and can't reach your target anymore, stop your exercise before you lose the effectiveness of your athletic efforts.
- Weight: Make sure your medicine ball is not too heavy, otherwise you won't be able to use your speed and move fast enough. And if you choose a ball that's too light, you're not really doing much with it.
1. Squat Press and Throw
- Ground your heels and descend into a squat position.
- Drive through your heels to jump and throw the ball straight up as high as you possibly can.
- Quickly step back and let the ball drop to the ground.
2. Wall Pass
- Find a med ball-safe wall and stand about 3 or 4 feet in front of it, holding your medicine ball with both hands.
- Get into a throwing stance, with slightly bent knees, engaged core, and bring the ball to your chest.
- Firmly and explosively throw the ball at the wall.
- Catch it when it rebounds and repeat!
3. Push Press to Overhead Toss
- Place your feet like you are going to do a high vertical jump.
- Hold the medicine ball at your chest with both hands and descend into 1/4 squat.
- Explode (don't jump!) and throw the ball up high, while coming up on the tips of your toes as you reach the top of the movement.
4. Vertical Jump to Overhead Toss
- Stand in the same position as the previous exercise and hold the ball at your chest.
- Perform a vertical jump.
- As soon as you land, jump again explosively and throw the ball as high as you can.
5. Kneeling Jump to Overhead Scoop Toss
- Knee on the ground and make sure that the top of your feet are on the ground.
- Forcefully extend your hips to jump up to your feet.
- Bring the ball between your legs just before you land.
- Land in a squat position with your hands under the medicine ball.
If you're going to use a homemade medicine ball for your exercises, follow Ross Enamait's tip to use an angled tire as a rebounding surface. This will help you continue your reps explosively, and it also minimizes the damage to your custom ball, as opposed to a harder surface such as brick or cement walls, so it will last you longer, and you can be certain that you'll be able to continue your medicine ball exercise routine to continue to develop your explosive power. For more details on Ross Enamait's homemade medicine ball throws, just click here to read his article “Heavy Medicine Ball Throws (Homemade)”.
Take your explosive power to the next level and implement the medicine ball exercise into your training program. Incorporating these exercise is a good way to start developing speed and coordination, while strengthening your muscular power. Just remember to choose a weight that is perfect for you and don't be discouraged if you have to go light in the beginning. Practice makes perfect!