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Unconventional Medicine Ball Training For Strength

Unconventional Medicine Ball Training For Strength

The key to acquiring physical prowess is making sure to train and become proficient with movements, as well as being able to resist movement at the right time as well. A well designed training plan can incorporate both of these scenarios and for the sake of today’s article it can be done with something as simple as a medicine ball.

The Unconventional Approach Of Medicine Ball Training

Medicine ball training is something that is usually seen as the typical go to for “ab work” at the end of a day’s training session and the creativity typically stops with the execution of a few sets of Russian twists. Today is about introducing some unconventional medicine ball drills to demonstrate what is commonly overlooked with the power and potential of this training implement.

Exercise: Overhead Medicine Ball Throw (With Soft Durable Medicine Ball)
Description: Stand with the feet shoulder width directly over the medicine ball. Pick up the ball cupping the medicine ball more at an angle underneath the sphere rather than directly on the sides of the ball.
From here hinge the hips back dropping the ball between the knees into a squat position. Once at the base of the squat immediately explode out of the squat by gaining triple extension of the ankles, knees, and hips as you granny toss the medicine ball directly overhead in an arching pattern. The objective is to send the ball in a pattern of achieving both height and distance in the throw. If you jump off the ground ascending upward that is to be expected.

Once the throw is complete turn and run (or jog depending on what level of work capacity you want to stress) to chase the ball in order to perform a subsequent throw bringing the ball back to the starting point.
Purpose: This is a more idiot proof drill that is great for coaching and helping a trainee to achieve triple extension of the joints (ankles, knees, hips) for the purpose of jumping and overall athletic performance.

Recommendation: Use a 10-20 lb. soft durable medicine ball and perform 3 sets of 4-7 reps. Intensity can be varied with either the weight of the ball or the tempo at which each set is performed.

Exercise: Rotational Medicine Ball Throw (With Soft Durable Medicine Ball)

Description: Stand to one side of the medicine ball with shoulder width stance. Pick up the ball. Once again cup the medicine ball more underneath the sphere rather than directly on the sides. If throwing rotating to the left (as seen in video) pivot the front foot and rotate to bring the ball back to the right side of the hip.

From here forcefully rotate left with the body bringing the ball across the body to project it out in front. Make sure to pivot the front foot when rotating. Imagine a golf swing with forceful movement to throw the ball in a straight arc in front.

Purpose: Rotational medicine ball throws are great for training in the transverse plane of motion demanding more rotational movement for athletic fitness. Becoming more efficient at rotational throwing can allow for more strength production in this pattern for the purpose of swinging a bat, golf club, or throwing a baseball. Additionally the drill can be tweaked to stress more power production, or to acquire a more emphasized level of conditioning.

Recommendation: Perform 4-7 throws on the right and left sides for a complete set. Perform 3 sets in a given cycle of the drill.

Exercise: Lying Single Leg Bicycle Kick (With Medicine Ball)

Description: Lie on your back and pull one knee up while keeping the opposite leg straight and your foot lifted 3 to 6 inches off the ground. Position and pinch a soft medicine ball between the elbow and the bent knee on the same side of your body. Brace your stomach and pull the extended leg back and forth for the desired number of reps with control and stability.

With the addition of the medicine ball here in this drill it forces a trainee to push their low back firmly into the ground eliminating space between their low back and the ground. The stress is placed on the midsection to stabilize the movement instead of compensating at the low back which may cause discomfort.

Additionally this technique also demands greater control and focus from a trainee allowing them to perform the movement with greater intention for better results. It’s also a great supplemental exercise for enhancing the acts of sprinting, jumping, and kicking.

Purpose: A common issue with many people performing lying core drills is to compensate at the lumbar due to having too much of an anterior pelvic tilt. In simple terms this means it causes many to “arch” too much in their low back causing discomfort during movements with the legs being extended away from the body.

Recommendation: Perform with a soft 10-20 lb. medicine ball executing 10 to 20 reps on each side for 3 sets.

In Closing

The medicine ball is a powerful training tool and these are just a few drills that demonstrate how versatile this training implement can be when looking to get fitter and stronger. The beauty of medicine ball training is that this single implement can offer a lot to apply to a strength and  conditioning program.

In addition to this by utilizing the medicine ball to incorporate more dynamic movements as demonstrated here the body will become more supple and better able to perform other key strength movements. Are you including medicine ball training into your strength program? Don’t be shy about posting up below. Stay strong.

Related Articles:

Mastering The Frontal Plane For Athleticism And Optimal Fitness

3 Dynamic Kettlebell Movements For Optimal Mobility

3 Great Exercises To Prime Your Hips, Knees, And Ankles

3 Unconventional And Simple Strength Moves

Triple Extension: Making Strength Gains With Hip, Knee, & Ankle Extension

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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