Medicine ball throws are great for developing explosive power, and can be used as an alternative to Olympic lifts. These exercises strengthen and stabilize the core musculature, reinforce the biomechanics of force generation, reflect the demands and movement patterns of many sports, and can be performed in virtually every plane of motion.
Here’s one of the total-body exercises we use with our athletes to build explosive power. This triple extension exercise is basically a heavy medicine ball clean and jerk, immediately followed by a forceful vertical or horizontal push/throw.
In the first video, Julianne — one of our high school basketball players — demonstrates the exercise with a 25 lb. medicine ball and a vertical throw, pushing the ball as high as she can. Note how she uses her hips and legs (with minimal bend at the waist and back involvement) to get under the ball and generate force.
In the second video, Julianne uses the same medicine ball with a horizontal throw, pushing the ball as far as she can. Mechanics and technique — hip and leg drive — are similar to the first exercise.
We have our athletes perform 3 sets of 4 repetitions, with a one minute rest between sets. Typically, these types of (power) exercises are placed at the beginning of a workout, following an appropriate, dynamic warmup.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!