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Unconventional Medicine Ball Training For Strength

Unconventional Medicine Ball Training For Strength

  1. Are you currently using medicine ball training in your strength and conditioning workouts? 
  2. Are you interested in learning about some unconventional medicine ball training movements to enhance your strength training workouts? 
  3. Are you currently looking to enhance your physical function for better athleticism and to build lean muscle? 

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

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. This usually involves no more creativity than the execution of a few sets of Russian twists for many people. Today is about introducing some unconventional medicine ball training drills to demonstrate what is commonly overlooked with the power and potential of this truly unique training implement. You can apply these to your strength and conditioning and give your program a serious upgrade.

Exercise: Overhead Medicine Ball Throw (With Soft Durable Medicine Ball)
Description: Stand with your 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 your hips back dropping the ball between your knees into a squat position. Once at the base of the squat immediately explode out of the squat by gaining triple extension of your 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 to achieve 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 you’re trying to emphasize for the drill) 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 which is great for coaching and helping you 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 your front foot and rotate to bring the ball back to the right side of your hip.

From here forcefully rotate left with your body bringing the ball across your body to project it out in front. Make sure to pivot your 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 you 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 you to push your low back firmly into the ground eliminating space between your low back and the ground. The stress is placed on your midsection to stabilize the movement instead of compensating at the low back which may cause you discomfort.

Additionally this technique also demands greater control and focus from you allowing you 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.

Medicine Ball Training: The Takeaway

The medicine ball is a powerful training tool and these are just a few drills that demonstrate how versatile this training implement can be if you’re looking to get fitter and stronger.

In addition to this by utilizing the medicine ball to incorporate more dynamic movements as demonstrated here you will become more supple and better able to perform other key strength movements.

Are you including medicine ball training into your strength program?

What medicine ball training exercises are you currently doing for your strength and conditioning? 

Don’t be shy about posting up below. 

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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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