Medicine ball throws are a great way to develop explosive power in both the sagittal and transverse planes. The sagittal plane is the imaginary line bisecting the body from anterior to posterior, passing through midpoints such as the spine and navel and creating what effectively amount to your right and left halves. The transverse plane bisects the body at the waist, perpendicular to the sagittal plane and forming your top and bottom.
Due to the diverse range of movements employed in medicine ball exercises, they can make an impressive difference in your development as an athlete and capacity for explosive power.
Whether striking the ball in cricket, performing Taekwondo kicks or throwing a punch in boxing, these sporting movements are all made possible by the torque an athlete develops in the transverse plane. Strength and power developed in this rotational plane carries across to innumerable sports and activities, so you need to ensure your training takes full advantage of this.
Mixing up your training with medicine ball exercises opens up a whole new avenue of interesting and beneficial movements to be added to your regimen. Aside from keeping your routine fresh and interesting, there are many physiological benefits to medicine ball throws. Right from the very beginning these exercises activate the central nervous system prior to strength training. Medicine balls also come in handy when teaching triple extension of the knees, ankles and hips in particular positions, while helping develop rotational specific power using the transverse plane.
In order to take full advantage of the aforementioned CNS-boosting effects of the medicine ball throws, I like to incorporate them early on in a workout, usually straight after a warm-up. That way, your body is fresh and ready so you can tackle these exercises with maximum effort.
It’s important not to go too hard too fast: start incorporating Medicine Ball throws into your regimen once a week, then working your way up to twice a week when ready. Vary your sets and reps according to your needs and capacity as well, but generally aim for around 2-4 sets of 6-10 throws.
To get you started building MB’s into your training, I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite medicine ball drills. I use these to develop upper and full-body explosive power in my athletes, using the methods described below. While they may be challenging at first, the medicine ball is a vital tool: too much so to let it languish in the ‘too hard’ pile when it comes to regular explosive power training.
Here are 3 Med Ball Exercises to get you started:
1. MB Half Kneeling Side Toss
2. MB Side Toss
3. MB Crossover to Side Toss