Today I’ve got something special for you: a guest blog post from my coach Joey Percia covering 4 Medicine Ball Exercises For Explosive Power.
Joey Percia is a bad-ass who also happens to be an extremely bright coach who runs Percia Performance in New York City.
Joey really knows the ins and outs of building a show and go physique. He has a 500+ lb deadlift and 63-inch box jump. With that said, Joey’s throwin’ some heat with awesome tips to get you stronger and more explosive with these 4 Medicine Ball Exercises For Explosive Power.
Let’s face it, looking at the same four walls of the gym can get boring. And your training can get monotnonous if you’ve been doing the same thing for a while.
It is time for a change. Grab a medicine ball, get outside, and unleash your athleticism.
There is something special about throwing a medicine ball as hard and high as you can.
Sure it’s great for stress relief, but what else?
You can improve your training by leaps and bounds, developing serious power and adding inches to your vertical jump.
Keys for Developing Explosive Power
When training for power, it is important to perform the exercise with ‘bad intentions’. This means fast, hard, angry but under control. Controlled violence is key. But your form should never go out the window.
This alone can change the training effect of an exercise. You can turn a typical strength exercise into a power exercise, just by performing the movement as fast and hard as possible.
Have you ever listened football players who are mic’d up? You will hear not only smack talk, but also come to understand that their grunting, violence and speed of play are on another level.
Another important key for power development is movement specificity. Movement specificity is just a fancy term for how similar the exercise is to the movement you are trying to improve. An example would be the vertical jump.
Is the movement in the same direction? Yes.
Is the speed and duration of the movement similar? Yes.
Are the joints and muscles used the same? Yes.
Boom = it all adds inches to your vertical jump.
4 Medicine Ball Exercises For Explosive Power
Needless to say, you should be properly warmed up before doing any of these movements. If you would like a FREE sample warm-up CLICK HERE.
Here are 4 medicine ball exercises that will increase power and add inches to your vertical jump. Perform 1-2 of these exercises per sessions for 3-5 sets of 3-6 reps each.
P.S. There’s a video showing each exercise at the end, but read all the descriptions first.
1. Push Press to overhead toss from chest
How to do it: Set your feet like you were about to do a vertical jump as high as you can. Hold the medicine ball at your chest. Dip at the knees into about 1/4 squat. From the 1/4 squat position explode and throw the ball towards the sky, coming up onto your tippy toes at the top of the movement. DO NOT jump in this variation.
2. Vertical jump to overhead toss from chest
How to do it: Set up in the same position as the previous exercise. Begin by performing a vertical jump while holding the medicine ball at your chest. When you land, absorb the impact and explosively jump and throw the ball as high as possible.
It is important to minimize the time you spend on the ground in this exercise. You will find at the beginning you have to spend longer on the ground so build up the strength to get the ball as high as possible. As you become more explosive this will change and you will be able to build the strength faster.
3. Kneeling jump to overhead toss from chest
How to do it: Set up kneeling on the ground with the top of your feet against the ground holding the medicine ball at your chest. DO NOT setup with the balls of your feet on the ground.
From this position, you are going to jump up to your feet by forcefully extending your hips. Land softly in a squat position and immediately jump as high as you can while throwing the ball in the air. Try to minimize the time you spend on the ground.
4. Kneeling jump to overhead scoop toss
How to do it: Set up kneeling on the ground with the top of your feet against the ground holding the medicine ball at your chest. DO NOT set up with the balls of your feet on the ground. From this position, you are going to jump up to your feet by forcefully extending your hips. As you are about to land, bring the between your legs. Land softly in a squat position with your hands under the ball.
If you are familiar with the ‘granny shot’ in basketball, this is the same position. From here immediately jump as high as you can while throwing the ball up and slightly behind you while minimizing the time you spend on the ground.
Keys to Successful Crushing Medicine Ball Exercises
All these variations should be performing for height. That means throwing the ball as high as you can on every rep.
If you have a similar set up to the one in the pictures, pick a spot on the wall and aim to hit it or above it every time. Stop the set when you can’t reach that target anymore.
If you start to become fatigued and find yourself not being able to reach as high you begin to lose the effectiveness of the exercises.
If you choose a ball that is too heavy, you will not be able to move fast enough. If you choose a ball that is too light, it can feel like you aren’t doing anything.
I recommend using a ball weighing anywhere from 8-15 pounds, depending on your current level of strength and power.
Let’s take a look at two different athletes:
Athlete A – 200 lb male who can squat 2.5 (500 pounds) x his bodyweight and has a 26-inch vertical jump.
Athlete B – 200 lb male who can squat 1.5 x his bodyweight (300 pounds) and has a 34-inch jump.
‘Athlete A’ is stronger, but his vertical jump isn’t as high. How can this be?
Right now, he lacks the ability to perform movements explosively. Think of ‘Athlete A’ is a semi-truck. He isn’t quick and fast off the line but you do not way to get in his way once he gets rolling.
Using a lighter ball would be a better option for this athlete, had he wanted to improve his vertical jump. It would allow him to perform the movement fast and explosive while getting used to higher speeds.
Remember: we want the speed and the duration of the movement to be similar to develop explosive power.
‘Athlete B’ isn’t as strong in the weight room but he can jump way higher. How can this be?
Right no, w he lacks absolute strength but has a great deal of explosive strength. Think of ‘Athlete B’ as a Lamborgini. This guy is fast as all hell off the line, but put it against the maximal strength of a semi-truck, it doesn’t end well for the Lamborgini.
Bottom line: Make sure the weight of the ball isn’t slowing you down a great deal or changing the movement in any way.
As a reference, I am using a 12-pound ball in the demonstrations.
Extend and reach tall
Aim to achieve full extension of the ankle, knee, hip and elbow when performing these. This is to make sure you don’t cut yourself short. A lot of athletes leave a great deal of power on the table because they don’t ‘finish’ the movement.
It is like throwing a punch and trying to stop yourself right before you hit the target. Yeah, you threw the punch but it wasn’t effective. But if you pretend your target was 3″ behind the actual target, you are going to crush that sucker.
In some of the jump variations, it looks like I am bending over backwards. I tend to over-emphasize my hip extension with a forceful butt squeeze. In the past, I would lose power from not using my glutes enough, so this is how I trained to fix that problem.
Bottom line: Keep your core engaged when performing these movements. This helps transfer the energy from the ground up through your body better, but it will also keep your back safe.
Wrapping Up Medicine Ball Exercises For Explosive Power
Perform 1-2 of these exercises max per session to maximize your explosive power. Be safe, have fun and I will see you flying through the air.
I will be giving out a FREE power workout to increase vertical jump next week on my website www.joeypercia.com. Click below to be notified when it get released.
Joey is a coach at a boutique training studio in New York City and also runs a successful online training business. He is a competitive power lifter in the 181 division and has totaled 1400lbs.
Joey has a Masters degree in Exercise Science, is a CPPS coach, Westside Barbell Coach and CSCS. He likes cheesy pick-up lines, crushing Ben and Jerry’s, lifting heavy things and giving people great high fives. Want a video tutorial of the workout? Give it a shot with Joey here: www.joeypercia.com Copyright: clickandphoto / 123RF Stock Photo