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4 Medicine Ball Exercises For Explosive Power

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.

medicine ball, 4 Medicine Ball Exercises For Explosive Power, medicine ball exercises


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

Bad intentions

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.

Movement Specificity

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.



joeypercia-150x150, medicine ball exercisesJoey 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

The Best Glute Exercise You’ve Never Heard of

10 tips to an explosive deadlift

Well, Summer is full fledged which makes me think of a few things.

First, it’s almost Football season. I can’t wait.
Well, unless my team blows a 17 point lead in the Conference Championship game, turning my celebratory beer into hops and barley watered down by tears.

Anyways, I’m over it.

Not really, but to my second point:

All your hard-work in the gym is on display during the summer.
Bikini’s shrink every year, and more women are asking for exercises to build a booty they can be proud of all summer long.

Guys too.
No, you’re not on “display” as much as women (unless you’re repping the Borat man thong), but you’re wearing tighter clothing to show off your body too.

Photo Credit: http://m.memegen.com/hu2ul0.jpg, best glute exercise
Photo Credit: http://m.memegen.com/hu2ul0.jpg

In the spirit of barbecues, pool parties, and all the fun that comes with summer I have the best glute exercise you’ve never used sculpt your backside.

Your glutes will grow dense muscle and you’ll build athleticism by maximizing hip extension power, for explosive activities like jumping and sprinting (beach volleyball anyone). Plus, you’ll have more “pop” during your lockouts and big lower body lifts, meaning you’re cleans, squats, and deadlifts will get a healthy boost.

Athletic gains, a better booty, and boosting your big lifts?

Duh, count me in.

The Hackey Pull
Before getting into the “deets” of this exercise proper I have to give credit to Loren Landow for teaching me this exercise. (P.S. If you don’t follow Loren, do it now.)

Okay, the hackey pull.
99% of the time the hackey pull is programmed to improve hip extension during Olympic lifting variations.
Without going into full detail, hip extension is the most important driver of sports specific transfer of the clean. Hip extension is the explosive pattern in sprints, and jumps which we try to maximize with Olympic lifts.

Beyond performance benefits the hackey pull can be altered to build better glutes. By tweaking the loading, set duration, and training volume, the hackey pull becomes a fantastic exercise to build bigger glutes.

How to Hackey Pull:

Begin with an RDL position and the bar below knee-level.

Accelerate the bar as it passes the knees, extending the hips forward and “popping” the bar off the thighs.
During each rep, squeeze your glutes (read: butt cheeks) as hard as possible when popping the bar off the hips to maximize glute recruitment.

Sound simple? It is.

Here’s a video:

There are two huge benefits to the hackey pull:
1) The isometric contraction teaches you to engage the glutes during explosive movements and “feel” them working. This mind-muscle connection is vital for muscle growth. Instead of g0ing through the motions, feel your glutes doin’ work!

2) The hackey pull reinforces the big driver of performance from the clean: hip extension.
Basically, the hips must extend during your lifts or you minimize the or the athletic carryover (i.e. increased speed and power) of triple extension exercises like cleans. Therefore, the hackey pull will improve your performance on other big, multi-joint lifts. 

Why you Should Do It:

Strong, fully recruited glutes are important. More specifically, using the hackey pull has a few major benefits most glorious glute exercises don’t offer:

1) You’ll blend the gap between speed and strength, truly improving your on-field and gym performance. The hackey pull uses heavy weights with maximum explosive intent from a standing position. Unless you have a seriously heavy kettlebell, you won’t use anywhere near the loading of the hackey pull.

2) Powerful hip extension from the standing position. Seriously, I love hip thrusts and bridges, but any time I can get my clients standing tall instead of laying or sitting or I’ll do it.

3) You’ll improve the your lockout and finishing strength in deadlifts. Don’t believe me?
What drives the lockout at the top of your pull or finishes the squat?
Explosive hip extension.
While the loading will differ, the hackey pull teaches you to rapidly recruit the glutes into action as the bar passes your knees.

4) You get to hump the bar. Seriously, that’s a great cue to maximize hip extension in the hackey pull, while showing your appreciation to your hard working barbell.


How to Program the Hackey Pull:

Your success with the hackey pull depends on whether the programming and execution matches your training goals. Basically, that means if you train a muscle to be explosive and powerful, that’s what you’ll get.

Conversely, if you force muscles to work in a fatigued state they’ll break-down, and force changes in the tissue to adapt.
By manipulating the weight and volume of the hackey pull you will focus on athletic performance, muscle growth, or a little bit of both.

Hackey Pull for Athletic Performance:

To maximize the hackey pull for athletic performance program as you would any major movement.
I’ve found the best training max for the hackey pull to be on par with the clean. If you don’t use the clean in training, 50% of deadlift max is a great place to start.

A sample work-load could replace a clean or Olympic lifting variation in your training:

Deadlift Max: 400lbs
Hackey Pull Training Max: 200lbs

Hackey Pull:
135lbs x5
165lbs x4
175 x3
185 x2
195 x2

[Related] How to Hang Clean for Total Body Power

Build Muscle:
To maximize the hackey pull for glute hypertrophy I decrease the weight and increase training volume. Also, the explosive nature of the hackey pull improves muscle recruitment in the glutes because you’re attacking each rep with maximum intent. That means attack each rep like it’s a max, and you’ll build your glutes faster.

A sample workload could be:

Deadlift Max: 400lbs
Hackey Pull Training Max: 200lbs

Hackey Pull:
135lbs x10
155lbs x8
165 x8
165 x6
165 x6

Note: There is one big draw-back to the Hackey pull as a muscle builder. While the explosive action and increased muscle recruitment is a bonus that most people are missing, there isn’t much eccentric stress.

To optimize glute development start workouts with the hackey pull, then finish them off with a hip thrust for higher reps and slower tempo, as demonstrated by Bret Contreras.

With this combo, you’ll have the 1-2 punch of increased motor unit and muscular recruitment, which prompts greater growth and a show and go booty.

Closing Thoughts:

Strong glutes are important.

Explosive hip extension is important.

By adding the hackey pull above you’ll get a blend of both worlds: Glutes that are stronger, more explosive, and overall, hotter. There’s no excuse to have a small, weak, useless keister. Get your butt in gear!

Tweet: Give this exercise a shot to optimally build your glutes @Eric_Bach #glutes #fitness #bodybuildingTweet: Give this exercise a shot to optimally build your glutes http://bit.ly/1RwjHNa @Eric_Bach #glutes #fitness #bodybuilding

1.Henneman, E, Somjen G, Carpenter DO. J Neurophysiol. 28:560-580, 1965.

Should Women Train Differently than Men?

Recently, I’ve been receiving questions on how females should train. Most have the goal of looking leaner, toned, and a more curvy. In this post, I wanted to answer the most frequently asked question, “Should Women train differently than men? ”

Short Answer: No, not really.

With the questions I frequently get, I have put together 7 considerations for helping sculpt a sexy female figure.

1.) “Toning” and “shaping” are not the answer.

Weight training in popular media for women generally revolves around words such as “toning and shaping.”
Lets examine “toning” This term is used to make muscles appear firmer, and tighter without them appearing bigger. It’s a common, but extremely thawed thought. Routines based upon “toning” likely involve extremely light weights for very high rep amounts. Think pink dumbbells for 20 rep sets of triceps kickbacks. Unfortunately, these routines are not challenging enough to the muscle to force growth and change.

Without challenging you body to grow and change, how will it look any better?  With or without excess fat, a body looks healthy and fit with a little more muscle.

Shaping offers a different, yet equally confusing idea. Muscles cannot be shaped; rather, they are pre-determined by your genetics. You can’t physiologically change a muscles shape, only whether it is bigger or smaller.

2.) You should lift heavy.

Certain goals for both men and women are similar. The most common is a firm, toned, sexy look. One of the best ways to get that look, for men or women, is with heavy weight. Lifting heavy weights is the fastest, and most efficient way to build myogenic muscle tone… or the highly dense, toned muscle that you seek.

Photo Credit: List09.com
Photo Credit: List09.com

“But won’t lifting heavier weights make me bigger?” This leads to right to my next point…

3.)No, lifting weights will NOT make you bigger.

Why? Building muscle is very, very, hard. Ask any guy. There is a reason we train year in, year out, eat copious amounts of dead animal flesh, and cherish any small, muscular changes. And that’s with a plethora of hormonal benefits from testosterone helping us out! Unless you have extremely rare genetics you won’t be piling on slabs of muscle and look like Hulk Hogan.

Additionally, there are tons of factors that mitigate muscle growth: Training style (most importantly, muscle tension and training volume), diet, and hormones (as mentioned above.) Unless you are taking external testosterone, training with way too much volume, and consuming a ton of excess calories you won’t be getting bulky.

With that thought, I recommend all women do some sort of heavy training once per week. 
Try squats, deadlifts, bench presses, push presses, and rows for 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps with the heaviest weight you can safely do.

4.) There is no such thing as spot reduction

Men and women deposit fat differently. Men generally carry more body fat centralized around the abdomen whereas women carry more excess fat around the hips and thighs. For both genders, spot reduction is a popular topic. In most cases, body fat is lost evenly throughout the body. Therefore, in order to be leaner in a particular area fat loss needs to occur all over.
I find the best exercises for losing fat all over are done in a standing position, such as sprints and high intensity weighting, rather than a seated position like a stationary bike, or rowing machine.

5.) Women have a different weight distribution than men.

Because women carry more weight in their lower body they are generally relatively weaker in the upper body, but just as relatively strong in the lower body. In most cases it’s best to regress upper body exercises, such as a push up or pull up.  Rather than watching in horror as a female grinds out worm-ups, regressed the exercise by performing it with a barbell racked off the ground. Just because someone can’t do a full exercise…yet… doesn’t mean they shouldn’t perform any variation.

6.) Women have better stamina than men

Women can handle a higher training density– less rest between sets and a higher volume– than their male counterpart. This may be due to an overall decrease in relative strength. This factor allows women to train at a higher frequency with a higher density than men.

*Note: Training density (doing more in less time) is a huge variable for fat loss.   

7.) Women need more protein

I find most of my female clients drastically under-consume protein. Protein does three awesome things for your body: Protein can blunt your appetite to keep you fuller for longer, speed up your metabolism, and help you maintain your muscle (giving you that toned, dense look) while stripping off  unwanted fat. I tell my female clients to have protein with any carbohydrate source and shoot for their body weight in grams of protein. This would mean a 120 lb female consumes roughly 120 grams of protein per day.

Wrap Up

Okay, I’ve got to run, but I gathered a list of great sites and resources for you to check out. These are some of the best fitness sites for females looking to build awesome bodies. Fellas, you can take a look to and stop giving poor advice to women who ask you :).







Let me know any questions you have and how you currently train!


“Beautiful Crossfit Woman.” List 09. N.p., n. d. Web. 18 Sep. 2013. <http://www.list09.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/crossfit-girl-Laura-Plumley1.jpg>.

Romaniello, John . “Sexy Female Training.” Roman Fitness Systems. N.p., n. d. Web. 18 Sep. 2013. <http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com/blog/6-tips-for-building-a-sexy-female-body/>.

Schuler , Lou, Cassandra Forsythe, and Alwyn Cosgrove.The New Rules of Lifting For Women . New York City: Penguin Group, 2007. Print.



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