3 Medicine Ball Drills to Develop Velocity | STACK

3 Medicine Ball Drills to Develop Velocity

April 27, 2013 | Andrew Sacks

Must See Baseball Videos

Baseball constantly employs the phenomenon known as the stretch shortening cycle (SSC). This is when muscles are stretched through a quick countermovement and contract with greater levels of force than from a standstill.

When throwing a baseball, the SSC can be observed in pitchers who exhibit good hip/shoulder separation. This term refers to the act of rotating the lower body before the upper body, which stretches the muscles of the front of the body and the shoulder, allowing for a more powerful contraction in those muscles.

Another way to use the SSC when throwing is to begin to bend at the waist before bringing your arm forward. This also stretches the muscles across the front of the body, facilitating a more powerful throwing motion (Check out this med ball routine specifically for pitchers.)

Medicine ball throws are a great way to develop this velocity. Use the SSC to your advantage with the following three med ball drills.

Coaching Points: For each med ball drill, make sure that your hips are driving the movement. Also, try to "pop" your back leg off the ground by contracting the glute muscle in your trail leg to help provide power at the end of the movement.


Step-Back Shot Put

This is an excellent drill for learning hip/shoulder separation. Make sure to initiate the movement at the hips. Lead leg height can be adjusted depending on whether you are a pitcher or position player.

  • Take a short jump-step onto your back leg
  • Drive forward off your back leg
  • Rotate your front foot to point directly at your target
  • Powerfully rotate your hips, then rotate your upper body
  • Maintain a stiff front leg, "pop" your trail leg off the ground and swing it around you
  • Shot put the ball into a wall with as much force as possible

Step Slam

The Step Slam is a good way to work on using the SSC across the front of your body. It teaches you to use your trunk during the throwing motion. Keep your hands back long enough to feel the stretch across the front of your body, and maintain a stiff front leg.

  • Lift the knee of your stride foot and step forward
  • Keep your hands high until after your foot hits the ground
  • Begin the slam motion by bending at the waist, then finish the slam by throwing the ball down with your arms
  • Follow through fully and “pop” the back foot off the ground by powerfully contracting your trail leg glute

Rotational Slam

The Rotational Slam combines elements of the Shot Put and the Step Slam. It requires you to use a combination of linear and rotational power, which makes it more similar to the pitching motion than the other two drills.

  • Begin in a split stance with your feet wider than shoulder-width and the ball in front of you at belt height
  • Bring the ball back and over your head in a “sledgehammer” motion, while lifting your front foot off the ground and shifting your weight to your back foot
  • Rotate your front foot to point toward your target
  • Rotate your hips powerfully and slam the ball straight down on the outside of your front foot
  • Again, “pop” your back leg off the ground by extending the hip powerfully and swing it around you

Get more exercises in STACK's Med Ball Exercise Library.

Andrew Sacks
- Andrew Sacks is a strength and conditioning coach from Baltimore, where he trains athletes at Next Level Sports Performance. He works with youth, high school,...
Andrew Sacks
- Andrew Sacks is a strength and conditioning coach from Baltimore, where he trains athletes at Next Level Sports Performance. He works with youth, high school,...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How to Construct a Baseball Workout

In-Season Baseball Workouts for Pitchers

Welcome to Andre Ethier's Funhouse

Baseball Workout for Power Hitting

Best Exercises for Baseball Speed Training

Fit For a King: Miguel Cabrera's Off-Season Workout

Increase Hitting Power with a Full-Body Workout

Baseball Exercises: Should You Lift Overhead?

Complete Off-Season Baseball Workout, Part 1: Rebuild

Guidelines for Your In-Season Baseball Workout

5 Fundamental Exercises for Baseball Position Players

Increase Your Hitting Power With 4 Key Exercises

Get Stronger to Improve Your Speed on the Base Paths

In-Season Baseball Strength and Power Workout

Build Muscle for Baseball the Right Way

2014 Summer Training Guide: Baseball

Pitchers: Throw Harder With This Med Ball Workout

Special Conditioning for Pitchers

7 Must-Do Lifts for Baseball (Regardless of Position)

In-Season Training Plan for Baseball Players

The In-Season Workout for Baseball Pitchers

6 Superior Baseball Conditioning Routines

5 Need-to-Know Tips for In-Season Baseball Workouts

Block More Pitches With These Baseball Catcher Drills

4 Ways to Take Care of Your Throwing Arm

Push-Up Workout to Build Needed Baseball Muscle

Training Aids for Baseball Speed and Agility

Baseball Weight Training: A Beginner's Guide

The Top 9 Baseball Exercises MLB Players Actually Do

Baseball Off-Season Workout Progression: The Core

The 6-Week Baseball Tune-Up

Complete Off-Season Baseball Workout, Part 3: Power

Condition to Perform: Baseball Conditioning

Simple and Effective In-Season Baseball Workout