For youth and high school athletes, especially those relatively new to strength training, a top training goal should be to improve overall athleticism. While skill sets differ for each sport, the performance attributes needed to excel are the same across the board.
One such attribute is the ability to generate force from the ground up—power capacity. And perhaps no exercise is more fun, simple and beneficial for boosting power capacity than the Overhead Med Ball Throw.
Along with force production, the Overhead Med Ball Throw works hip extension, a key element for generating powerful movements. Once the force is created to explode up, full hip extension allows you to follow through and fire the med ball overhead.
The Overhead Med Ball Throw can be performed with a partner, but we prefer the extra benefits of going solo: less rest, more action. After each rep, turn around, retrieve the med ball, get back into position and repeat.
The exercise is best performed early in the workout. You generate more explosiveness when your muscles are fresh and firing at near full capacity. Push through the ground to generate force to explode up. Plain and simple, you want to fire the ball as quickly and explosively as possible, which is why it's important to use a lightweight med ball. A heavier ball will not confer the full benefits of hip extension. "It's speed and explosiveness we're looking for," says Javair Gillett, strength coach for the Detroit Tigers. "[Use] a lighter weight that you can move very, very quickly."
Best yet, the Overhead Med Ball Throw can be performed practically anywhere: outdoors, gym floors, even on turf. If you're going indoors, make sure you have sufficient space and high ceilings.
The Overhead Med Ball Throw is best used in the off-season. Perform two sets of 6-10 reps twice a week. Check the video up top to watch Tigers strikeout artist Justin Verlander perform the exercise.
Overhead Med Ball Throw
- Assume athletic stance, holding med ball in front
- Lower into squat and bring ball between legs
- Explode through hips, knees and ankles to throw med ball as high as possible
- Retrieve med ball, assume position and repeat for specified reps
Coaching Points: Bring med ball between knees and shift butt back // Generate power from ground up // Extend hips forward to follow through // Keep back straight
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock