You might be the strongest guy in the weight room, but it won’t mean much if you can’t show it on the field. No one will care how much you can squat if someone else out-jumps you for rebounds. Your max Bench Press won’t matter if you get knocked over at the line of scrimmage.
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How do you connect your weight room strength to your on-field performance? Try med ball contrast training.
Contrast training is pairing a heavier, slower exercise with a faster movement that mimics it. And it’s extremely effective for a couple of reasons. First, the heavy slow movement—think Deadlift or Squat at 85 percent of your max—primes your muscles to fire with intensity. When you go into the faster movement, you will recruit muscle fiber with more ease. Second, the faster movement more closely simulates the speed and intensity you need during games.
According to Verkhoshansky’s Principle of Dynamic Correspondence, the closer an exercise is to the direction, intensity and duration of a movement, the more it will carry over into the actual movement. When you use medicine balls, the exercises become more sport-specific.
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Throwing a medicine ball is a type of exercise known as ballistics. With most exercises, you’re forced to slow down at the end of the range of motion. But if you throw the weight, like you do with a medicine ball, you can keep accelerating.
Try these three supersets to incorporate med ball contrast training into your workout, and get explosive:
A1. Incline Barbell Bench Press 3×5
A2. Med Ball Chest Pass 3×3
- Hold the medicine ball at chest level and explosively toss it, like a basketball chest pass, to a partner.
- Try to get each of your three throws farther than the one before.
B1. Kettlebell Swing 3×6
B2. Overhead Med Ball Toss 3×2
- Toss a medicine ball overhead behind you, going for max distance.
- Explosively push through your legs to get the ball moving.
C1. Box Squat 3×4
C2. Medicine Ball High Toss 3×2
- Squat in front of a high wall holding a heavy medicine ball.
- Explosively stand up and push the ball into the air, aiming to bounce it off the wall as high as possible.
- If your walls aren’t high enough, use a heavier ball.
RELATED: Contrast Training: A Football Workout for Power and Speed