Med Ball Throwing Exercises: You're Doing Them Wrong

Get better results from med ball throwing exercises by focusing on correct technique. STACK Expert Robert Taylor breaks it down.

Medicine Ball Workout

Med ball throwing exercises can instantly add fun to any program. Who doesn't love smashing something against the ground or a wall? The "fun factor" often causes athletes to throw the med ball as hard as they can. It may look impressive, but this approach will lead to lackluster results.

Haphazardly throwing a med ball makes the exercise less effective. Improper movement patterns are reinforced, and you do not learn to decelerate, which increases the risk of injury.

Med ball throwing exercises are not complicated. You simply need to change your mindset and focus on details of the movement.

The Stance

Front Static: Stand directly in front of a wall or a partner. Common exercises using this stance include the Med Ball Chest Pass and Med Ball Throws.

  • Feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Shoulders, knees and toes aligned.

Variations: front staggered, front wide, front narrow and front step-back.

Lateral Static: Same as the front static, but turn 90 degrees in relation to the target. This is a more advanced progression that develops rotational power. An exercise using this stance is the Med Ball Rotational Shot Put.

  • Feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Shoulders, knees and toes aligned.
  • Toes, knees, hips, belly and shoulders perpendicular to the target.

Variations: lateral staggered, lateral wide, lateral narrow and lateral step-back

Half-Kneeling: This takes the lower body out of the movement and isolates the upper body. Set up in the same position as front static or lateral static but place one knee on the ground.

  • Knees hip-width apart.
  • Shoulders and knees aligned.
  • Knees, hips, belly and shoulders perpendicular to the target (if in a lateral position).

Upper-Body Positions

From the Front Static Stance: Develops upper-body pressing power.

  • Punch the med bell to the wall without flexing or extending your spine.
  • Fully extend your arms.
  • Do not move your feet.
  • Catch the ball off the wall and decelerate it to the starting position before performing the next rep.

From the Lateral Static Stance: Develops rotational power derived from the hips and core.

  • Load your hips and spine by rotating your upper body until the back of your shoulder points to the target.
  • Maintain a tall posture and straight back.
  • Follow through completely.

From the Half-Kneeling Stance: Improves core stability and body control when performing an upper-body movement.

  • Focus on quick tosses.
  • Maintain an upright posture and strong core.

Arms and Hands

Chest Press or Toss

  • Hold the sides of the med ball.
  • Position your arms so your elbows are at four and eight o-clock (assuming your head is at 12).
  • Maintain a straight back.
  • Explode through completely.

Med Ball Shot Put

  • Hold the front and back of the med ball.
  • Your front arm elbow should point toward the ground, and your opposite forearm should be parallel to the floor.


Maintain a neutral head position throughout each movement. Your eyes should focus on the target.

Watch this video from SMARTER Team Training to learn more about coaching cues for medicine ball training:

Editor's Note: Coach Taylor has developed the SMARTER Team Training Audio Interview Series, dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason and public understanding of prudent, purposeful and productive strength and conditioning practices for clients and athletes. Listen to episodes featuring some of the best experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, personal training, sports nutrition and sport psychology here.

Read more:

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock