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Explosive Medicine Ball Training for Speed and Power Development

Explosive Medicine Ball Training for Speed and Power Development

By: John Cortese

Medicine ball throws are an excellent way to develop explosive power. I learned of these throws a few years ago from the late, world-renown speed coach, Charlie Francis; and world-famous Olympic sprint coach, Dan Pfaff.


  • Great for teaching proper acceleration mechanics for novice and youth athletes.
  • Can be done outdoors on grass or sand.
  • Teaches triple extension of the foot, knee, and ankle in body positions specific to horizontal/vertical jumping and sprint starts.
  • Teaching time is minimal- just throw the ball as fast and far/high as possible!
  • Activates CNS prior to speed/strength training.

When To Do Them:
Because of the intense nature of these throws, they should be done on days when you plan to incorporate some sprints and heavy lifting. I like to do them in the warm-up to make sure the throws are done with maximal effort. Doing them tired would be pointless if you’re after speed and power development. Start with once a week, 5-10 throws per session, then work your way up to twice a week with 10-20 throws per session.


1.) OHB Throw
a. Start with a light (4-6 lb women, 8-12 lb men) medicine ball.

b. Arms straight, squat down and back and let chest go forward; you should be in an athletic starting position.

c. Initiate movement by forcefully extending hips and throwing arms up and back to throw the ball over and behind the head.

d. You should jump off of the ground if you do these correctly.
e. Aim to throw bar as far as possible. Shoot for 5-10 quality throws, rest as needed between throws to ensure each throw is given maximal effort.
2.) Squat Throw
a. Squat down and back.

b. Lean forward and begin to feel like you are falling forward.

c. Explode/jump OUT and push medicine ball away as fast and far as possible.

d. Fall forward into push up position.

e. *Optional: Scramble up out of the push-up position and sprint 5-10 yards.
3.) Coil Throw (*Squat throw from knees)
a. This throw is almost identical to the squat throw, except it is done from your knees instead of on your feet.

b. This version should be mastered first before moving onto the squat throw to develop the strength and confidence to land in the push-up position.
Wrap Up
These throws are fun and easy to do/teach. Remember the goal for these is speed, so move that ball as fast and explosive as possible. To ensure competiveness in your training and continued progress, measure the distances on throws when you aren’t adding the sprint at the end. These can be done on sand or grass and flat or hilly surfaces.

Do these for a while and say hello to your new-found speed and power!

About The Author:
John Cortese is the owner of and Cortese Training Systems LLC in Napa, CA. He works with athletes from youth to pro to get faster and stronger for their sport. For more information on how to develop into a dominant, freaky, explosive athlete, visit

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5 Responses to “Explosive Medicine Ball Training for Speed and Power Development”

  1. Niel Says:

    The 1st throw (OH backwards) reminds me of a drill we used to do in practice for shot put warm-ups.

    Good stuff.

  2. John Cortese Says:


    Yup lots of throwers do that drill. If you search Werner Gunthor on YouTube, you can see him perform throws like this with a heavy shot in his training back from the mid-80’s I believe.

    In fact, check this out. 2 minutes into the video he’s doing some VERY explosive throws ==>

    Dude was a beast!

    Thanks for reading,

    John Cortese

  3. Jim Smith Says:


    Nice post bro. I enjoyed watching that. I like the throws and then the scrambles for the ball. I am going to use that with my baseball players next lower body day!. Thanks.


  4. Ken Rogers Says:

    You guys are always coming up with awesome new workout moves that look really fun to try too. I really hate the traditional lifting weights and running on the treadmill and all that stuff. So your workouts are really great for me.

    Thanks again for the awesome new move.


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