No Barbell, No Problem: How To Use Medicine Balls To Develop Power

No Barbell, No Problem: How To Use Medicine Balls To Develop Power

Sure, one of the best ways to develop power and athleticism in the gym are the Olympic lifts.

Snatches, jerks and cleans develop a strong and powerful body. But these are highly technical lifts that take years to master.

Luckily for you, there are easier ways to develop power than Olympic lifting. And all you need to do is have a ball. A medicine ball that is.

Medicine ball throws help develop power, without the required, highly coordinated actions of the Olympic lifts. They are easy to do and don’t require much time to master.

And they’re fun too.

So What Is Power? 

Power is equal to Force times Acceleration (P = F x A).

Think of “force” as a push or pull from the object’s interaction with another object, such as the pull of gravity or the concentric phase of a push-up.

Acceleration is the rate at which an object changes its speed, like when you’re sprinting to catch a bus or a car moving from a dead stop.

The Benefits of Using Medicine Balls for Power

  • Better cardiovascular function: training power encourages the heart to pump more blood with each pump
  • Increased strength: med ball power exercises involve rapid contractions that build and enhance ‘fast twitch’ muscle fib
  • Increased calorie burn: using the fast twitch muscles of  your arms and legs increases the number of calories burned during the workout and up to 14 hours later.

How Heavy Should My Medicine Ball Be?

When in doubt, go on the lighter side. The point is to develop power.  If the ball is too heavy to throw quickly, then you’re wasting your time.

A great starting point is between 2 and 7kg (depending on your size and strength) with a sweet spot for most folks being between 3 and 5kg.

The Best Time to Train Power With Medicine Balls

Med ball power exercises are best trained after your warm-up, when your muscles are ready to go but aren’t fully taxed.

Because power puts a demand on your neurological/muscular system which is best trained when you’re fresh.

Furthermore, it sets the table for the rest of your training because your fast twitch muscles are now primed to lift some weight.

How Many Reps Should You Do?

When training power, being explosive is the main thing. The moment you lose being explosive, you’re not training power anymore, you’re training muscular endurance.

For most people, this lies anywhere between 4-12 reps or 10-20 seconds of full on effort.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that med ball training will benefit you.

Wrapping Up

Med ball throws are a nice change of pace from the barbell and are an easy way for you to express power and to bring out your inner athlete.

And if you’re lucky, you’ll be powerful enough to leap tall buildings with a single bound like another superhero you know.

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