Medicine balls are not the only method to develop power but they are extremely effective, cheap and can be used anywhere.
Some benefits to using Medicine Balls in your training program are:
• Improved core stability and posture
• Acceleration and deceleration drills in any plane
• Explosive throws for power development
• Improved speed and elasticity
Medicine balls not only enhance power development, but can also be used as a prehabilitation tool for the hips, torso and shoulders. I even use them for self myofascial release. Due to their roundness they enable targeting of certain areas that the traditional foam roller cannot get into as well. Medicine balls are worth their weight in gold and I believe are often overlooked by athletes and trainers these days because of their simplicity. But that’s what makes them so great! They are durable, cheap, safe and can be easily stored or transported.
When it comes to sport to perform better, most athletes just attempt to swing the racket or bat harder, or generate greater arm speed when they are hitting or throwing. This not only puts athletes at greater risk of injury but it means they lose technique and inevitably their performance drops. Enhancing athletic performance requires an improvement of the athlete’s rotary mechanics. Medicine ball training allows us to practice this in a safe efficient way and they can be used by almost all ages and levels of training.
Once we have the correct mechanics of the throw we are then able to develop rotational power through medicine ball training. In both plyometric training and Olympic lifting, power development is traditionally uni-planar with no rotational element. Medicine balls are different in that they can be thrown up, down and across the body (multiple planes of motion). Rotational medicine ball throws are the key to developing torso power for athletes involved in just about any sport. The new rubber medicine balls combined with a solid wall are excellent for these applications due to the elasticity of the ball.
For overhead athletes like cricketers, baseball pitchers, tennis players, swimmers and golfers the medicine ball provides great eccentric training for the rotator cuff while developing power in the core muscles.
It is important to note at this point that medicine balls are just a tool. The effectiveness of them depends on how well they are integrated into your training programs. Remember strength training, mobility and activation work, core stability are all pre requisites to medicine ball throwing. Once you are ready to start adding medicine balls to your program a balanced progression of implementation is needed. Medicine balls do serve as an essential link between traditional strength training methods and sport performance as they allow us to train with speed while at the same time serve a prehab eccentric training component for the shoulder, torso and hips. Medicine ball work thus makes a pretty good case to be implemented into any coach’s program.