Power development is critical to sport, fitness, and life! One of my favorite ways to focus on power development is with a medicine ball. Whether you're a youth athlete looking to learn what it means to move with speed or a seasoned athlete looking to slow down the effects of aging, the medicine ball is a fantastic tool for power development.
What is power?
If you look up the definition of power, you'll find many different definitions. However, I want you to focus on the thought of moving something, or yourself, with speed or great force. That is the foundational understanding of power. This is not good enough for performance.
Performance requires you to create power in minimal time and also toward an optimal direction. This applies to sport, fitness, and life.
For example, it is one thing to kick a ball with force. It is another thing to kick a ball with force in a short window before a defense closes in. It is a completely different level to kick a ball with force, while a defender is closing in, and put the kick trajectory on target.
I can think of plenty of other examples of how this same concept could apply to your day job.
Now that we have a basic understanding of power, let's get to some practical medicine ball drills you can utilize.
This variation is fantastic for getting you to experience a forceful extension without much coaching. Also, it drives this concept home from your toes to your fingertips. You can either complete this movement with one toss at a time or you can work on repeat power by running to the ball after each toss. Both ways provide valuable upside to your power development.
Instead of tossing overhead and behind, this variation brings the focus to what you can see in front of you. The key is to initiate this movement with your lower body and finish the movement with your upper body. Being able to transfer force effectively across your joints is critical. The biggest miscue I see with these is knee valgus, or your knees diving in towards each other.
We often forget about rotation, especially when it comes to power movements. A rotational toss is a great way to work on power in the transverse plane. Similar to the overhead toss, you can complete this with one toss at a time or add the running component. This will focus on your ability to repeat power.
In sport, there are many scenarios where you have to go from an extended position to a more compact position with speed. The overhead slam is a great way to work on developing the power to a compact position. You can complete these one at a time or add a conditioning component by doing as many as you can in a certain time interval.