Top 5 Killer Medicine Ball Exercises for Basketball
The humble medicine ball - pleasing to the eye, deceptively heavy, great for getting that tighter torso and a flat stomach, and that's about it, right? Wrong! The benefits of functional training using a medicine ball for a sport like basketball are immeasurable. If used correctly with the proper drills, medicine balls can significantly improve your strength, speed, agility and hand-eye coordination. I’m no LeBron James, but they all seem like traits that would elevate your on-court prowess. Below are just five of many medicine ball exercises that will help you become a full-blown baller in no time!
#1: SQUAT JUMP AND PASS
Purpose: Increase your power, vertical jump, and passing ability.
- Stand roughly 10 metres away from a partner (or from a wall if you're training solo) and assume a squat position.
- Hold the medicine ball about six inches in front of your chest with elbows wide.
- Explode upward, jumping as high as you can while bringing the medicine ball up above your head, arms fully extended.
- Land softly in a squat position, and immediately chest pass the ball to your partner, who should also repeat the same jump/pass motion.
- Complete three sets of 10 squat jumps and passes with 30-second breaks between sets.
- Gradually increase the distance between passing partners, and/or use a heavier medicine ball if you're looking to up the ante.
#2: SIDE TWIST DECELERATIONS
Purpose: Build strength and endurance in your shoulders.
- Hold the ball with both hands directly in front of your body, arms slightly extended.
- Move the ball to the side of your body
- Explosively bring it back to the front. Stop the ball as quickly as possible, and repeat on the other side.
- Perform three sets of at least 30 reps (15 each side). Increase medicine ball weight to challenge yourself.
#3: DIAGONAL WOOD CHOPS
How: Increase your core strength and stability in your trunk, hips, and shoulders.
- Start by standing firm with feet shoulder-width apart and holding the medicine ball with both hands above one shoulder.
- Bring the medicine ball down across your body diagonally while performing a squat. The motion should end with you in the squat position with the medicine ball beside your hip (Imagine you’re chopping some wood at this angle, and the ball is your axe).
- Return to the starting position and repeat. Once you’re comfortable, you can pick up the pace.
- Do at least three sets of 15reps on each side to ensure a balanced workout.
#4: ROTATIONAL SIDE THROWS
Purpose: Increase your core strength and develop rotational strength and power.
- Start in the athletic position about one metre away from a solid wall (depending on how bouncy the medicine ball is, you may need to stand closer or further away).
- Position yourself perpendicular to the wall with the medicine ball held in front of you.
- Rotate your torso away from the wall.
- Driving from your foot planted furthest from the wall, quickly rotate your hips and torso back towards the wall, and throw the ball as hard as you can into the wall using your whole body.
- Catch the ball as it bounces back and repeat. It's important to put maximum effort into each throw for the full benefit of the exercise.
- Perform three sets of 10-15 reps on each side.
#5: SHUFFLE CHANGE OF DIRECTION THROW
Purpose: Increases your shoulder strength, passing ability, and leg strength.
- Get yourself in a squat position holding the medicine ball in front of your chest with your elbows wide.
- Perform four sidesteps while staying low in the squat position.
- Stop and pass the medicine ball to your partner (or a wall).
- Perform another four side steps back to your starting position.
- Receive the pass from your partner and repeat the exercise.
- Three sets of 10 reps should leave you sweating and your legs burning!
PUT IT INTO PRACTISE
Dumbbells and barbells are the go-tos in the gym, but it’s time to put some respect on the medicine ball! So up your game and swap out the basketball for the medicine ball at training you should see more powerful passes, ankle breaking crossovers, and strong drives to the basket! Hoop on legends!