Outside of the barbell, medicine balls are one of the best tools to improve strength. And one of the most popular medicine ball exercises for improving strength is the medicine ball rotation throw.
Rotational power is key in sports like baseball, golf, and tennis because you need to punch or throw a ball forcefully. Additionally, strength, strength, and fitness athletes can use the Med Ball rotational throw to improve performance, strength and look great without a shirt. Here we go into what it is, how to do it, what muscles it works, and how best to program them into your workout.
What is a medicine ball rotation throw?
The Med Ball Rotational Throw is a strength exercise that targets the obliques, glutes, adductors, and the upper back. It does this by explosively transferring the force from your lower body to your upper body to throw the medicine ball into the wall. Then catch it on the rebound to reset and repeat.
The biggest mistake people make is thinking that when you are really throwing the ball with your hips, you are throwing the ball. Your arms are an extension of your hips, because that's where the strength comes from.
It's all on your hips baby
How to make a medicine ball rotation throw
With a medicine ball in both hands, stand about two to four feet from the wall and take the ball on your back hip. Then, shift your weight from your back hip to your front hip as you twist your hips to explosively throw the ball against the wall. Catch the ball with both hands, rest, and repeat the process.
This is a full body exercise that involves the lower and upper body. Although it looks like an upper body exercise, you might be surprised at how many lower body muscles this type of rotation throw works.
Lower body muscles
- Internal and external hip rotators
- Rectus abdominal muscles
- Internal and external bevels
Upper body muscles
- Anterior deltoid
- Upper back (rhomboids, middle traps)
- Chest muscles
Advantages of the Med Ball Rotary Throw
Performing the Med Ball rotational throw can improve athletic performance, improve power transfer from the lower to the upper body, and even improve core stability during explosive movements such as weightlifting and sprinting.
Here are three more benefits of programming rotation exercises like this in your workout.
- Improved anti-rotation resistance
Developing stronger obliques and abs in the plane of rotation can improve your ability to stabilize the spine and hips during explosive movements such as turns, slams, jumps, and runs.
- Full body strength and explosiveness
Strengthening the core with the rotating med ball throw improves your ability to incorporate the hips and upper body into any rotational movement. Performing the med ball rotation throw improves core stability, muscle development, and overall body coordination.
- Injury prevention
Unwanted rotational movements of the spine can affect the hips and knees during movements such as overhead squats, back squats, pulling, and others. Since you do not have the strength to control the rotational movement in both controlled and ballistic movements, you run the risk of putting strain on muscles, joints, and tendons that were not intended for rotation.
Here's how to add it to your routine
Below are three ways to program the Med Ball Rotary Throw into your training so that you have the flexibility to use it where it will benefit you most.
Rotation exercises such as medicine ball throws can serve as a gentle warm-up for more explosive rotation exercises in strength, accessory or conditioning training.
Rotational strength exercises like the medicine ball rotation throw, which is programmed with moderate loads, help develop stronger muscles and coordination, and improve overall body strength and explosiveness.
By doing the Med Ball Rotary Throw as part of your conditioning routine, you can increase exercise volume and improve your motor skills when you are fatigued, which is important for injury prevention when you play for a living.
Suggested weight, set, and repetitions
Jasminko Ibrakovic / Shutterstock
When in doubt, take the lighter side because it's about developing strength, not strength. When the ball is too heavy to throw forcefully, you are training strength. A good starting point is between 4 and 15 pounds (depending on size and strength) with a sweet spot between 6 and 10 pounds.
The main goal in weight training is to be explosive. The moment you lose being explosive, you are no longer training strength, you are training muscle endurance. For most of us, this is anywhere from four to 12 repetitions or 10 to 20 seconds of effort.
If you lack hip mobility, suffer from low back pain, or just want to spice things up, the half-kneeling and high-kneeling med-ball rotation throws are a great option. By lowering your center of gravity, you can move your hips and shoulders through your pelvis and lower back without too much compensation. This is ideal if you have back pain.
In addition, with the narrower support base in the kneeling position, you get additional stability of the trunk and advantages when activating the buttocks. Use the same stress, set, and repetitions recommendations as above.
If you don't have a ball or wall, you can still train explosive and powerful rotations with tools like bands, the barbell, and even dumbbells. Here are some alternatives in case the ball or wall isn't available.
Landmine rotation develops a stronger core by withstanding the forces of rotation as the dumbbell is rotated from side to side. In this exercise you will learn how to transfer the force from the lower to the upper body while limiting the movement from the core, similar to the Med-Ball variant.
Dumbbell rotation stroke
Hitting with light dumbbells imitates heavy sack work and the transfer of power from the lower to the upper body as in the Med Ball rotation throw. It also trains your deltoids, serratus, upper back, and core while improving your rotational strength.
This isn't as explosive or as powerful as the medicine ball rotation throw, but it still trains the same movement. This emphasizes more glutes, adductors, and obliques, and less upper body. A practical option if you don't have a ball or a wall.