Medicine ball throw variations are great for improving not only blocking power in gymnasts but also for rotary power and anterior core strength.
Blocking involves turning horizontal force into vertical force. Medicine ball throws can be useful to improve blocking power as well as having many other benefits for gymnasts especially for vault and tumbling. The aim is to enhance upper and lower body power, rotary power and anterior core power depending on the variations used.
Overhead throw variations are useful for blocking, targeting the shoulders and anterior core. Shapes can be emphasised with overhead postural stability, ensuring the gymnast keeps their ribs down whilst raising the ball overhead. I like this tall kneeling variety but there are many many excelllents variations, including standing overhead, standing overhead behind and staggered overhead.
Chest throws are designed to be upper body plyometric exercises involving muscles used in pushing and pressing which are important used for blocking and tumbling. As all the throws, the emphasis is on explosive, smooth and rapid movments.
I like this variation as it incorporates an element of deceleration & redirection of force prior to the explosive throw.
These rotational movements are designed to improve rotational power. The goal is to encourage hip power using a stiff core to transfer forces from the lower body through the upper body, minimising energy 'leaks'.
I utilise a half kneeling variation most commonly. Gymnasts with a dominant side find the non-dominant side especially awkward initially!
Imagine a glass of water on your knee, you must avoid spilling any!
Initially I focus on technique rather than speed, cueing the gymnast to keep their lower body totally still. The movement is a rotation with long arms, not a push.
Do not try to go too heavy with the weight of the ball. The emhasis is on the speed of the movement, producing a powerful explosive throw
We'd love your feedback, let me know if you try these, or utilise any other variations in your training and why?