May 19, 2017
Building Power, Part Five
Nick Tumminello

The exercises featured in this blog enable coaches to enhance athletes’ ability to summate force in an explosive manner for the rotational pillar of power. I’ve included my top two exercises for this pillar. I favor these particular movements because they don’t involve any special equipment and are easy for athletes to learn.

Medicine ball side-scoop horizontal throw

Setup: The athlete stands perpendicular to a wall at their right side with their feet shoulder-width apart and their knees slightly bent. They hold a medicine ball weighing three to five kilograms (6.5 to 11 pounds) with both hands by their left hip.

Action: The athlete shifts their weight to their left leg while hinging forward slightly at their hips. By lifting their right heel off of the ground, they allow their right foot to rotate slightly and point toward their left side. (see Figure 5.1) They explosively shift their hips toward the right while turning their hips and shoulders to throw the ball horizontally, using both hands in a scoop-like motion. (see Figure 5.2) They perform required reps on one side before switching sides.

Coaching tips: Make sure the athlete keeps their back in good alignment when setting up each throw, and their elbows should be slightly bent throughout. As they throw, they should lift their back heel off the ground and rotate in the same direction as they’re throwing by pivoting on the ball of their foot. If the athlete is throwing against a wall, have them stand far enough away from it that the ball can bounce back to them after each rep.

Figure 5.1:

Figure 5.2:

Medicine ball horizontal punch throw

Setup: The athlete stands perpendicular to a wall with their feet shoulder-width apart and their knees slightly bent. They position their front foot (the one closest to the wall) at about a 45-degree angle and point their back foot straight ahead. With their torso upright, they hold a medicine ball weighing three to five kilograms at their chest with their elbows pointed outward (see Figure 6.1).

Action: The athlete explosively rotates their hips and shoulders simultaneously toward the wall while extending their rear arm to throw the ball horizontally, as if throwing a punch (see Figure 6.2). They allow the ball to bounce back to them and then reset their position for the next repetition. They perform all reps on one side before facing the other direction and performing the exercise from the opposite side.

Coaching tips: The athlete should keep their rear elbow parallel to the floor before each rep and throw the ball at the wall as hard as they can. Instruct the athlete to allow their back foot to rotate toward the wall as they throw. The athlete should begin each rep with most of their weight shifted away from the wall and finish with most of their weight on the leg closest to the wall and their rear heel off the ground. Have them stand far enough back from the wall so that the ball bounces at least once before it returns to them after each throw. 

Figure 6.1:

Figure 6.2:

Nick Tumminello is the owner of Performance University, which provides practical education for fitness professionals worldwide. The 2016 NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year, he is also the author of Strength Training for Fat Loss and Building Muscle and Performance and has produced more than 15 strength and conditioning DVDs. Tumminello writes a blog at: and can be reached at: [email protected]

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