May 12, 2017Building Power, Part Four
The exercises featured in this blog enable coaches to enhance athletes’ ability to summate force in an explosive manner for the horizontal 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 step-and-push throw
Setup: The athlete stands with their feet hip-width apart while holding a medicine ball weighing three to six kilograms at chest level. Their elbows are positioned by their sides underneath the ball, and their fingers point toward their target.
Action: They lunge forward with their right leg and simultaneously use both hands to explode the ball away from their chest in a pushing action (see photos below). Then, they reset and repeat the throwing action while lunging with their left leg. Alternate legs on each rep.
Coaching tips: The athlete should keep their elbows close to their sides when throwing to maximize power and minimize stress on their elbow joints. If throwing against a wall, have the athlete stand far enough away for the ball to bounce at least once before it reaches them after each rep.
Horizontal: Lateral power shuffle
Setup: Place two cones about 20 to 30 yards apart. The athlete assumes an athletic stance next to one of the cones with their feet shoulder-width apart and their knees and hips slightly bent.
Action: The athlete shifts their weight toward the second cone, picking up their trail foot and explosively pushing their lead foot into the ground to start shuffling (see photos below). While shuffling, the athlete’s feet remain parallel with one another, and their toes face forward. Once they reach the second cone, they reverse direction by shifting their weight off of their lead leg, pushing off with their trail foot, and shuffling back to the starting point.
Coaching tips: Do not allow the athlete’s feet to touch one another. Have them try to get from one cone to the other using as few strides as possible. Instruct them to land softly on each stride, allowing their legs to bend slightly on each landing.