Explosive Throws 101

Hi friends,

As I age, I feel the need to do all I can do maintain my explosive capacity.
I am looking to incorporate some explosive throws in my training. I was thinking I could do them twice a week when I do sprints for conditioning.

I know very little on this subject. Some questions I have;
What size/weight medicine ball will I require?
What moves should I learn, keeping in mind I want to keep things simple, so I don’t want to learn throws/slams that require any great technique?
When should I practice such movements? How many times a week? Before or after my other training? On lifting days or conditioning days?
And are such exercises effective at improving explosiveness and has anyone noticed any other benefits from training for explosiveness??

Thanks in advance.


I don’t know what any of these are officially called:

  1. Overhead throws, throwing behind you. Hold the ball down at your waist with your arms straight. Squat down and explode up throwing the ball as far as you can behind you. You should jump in the air as you do this.

  2. Shot Puts. Throw the medicine ball like a shot put to a partner or off a wall. Don’t do the spin or shuffle step, just push off the back leg, rotate your body and chuck it. Alternate sets on each arm.

  3. Slam downs. Hold the ball high over your head and slam it down as hard as you can. If it’s the bouncy type try not to let it slam back into your face. Unless of course you’re recording it.

Balls in the 6 to 15 pound range would be a good assortment.

I actually just came across this yesterday.

Bird I have a 25 and 30lb slam ball and these work well for me.Most of the time I use them in a circuit with a couple different excercises and not just by themselves but not that you couldn’t.I really like using them for the squat and push press throw(I guess that’s what you would call it)and for overhead slams of course.Mine don’t bounce so you have to squat down to pick it up for every rep.

My gym has a 12 lbs med ball and I have been using that for all my throws. For reference my strength levels are about 175-250-345-405 on press-bench-squat-deadlift. I think you can use a wide range of size med balls, but don’t go too heavy and sacrifice speed and explosiveness. I have been doing lying med ball throws (think floor press) before my bench days and 1/4 squat + throw (think push press) before my press days. I usually do 3 sets of 5 or something like that.

I recommend doing throws before upper body days. Similar to how I like jumps and Oly lifts before my lower days. I find if I clean before I squat I am primed for a good squat workout. If I throw before I press I am primed for a good press workout.

Just make sure it doesn’t bounce if you slam it on the floor…


I know JW reccomends dynamic and speed work be taken as seriously as any other aspect of training.
In S.S.S. from Beyond 531 dynamic work is programmed in before the main lifts and I like this structure.

Christian Thibadeau recently released an article;

This suggested that 10 to 30% is the ideal range for “ballistic” work.
It may be hard to calculate what your percentage range is on movements disimilar to the large compounds, but you can identify same on the more similar movements.

From here on all I can offer are my own training experiences.

I only use weights >10kg when using both arms to throw.
If single arm movements I keep the kilos in the single digits.

I use movements complimentary to my sports training; so rotational and explosive throws for me.
Rotational throws include;
Single arm rotational throws
“Rugby pass” rotational throw
Step back and rotate
Step side and rotate
Explosive throws include;
Med ball overhead throw/jump
Overhead rear throw.
Forward jump/throw
Floor Press Throw

AM sessions

How many times a week
3 to 4 max

Before or after my other training
Before 531 Main Lifts

Lifting or Conditioning Days?
If I use med balls for conditioning they lose their explosive benefit.

And are such exercises effective at improving explosiveness and has anyone noticed any other benefits from training for explosiveness?

Yes; do help increase explosivness when reps are kept low, have help my balance, rotational power and also core strength/stability