Plyometric Throwing Exercises
Plyometric exercises are explosive movements that develop power. In a plyometric exercise, your muscles first stretch, then rapidly contract, training you to apply force quickly. Plyometric throwing exercises are particularly useful for athletes who throw, such as baseball and basketball players, as well as track and field athletes such as discus throwers and shot putters.
Most plyometric throwing exercises use a medicine ball and require a partner or rebounder to return the ball to you. Beginners should start with a light medicine ball. Start with 2 pounds for two-arm throwing exercises and 1 pound for single-arm throws. As you get stronger, progress to a heavier ball, up to 8 pounds for two-arm throws and 5 pounds for single-arm exercises. Plyometric exercises can be intense. Allow at least two days to recover between workouts,
The chest pass is a low-intensity drill. It's a good choice if you're starting a plyometric throwing program. Stand about 10 feet from your partner or the rebounder. Your feet should be shoulder width. Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest with both hands. Bend your elbows slightly to prepare, then throw the ball quickly to your partner or a rebounder. Catch the ball as it returns to you. Bend your elbows to absorb the force, then immediately throw it back. You can also step forward with one foot as you throw the ball for more power.
Two-Hand Overhead Throw
The two-hand overhead throw is also a relatively low-intensity plyometric exercise. Stand approximately 10 feet from your partner or the rebounder, with your feet about shoulder width. Hold a medicine ball in two hands and raise the ball overhead. Begin with a countermovement by moving the ball back slightly. Throw the ball, extending your elbows completely at the end of the throw. As your partner or the rebounder returns the ball to you, catch it overhead and immediately throw it back.
Throwing with one arm is more intense than throwing with two, so start with a lighter weight. Stand about 10 feet from your partner or the rebounder, with your feet shoulder width. Hold the ball in one hand. Your arm should be out to the side, with your elbow bent and your forearm vertical. Begin the throw by cocking your arm, moving the ball back slightly, then throw it to your partner or the rebounder. Catch the ball in the starting position and immediately throw it back.
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; National Strength and Conditioning Association
- Therapeutic Exercise for Athletic Injuries; Peggy Houglum
Joe Miller started writing professionally in 1991. He specializes in writing about health and fitness and has written for "Fit Yoga" magazine and the New York Times City Room blog. He holds a master's degree in applied physiology from Columbia University, Teacher's College.