Exercise For Confidence: Triple Extension Ball Slam

Exercise For Confidence: Triple Extension Ball Slam

We all want POWER.

Whether that is being the most powerful dictator in the world, the most powerful nuclear arsenal, the most powerful investment banker, the most powerful Barbie doll collector, or the most powerful Olympic curling champion, we can argue that is is in our innate framework to want to be POWERFUL.


God damnit. I’ve already exhausted the word “powerful” for a post that is all about POWER.

Fuck. Did it again.

Moving on…

As strength coaches, we program (insert overused word here) these exercises for several reasons:

– They improve rate coding and neuromuscular response.
– They enhance cardiovascular function and teach body to produce energy efficiently.
– They increase fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment.
– They translate well to anaerobic sports.
– They improve our capacity to fight zombies.

And I’m willing to bet the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research will come out with a study confirming the last one. ;-0

Done correctly, power exercises provide a multitude of benefits for athletes and non-athletes alike. Overall, coaches are diligent when teaching the big rock lifts – power clean, snatches, and jerks – to ensure athletes aren’t crossfitting getting herniated discs. Certainly, these are important to put on our work out menu if we want to become beasts.

On the other end, and equally as effective, we program power exercises using medicine balls. Some coaches use medicine ball work because it is more appropriate for their audience (i.e. overhead athletes, senior citizens, or criminals with anger management issues).


But also: throwing a ball is a simple exercise. Well, sometimes.

You’d be surprised how many coaches and their clients lose sight of the purpose of the move and throw the ball around like a rag doll. For most, it’s a way to let out anger and throw shit aimlessly. And for others, it’s a way to frolick on the beach, look like a basic white girl, and not understand the functional anatomy of the exercise.

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Not to shit on the Tone It Up girls, as I commend them for building a brand and inspiring women to move more, but I’ve found when a client truly understands the purpose of a medicine ball slam, they work harder, are less susceptible to injury, and are able to generate more power and hone athleticism. All win-wins in my book.

That brings me to this week’s Exercise For Confidence: Triple Extension Medicine Ball Slam.

It’s nothing revolutionary, but the coaching cues are definitely worth noting.

 Why It’s Awesome:

– Trains triple extension of the ankles, knees, and hips – a critical movement pattern that translates to running, accelerating, and jumping like a BOSS.
– Expounding further, if a client is NOT ready for the Olympic lifts, this is an excellent substitute.
– Forces client to *own* the hip hinge pattern.
– Allows client to feel hip extension. I find that this is the toughest part of teaching the Olympic lifts, so to get a client to feel this position with a medicine ball slam is a great regression.
– The transfer of force from the lower to upper extremities is greater. And that’s the secret sauce to power. Am I right or am I right?

Enjoy and go toss slam some balls.

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