Medicine ball work for speed training and sprinting

Medicine ball work for speed training and sprinting

 ( Photo of Angela Coon with her son ~ early 2000 Santa Barbara CA )


Medicine ball work and speed training and sprint training 

I am not able to say enough good things about using the medicine ball for speed training and sprint training. 

This blog is based on a medicine ball workout I did with Charlie for 30 years. We used it for my quest to improve as a National team hurdler and we shared the drills and coaching with athletes, clients and coaches around the world.  I still use this workout for myself and I teach this workout to anyone willing to learn.

See GPP download, and The Charlie Francis Training System for other medicine ball for speed training content. 

    1. Chest pass
      this exercise you can do with a partner or against a cement wall. You can also do from your knees or seated to your partner, against the wall or one of the people are standing and you are sitting with feet in the air.

    2. side pass
      see the charlie francis training manual to learn why side and rotational work is needed and essential for sprinting and speed work. Start with lighter medball and progress over time. It's easy to hurt yourself with heavier weight

    3. sit up, roll back and throw 
      A great combination exercise, easy to do and even easier to excel at quickly. 

    4. Circles around the body
      think standing squat but even better as you taking the weight or a med ball  and suspending it around your body and behind your head. It helps work general strength for fitness as well as mobility. Of all the exercises so far, this exercise is the most intense but remains low intensity. 

    5. Down on either side
      keep your feet together and your legs straight and you will feel the stretch behind the knees. Tightness behind the knees leads to issues with all tissue around the knees and the hips. Tightness of ham strings and calves and feet will lead to silly injuries in your knees and you can prevent them easily if and when you build stretching into your drills and exercises like med ball workouts. 

    6. Circles around the head
      The temptation is for more and everyone believes more is better. The flow of training in sprinting is essential. You need to mix the high and the low and avoid anything in between. The reason you need to do this is there must be enough energy to have and use your 101 percent. Sprinting requires intense burst of your awesomeness. If all you are doing is go, go, go, no amount of learning or instruction or analysis will help you. Go high and go low and don't mess with medium intensity work. This exercise is meant to easily help you develop all those muscles you might be getting Oly lifting but you don't need Oly lifting until you are close to being an Oly candidate. First you need to get fit. Be more interested in max extension and max mobility in this exercise. Scott is rushing and Scott is not maxing out on his flexibility. Scott did too much Oly lifting with his other trainer 2 x per week against the advice of Charlie. Personal training clients are right because they pay big bucks. Athletes who want to tell their coaches what to do will never make big bucks because they have no trust. Ben knew when to stop. Most of the others did not. The rest, they say is history. 

    7. donkey kicks
      Again, the knee needs to come to the chest, not just out the back. The entire hip joint needs as much range of motion as you can handle. When coaching the person doing this workout you need to remind them like a broken record to slow down and get full range. Scott was always tight. Scott was getting 4 massages per week and sometimes massage before training and after. No amount of therapy will make up for stupid life habits or bad training that you the coach or trainer are not able to control.

    8. circles around the body / 2nd set ( see exercise 4 above)

    9. push ups
      A standard add in for anyone fit enough to handle this. Shave the numbers to keep quality excellent. Never compromise quality for any of your coaching or training. 

    10. Down on either side / 2nd set but varied.
      V legs is a good way to change up this exercise. Make sure the athlete is taking the ball to as far left and as far right as possible.

      *NOTE Charlie's comments at 9:44 into this video about Generalized, low intensity training. This comment is critical to your understanding about speed and sprint training. Why? Because it is so often overlooked. The training at that pretend center in texas is total bs by the way. Client does not need to know this but you as the coach or trainer needs to know this. 

    11. Seated side to side
      we used to do 1000 at a time or sets of 100 to top off work for the day. *NOTE Charlie's comments about the NB of the side to side and seated side to side work @ 10 minutes 39 seconds in this download. Start this exercise with light ball and go for higher numbers. DO NOT start this drill with heavy ball. You will hurt someone easily. 

    12. Circle around the head. 
      you can use a light dumb bell as the ball makes it tougher but the range using the ball is so much better. Again, use lighter ball as this exercise rocks and is very helpful for the entire posterior chain. 

    13. seated throws 
      Start the numbers low, say sets of 10 or 20 and then repeat the set in the circuit. Always better to start slow and small and build over time. Keeps the athlete safe. Injuries are time expensive for everyone and they lower moral. 

    14. x leg left and right
      another very good exercise to get the athlete used to twisting for speed training. 

    No comments at this time regarding explosive med ball and how it fits in. Stay tuned. 

    "Sprint your own life and race" 
    "In order to keep pace, stay safe"...." injuries happen but you can prevent them".

    Coach Angé 


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Hey I knew that picture looked familiar, my hometown track!

Cody Bidlow

Dear Coach Angela,
thank you for the fantastic information! Your blog is by far the best you can find on training!

How many circuits did you do with the medball routine?
Did you do tempo work with medball exc. as “rest” like in the push up/sit up workout?
What’s the triple fin jump (can’t read the word exactly) from the jumps Routine of your last blog?

Maybe some day you’ll find some time and give me a short reply!
Thank you and keep up the great work!

Greetings from Innsbruck/Austria!
Martin Schneider

Martin Schneider

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