Enhancing overall fitness and an athlete's general work capacity should be a year-round goal of any athlete. One way for an athlete to build up this ability to do work or play longer is by performing low intensity medicine ball tempo exercises paired with an athletic movement and followed by a sport skill.
Below we have laid out a sample medicine ball circuit with examples and a 3-week progression for athletes working their way into shape. Simple and effective, these circuits will give you enough of a foundation of conditioning to layer strength and power training without pounding your legs from excessive running. To perform the circuits, athletes will need a 6-10lb. rubber medicine ball, cones marking a 15-20 yard distance, and a wall to throw the medicine ball against.
Sample Circuit for Basketball
(Using half court distance for movement & skill component)
- Chest Pass x 20 reps + Forward & Backwards Skip + Between The Legs Dribbling
- Overhead Throw x 20 reps + Side Shuffle + Behind The Back Dribbling
- Overhead Slam x 20 reps + Carioca + In & Out Dribbling
- Facing Side Throw x 10 reps/side + Sprint & Backpedal + Side Dribbling
- Cyclone Slam x 10 reps/side + Single Leg Hop + 2 Dribble Crossover Dribbling
- Scoop Throw x 20 reps + Lateral Skip + Reverse Between The Leg Dribbling
Week 1: 15 Minutes Continuous Rounds -> 3 Minute Rest -> 15 Minutes Continuous Rounds
Week 2: 20 Minutes Continuous Rounds -> 3 Minute Rest -> 20 Minutes Continuous Rounds
Week 3: 20 Minutes Continuous Rounds -> 90 Second Rest -> 20 Minutes Continuous Rounds
Based on the sample circuit the athlete would perform 20 medicine ball chest passes, skips out to half court and back, and between the legs dribbling out to half court and back continuously without any rest period before moving onto the next block of exercises and completing that block in the same fashion. One round would be the completion of all 6 combination blocks. One important factor to be aware of is that all lateral movements (carioca, side dribbling, etc. from above) are done facing the same direction as the athlete travels down and back to ensure they are training both sides.
A benefit of using this template is that it gives you plenty of options to manipulate to make the training session easier or harder, depending on your starting point. The first change could be increasing or decreasing the weight of the medicine ball you are using. The accessibility and versatility of the medicine ball make this a great method to build athletic performance while maintaining sport skills.