Med Ball Power Jerk (How To and Alternatives)


Med Ball Power Jerks

Med Ball Power Jerks are a great med ball exercise to develop upper body power. The Med Ball Power Jerk mimics the same movement pattern as a Power Jerk with the barbell.

They are great both in addition to barbell jerks within a complete strength and conditioning program and also as a teaching tool to learn body positions for new lifters before advancing to the bar.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Med Ball Power Jerks, coaching points and alternatives.


How To Do Med Ball Power Jerks


Equipment Needed

  • Medicine Ball

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Make sure you have clearance above you to throw the ball. (Either outside or inside with high ceilings)
  • Grab a medicine ball and stand tall with feet roughly hip-width apart.
  • Med Ball should be at the chest. Hands under the ball, palms facing towards one another.
  • Perform a 4 to 6-inch dip of the knees and hips, keeping the torso vertical and feet flat-footed on the ground.
  • Now, aggressively drive up, fully extending through the hips, knees and ankles and push/throw the ball as high as possible.
  • Allow the ball to hit the ground before resetting for the next rep. Trying to catch the ball out of the air is a good way to jam a wrist or finger.

Coaching Points

Drive through both arms equally. There is a natural tendency to allow your dominant arm to take over and shift more underneath the ball. Make sure you’re staying balanced with each rep.

Med Ball Exercises like Med Ball Power Jerks are great movements for athletes to build explosive power. I recommend incorporating them early in your workouts while you’re still fresh to maximize power output.

If you’re already familiar with Wall Balls that are used extensively in CrossFit, a Med Ball Power Jerk is very similar. The differences are that it starts with a quick dip as opposed to a full squat and you throw the ball as high as possible each rep instead of aiming for a target.


Med Ball Power Jerk Alternatives


Don’t have a medicine ball or a convenient place to throw it overhead? Here are a few alternatives you can use to build upper body power.

Power Jerk

Power Jerks, allow with other similar barbell movements, are some of the best exercises for building upper body power.

Yes, they are more technical and it may take some time to become proficient, but it’s well worth the time investment. Start with a slightly less complex variation like Push Press and then move on to more complex variations as you become better with the technique.

Dumbbell Jerks

More technical than Med Ball Jerks, but easier to learn than Barbell Jerks – DB Power Jerks can work perfectly in a learning progression. The same techniques still apply as with all the other Jerk variations, just with dumbbells.

Plyo Push Ups

One of the best (and simplest) exercises for building upper body power is the Plyo Push-Up. Even better, they require zero equipment to do.

Plyo (short for plyometric) Push Ups are Push Ups where you drive yourself up off the ground each rep. Some lifters like to add a clap in between reps which is totally okay.


More Links and Info


If you’d like to check out more Olympic Lifts, along with their variations, make sure to head over to the Olympic Lifts Section of our Exercise Library.

Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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