Medicine Ball Cannonball Throws (Complete How To Guide)

Med Ball Cannonball Throws are an excellent movement to add to any workout plan. It’s a beginner-friendly explosive exercise that is great on its own and as part of a teaching progression working toward the Olympic lifts.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Med Ball Cannonballs, including important coaching tips and a few alternate exercises you can try as well.

How To Do Med Ball Cannonballs

Equipment Needed

  • Medicine Ball

Muscles Worked

  • Medicine Ball Cannonball Throws are a total body exercise that involves almost every major muscle group.

How To

  • First, make sure you have enough ceiling height to be able to do Cannonballs. I recommend doing them outside to avoid this issue altogether.
  • Grab the ball with both hands cradling under the ball. Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Pull the shoulder blades back, engage the lats and core, slightly bend the knees and hinge forward at the hips.
  • Allow the medicine ball to fall in between the shins.
  • You should now be in a good athletic position that looks very similar to the starting position of a Hang Clean.
  • From here, explosively drive the feet through the ground and aggressively extend the hips and throw the ball as high as possible*.
  • Allow the ball to hit the ground, grab it, then reset and repeat.

Coaching Points

Do NOT try to catch the ball directly out of the air. This is a great way to jam a wrist or a finger. Allow the ball to hit the ground first before grabbing it for the next rep.

*Cannonball Throws can either be done straight up in the air or behind you to a partner. If working with a partner, stand facing away from them and throw the ball at about a 45 degree angle. The goal is to throw the ball as far as possible in the air.

Medicine Ball Cannonball Alternatives

Don’t have a medicine ball? Here are a few alternative exercises you may be able to try out instead.

Hang Power Clean

Hang Power Clean (1)

A Hang Power Clean and a Med Ball Cannonball are very similar exercises, one done with a medicine ball and one done with a barbell.

Both are designed to develop explosive hip power. If you don’t have a medicine ball and you feel comfortable with your Hang Clean technique, this would be my first recommendation for a substitute.

Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Swing

If you’re not confident with your Olympic lifting technique, that’s okay, you may be able to try Kettlebell Swings instead.

Kettlebell Swings are another movement focusing on hip drive. However, the exercise is less technical and more beginner-friendly.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a kettlebell, you can use a dumbbell instead. Just grab the head of a dumbbell and away you go.

More Links and Info

If you’d like to see more Olympic lifts and Olympic lift variations, head over to the Olympic Lifts section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of exercises, all with complete detailed instructions.


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