Medicine Ball Overhead Throws

Medicine Ball Overhead Throws

Are you searching for an exercise that will truly challenge you? One might dare say, one exercise to rule them all… If so, medicine ball overhead throws might be just what your workout regimen is needing.

Medicine ball overhead throws are a great way to test your strength and stamina. It’s the perfect mixture of muscle building and cardio — your heart rate will definitely be up and your muscles will be burning (the good kind of burn). Cardio + muscle toning = a win-win scenario.  So, what is this exercise phenomenon and how does it work?

Medicine Ball Overhead Throw Variations

First things first, there are two different variations for doing medicine ball overhead throws. The first variation, bodybuilders,  and college athletes seem to do more. It’s a fan-favorite for strength and conditioning coaches. But obviously a bit more intense. If you’re more like me and just searching for a challenging exercise, but not quite at the bodybuilder level, there’s a variation for you too!

Variation 1

  • Hold the medicine ball at chest height with your arms fully extended
  • Do a semi-squat and bring the medicine ball between your legs
  • Explosively jump out of squat position and throw the ball granny style overhead behind you against a wall
  • Turn around and catch the ball from the rebound
  • Repeat

Variation 2

  • Stand 2 to 3 feet away from a wall with your feet hip-distance apart
  • Hold the medicine ball overhead
  • Keeping the abs engaged, bring the medicine ball behind your head with both hands and thrust your arms forward, throwing the ball into the wall
  • Catch medicine ball off the wall
  • Repeat

Benefits of Medicine Ball Overhead Throws

Medicine Ball Overhead Throw

As you can likely tell, medicine ball overhead throws engage the entire body and produce quite a bit of force. From that force comes various muscular benefits including:

  1. Medicine ball overhead throws are a full body exercise
  2. Improves coordination and stability throughout the body
  3. Prepares the body for high intensity and explosive, full body exercise
  4. Helps tone and lean out the muscles
  5. Burns calories
  6. Improves functional fitness

Muscles Targeted

Medicine ball overhead throws are a killer full-body exercise. Because they work both the upper and lower body, many people throw this into their weekly workout regimen to feel some added burn. Muscles targeted during medicine ball throws include:

Medicine Ball Overhead Throw

  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Calves
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Lats
  • Hamstrings
  • Abs


Not sure if you are ready for medicine ball overhead throws? That’s understandable. Depending on the type of weight you use, a medicine ball can get really heavy – really quick! If you’re searching for a way to still do the exercise in a modified way, then a stability ball will be your new best friend.

Medicine Ball Overhead Throw

That’s right! Replace a medicine ball with a stability ball to perform a medicine ball overhead throw in a way that’s adjusted to your workout level. Once you’ve conquered the stability ball like a champ, you can start using medicine balls. Before you know it, you’ll be throwing a 20 pound medicine ball overhead!


Medicine ball overhead throws are a great exercise that consists of both strength building and cardio.

There are two different styles or variations.  The first variation is used a lot by strength & conditioning coaches and athletes.   In the first variation, you hold the med ball at chest height, do a semi-squat and lower the ball between your legs.  Then using your legs and core, explosively jump out of the squat and throw the ball overhead behind you.

In the second variation, distance yourself 2-3 feet from a wall.  Raise the medicine ball overhead.  While engaging your abs and glutes, throw the ball into the wall.  Catch the ball off the wall and repeat.

If you’re not at a level where you feel comfortable throwing a medicine ball, you can modify the exercise and use a stability ball instead.  As time goes on, you can progress into throwing lighter weight medicine balls!

Photo of author

Gabrielle McNair

I am obsessed with all things related to fitness and personal health. Outside of that, I enjoy spending time with my husband, being outdoors and traveling.

4 Steps To Ultimate Ball Taps

5 Ways To Become a Certified Personal Trainer