Muscles Targeted: The shot put exercise primarily targets the core muscles which include the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and the transverse abdominis. The obliques are the muscles working hardest in this version of the shot put. When pushing the medicine ball away from you, you’re strengthening the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and the triceps brachii. While this shot put exercise with a medicine ball doesn’t incorporate a spin or glide, you’re still using the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and hip flexors to a lesser degree.
Exercise Advice: Grab a medicine ball with both hands and hold it back and to the side of one shoulder. Stand with a slightly wider than shoulder width stance and point your opposite hip and shoulder toward your workout partner (or a wall) and throw the medicine just like a shot put (up and out as far as you can). You can also perform this exercise without a partner and simply toss the medicine ball against a solid wall, as seen in the exercise demonstration above. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions and repeat with the opposite side.
Things To Avoid: When performing the shot put, you risk injuring your shoulders, wrists and knees. Correct form and technique while executing this movement is always crucial. Below are some tips on how to use correct form and stay safe when performing the shot put with a medicine ball:
- This is a core exercise, so it’s imperative to keep your abdominal muscles engaged the entire time. If you aren’t thinking about tightening your abs, they’re probably not fully engaged.
- Since you’re not spinning or gliding in this exercise, the feet should remain a little wider than shoulder-width apart with the knees and toes aligned. There should be no deviation from this stance. During this exercise, your legs shouldn’t be completely straight, so keep a slight bend in your knees. Keeping your legs straight will decrease your range of motion which is something you want to avoid.
- Make sure to maintain good posture with a straight back. If your back isn’t straight, your abdominal muscles definitely aren’t engaged. Disregarding rigid abs or good posture can cause back injuries.
- When doing this exercise, make sure to follow through completely. Not following through is something that can cause you injury in several ways. You risk hurting your back, knees and straining any muscle being used in this exercise.
- Avoid overexercising when doing the shot put. You should never workout to complete exhaustion and overtraining with this exercise can cause shoulder injuries that can be hard to bounce back from.
- Always stretch and warm-up before any workout to avoid straining your muscles. For this exercise, you need to particularly focus on stretching out your shoulders. This will help you avoid injuries and will increase flexibility. Increased flexibility will give you a larger range of motion.
- Don’t let the elbows drop down too far. Dropping the elbows puts unnecessary strain on the shoulders and rotator cuff.
- This may seem obvious, but it’s critical you choose a medicine ball of appropriate weight. A ball that weighs too little won’t offer enough resistance and a ball that is too heavy can compromise your form which will do more harm than good. As you get stronger, you’ll have the pleasurable experience of upgrading to a heavier medicine ball.
- While exercising, it’s common to unconsciously hold your breath. Remember to take natural breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. It feels natural to inhale on the windup and exhale on the exertion point.
Reps and Sets: A good place to start as a beginner is 2-3 total sets of 6-8 repetitions on each side. Once you advance, you can increase this to 4-5 sets of 12-20 reps. You know your body’s limits and you should never workout to complete exhaustion.
Other Exercises To Use: If you like this exercise, or are interested in other core workouts that utilize a medicine ball, check out other effective exercises like Wall Throws, Side Throws and Two Handed Hammer Throws for excellent choices for additional movements that target your core muscles.