Muscles Targeted: Shuttle pass sprints using a medicine ball is a great exercise for targeting the entire body. Since you’re exploding and pushing a medicine ball with this exercise, several core muscle groups are engaged including the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques and the transverse abdominis. Other muscles targeted include the calves, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and quads, which are all strengthened with this movement. This exercise also targets the biceps, triceps, pecs (chest), trapezius, and deltoid muscles to a lesser extent. Doing shuttle pass sprints will not only strengthen your muscles, but will increase your agility, speed and overall endurance.
Exercise Advice: Grab a medicine ball with both hands and position yourself in a four-point football stance with both hands securely on the medicine ball with it touching the ground. Explode out of the four-point stance and simultaneously execute a two-handed chest pass to your workout partner (or wall) positioned about 10 feet away. Follow up your pass by continuing to sprint for 20-40 yards. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.
Things To Avoid: When performing shuttle pass sprints, you risk injuring your back and straining the muscles in your neck, hips, groin and legs. It is imperative to use correct form no matter what exercise you’re performing. Below are some tips on how to use the proper technique and stay safe while doing shuttle pass sprints:
- Since this is an exercise to target your core, it’s absolutely crucial that you always have the abdominal muscles activated and engaged during the range of motion. Just like you don’t want to lift anything heavy with only your back, you definitely don’t want to execute the medicine ball pass this way either.
- When you move out of the four-point stance to pass the medicine ball, pay attention to the stance of your lunge. In this lunge, the trunk of your body is supporting you when you pass the medicine ball. With the abdominal muscles engaged, your upper body should be nearly perpendicular to your lower body, making sure you aren’t leaning the upper body forward too much. You don’t want to lean back in an effort to remain upright either. With the lunge, the knee of your front leg should not pass over your toes. The line from the ankle to the knee needs to be straight to ensure proper form. Letting the knee pass over the toes is dangerous and could result in injuring the knee.
- It is critical you are using a medicine ball of appropriate weight. A ball that is too light won’t offer enough resistance, and a ball that is too heavy can result in improper technique. As you get stronger you’ll be able to advance to a heavier medicine ball.
- Shuttle pass sprints should be performed in a safe environment. A running track or a gym is ideal. Unless you’re training for an outdoor sport or activity that may require you to work in the rain, avoid performing this exercise on wet grass or turf.
- Always stretch and warm-up before any workout to avoid straining your muscles.
- Never workout to complete exhaustion and avoid overtraining.
Reps and Sets: The suggested repetitions for shuttle pass sprints vary depending on the components of the rest of your workout routine and your current fitness level. If you want to increase speed, agility and endurance as well as strengthen your core, implement shuttle pass sprints into your workout at least 1-3 times a week. Beginners should start off with 1-2 sets of 6-8 reps and advanced individuals should focus on doing 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps.
Other Exercises To Use: Here is a variation of shuttle pass sprints you can use if the focus of your workout is rotational strength:
- In a quarter-squat position, hold the medicine ball at chest level with your arms straight. Swing the ball to one side by rotating the hips and torso, and then rotate in the opposite direction. Do a set of 6 rotations, 3 on each side, and then throw the ball laterally, sprinting 40 yards in the direction the ball was thrown.