Remember the Medicine Ball?

Exercise and training fads come and go, but many of them worked then and would work now if you pull them out of the closet. Remember the medicine ball?

This weighted ball seems to have highs and lows in popularity, but persists through the ages – as well it should. Exercising with a medicine ball actually dates back to ancient Persia. If you have not picked one up lately, here are some reasons to consider varying your exercise routine with medicine balls – besides the fact that they are fun.

  • Medicine ball throwing exercises can be performed with minimum end-of-movement deceleration. That end-of-movement deceleration is a drawback of many power weight training exercises.1 
  • Medicine ball workouts can be done in angles and rotations that may be neglected in typical strength and conditioning programs.
  • Medicine ball training serves as a good way to accomplish sport-specific movements with greater resistance and explosive force than routine practice.
  • Sports and conditioning specialists consider medicine ball training to be a particular advantage as a component in training for rotational power sports. This includes sports such as cricket, baseball, softball, hockey, lacrosse, tennis, and golf.2  

With any exercise, proper form and proper conditioning before intensity increases is important. This may be even more so with the medicine ball. Strengthening, flexibility, and then progression (all with proper form) prove important for minimizing the risk of strains, especially in movements that are novel to the person exercising.

References

  1. Newton RU, Murphy AJ, Humphries BJ, Wilson GJ, Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K. Influence of load and stretch shortening cycle on the kinematics, kinetics and muscle activation that occurs during explosive upper-body movements. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology. (4):333-42.
  2. Earp JE, Kraemer WJ. Medicine ball training implications for rotational power sports. Strength & Conditioning Journal. 2010 Aug 1;32(4):20-5.

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