Popularly incorporated into fitness regimen and sports practice, a medicine ball is also popular as the fitness ball, mead ball and exercise ball. Medicine balls are believed to have been used by Persian athletes to improve strength and stamina about 3000 years ago.
The early version of the medicine ball was made with animal skin and stuffed with sand. The father of medicine, Hippocrates recommended its use for rehabilitation and training.
Medicine balls are used for rehab, prevention of injuries and strengthening. Medicine ball exercises are important for developing sport-specific power. They can be used as part of circuit training format or plyometrics program. Medicine balls are used to increase the strength of core muscles.
Medicine balls are generally constructed from leather or vinyl covered nylon cloth. They are filled with impact-absorbing material so as to gain weight. Vinyl-covered medicine balls are usually filled with sand and are not used for exercises that include bouncing. Choose your exercise medicine ball to suit the specific recommendations from a trainer or physical therapist.
Medicine ball exercises
Medicine ball exercise can help in burning fat and building muscle. People looking at building certain muscle groups can benefit immensely from medicine ball exercises.
Lateral flexion overhead
Standing triceps extension
Benefits of medicine ball exercises
Medicine ball weight
The weight of the ball used should be based on requirements of the individual and his/her fitness levels. The weight of a medicine ball varies from 2 to 25 pounds and 14 inches in diameter.
Heavyweight balls: Heavy medicine balls are used by athletes who train extensively. The extra weight contributes towards strength training, by providing more work to muscles during a variety of exercises. Medicine balls may be used in different exercise forms such as spinning, aerobic dancing, Pilates and yoga.
Lightweight balls: Beginners can use a medicine ball that is lighter. Using heavy balls could cause injury while exercising with it. Lighter balls are used for athletes who have been injured.
Medicine ball exercises for women
Women can use medicine balls to enhance their exercise schedule. Instead of using machine weights to stabilize the muscles, women can use medicine balls. Using moderate to heavy weight balls helps in building strong muscles.
Sit and squeeze
Double grip medicine ball
A double grip medicine ball, as the name suggests has two grips to hold on. The grips are located on either side of the ball. They are attached permanently to the ball. There are versatile medicine balls in which the handles can be attached or removed based on the requirements of the exercise. The handles on the medicine ball facilitate easy swinging thereby making it easy to perform a broad range of exercises.
More number of exercises can be performed using a double grip ball. The double grip gives an option of holding the ball in front of the chest; while also increasing resistance during sit-ups, lunges and squats. Apart from the above, a double grip medicine ball works wonders for chopping and overhead shoulder presses as these exercises require both hands grip.
Benefits of double grip medicine balls
The perfect medicine ball for core training.
Medicine ball abs
If you wish to target your core abdominal muscles, take up medicine ball abs exercises. A medicine ball can be used to specifically target a core area of the abdomen and work on that specific area. A large variety of movements can be tailored to increase strength and tone the muscles.
Trunk rotations with medicine ball
Crunch and toe touch