Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Medicine Ball Madness

Medicine Ball Madness
By []Kaleena A Lawless

I love medicine balls! They are great for strength, power and agility training. They're not just used to throw at a boxer's stomachs, you know!

Medicine balls have been around since ancient times. They were used by athletes such as wrestlers and on the other end of the spectrum, Hippocrates' rehabilitation patients.

Medicine balls typically come in weights ranging from 2-25 lbs and can be made from various materials. Some look basketballs, some like Pilates balls and other are made from leather.

You can use the medicine ball simply as added resistance to basic exercises such as squats and lunges. Or as a substitute for free weights, like for tricep extensions and bicep curls. Alternately you can combine the basics with the free weight exercises comfortably with the ball to form some pretty badass compound exercises. My favourite compounds with the medicine balls are:

lunge + tricep extensions

walking lunges + twisting for the abs

squat + bicep curl + shoulder raise

Using the ball this way really gets your heart going and definitely makes you sweat.

Medicine balls are commonly known for power training. When I train outdoors I do a drill where I throw the ball out from my chest as hard as I can, sprint to it, throw it overhead and repeat. This really works your chest, arms, shoulders, abs and legs. With a lighter med ball I lay on my back, throw it up in to the air and catch it. However, you have to have good hand-eye co-ordination for this one and also, know how to get away from the ball, in case you can't catch it!

Medicine balls are also great for ab work. Adding a little resistance to your crunches puts on muscle and holding on to the ball is more comfortable than a free weight. Pretty much any crunch you can do, can be enhanced with a medicine ball. Try your crunches with a medicine AND stability ball. The possibilities are truly endless!

Medicine balls are affordable, transportable and durable. They make a great addition to home gyms, outdoor training and are a great way to take your workout up a notch.

Try it!

Kaleena Lawless

Personal Training Specialist

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