The medicine ball is a master of versatility. What else can you toss, bounce, lift and throw in the pool? (Yes, they float!) In the past, medicine balls were used exclusively by athletes and strength coaches, but now, you’ll see them in almost every health club, workout class and sporting goods shelve. If you’re new to the medicine ball or need a refresher, we’ve broken down the ins and outs of this awesome gear:
Function. Medicine ball workouts increase your muscular strength, up your endurance and improve your stability. Unlike weight machine exercise, you’re not fixed to a single plane of movement. Thus, the swinging, throwing and rotating will prepare your body for realistic motions and help prevent injuries. And since many medicine ball motions include explosive movements, your power for all types of sports-based movements will also increase.
Size. Medicine balls can be found in weights ranging from 2 lbs to 30 lbs, but which ball you should grab depends on your workout. A 4 to 10 lb ball is great for tossing exercises, an 8 to 15 lb ball will give you a good abdominal core workout, and for leg exercises that build hamstrings and quads, go big with 15 to 30 lbs.
The Signature Move. The possibilities are limitless, but if you only have time to add one med ball move into your workout today, the Overhead Slam is a must. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent. Lift the medicine ball overhead with both hands, bend at the hips, and slam the ball on the ground directly in front of you. Keep slamming at a high speed for 30 seconds. Rest 10 seconds. Repeat 2 more times. This move not only works your entire body, but is a great cardio burst that gets your heart rate up!
Grab a medicine ball and get going!