Have You Got the Balls?
Some bounce, some have handles and some have ropes attached to them. Modern medicine balls now come in an amazing array of sizes, colours and weights.
However, the original prototypes (produced some 3000 years ago) were not so attractive. Made out of animal bladders and stuffed with sand, they’re thought to have been used in training by Persian warriors, Hippocrates, and ancient Chinese martial arts masters, to name but a few.
So Why are They Called Medicine Balls?
Moving forward into the 19th century, ball training became a popular workout feature in the gymnasiums. At this time, the words “health” and “medicine” were synonymous, and the term “medicine ball” is believed to originate from this period.
More recently, hi-tech gadgets and complex machines have taken over in our gyms. However, the humble medicine ball is now making a come back, as the benefits of functional training are seen as being increasingly important.
Time to Take Your Medicine
Medicine ball training is really adaptable and can be used for beginners, weekend warriors and endurance athletes alike.
Using a few differently weighted balls, you can beef-up circuit training sessions and traditional exercises to create tough, stamina-building workouts. It's a really efficient way to develop your speed, strength, balance, and endurance.
They're also perfect for beginners and are a fun tool for those wanting just to get into shape and vary their workouts. Medicine ball training uses your muscles in a similar way to when you're lifting objects in everyday life (eg children, shopping etc) so it is much more practical than using dumbbells.
Medicine balls can also be a really efficient form of sports specific training. With a bit of imagination, they can be used to simulate and help improve golf and tennis swings, swimming strokes, and football and basketball techniques. Runners can also train with the ball to push their core rotational muscles.
You can work your whole body or just target specific areas, and they're an ideal tool for improving your core power and stability. Practically everything you do with a medicine ball will work your core muscles to some extent. So whether you're lifting, throwing, squatting, crunching, pressing, or twisting with them, your abs should be fired-up too!
Start-off with some lightweight balls and keep the movements slow whilst you focus on your technique. After a few training sessions, you can speed up the actions, but remember to maintain good control at all times.
Make sure you get proper instruction on technique as even lightweight medicine balls can cause injury.
So whether you're a beginner, seasoned exerciser needing some inspiration or training for the Tough Guy event, it's time you added some balls to your workouts!