Medicine ball exercises are a form of strength training. They help athletes increase endurance and perform moves that could be difficult or impossible with other forms of free weights. If you are thinking about incorporating this form of exercise into your routine, this brief overview should help you decide whether or not it is the right choice for you.
I personally love using a medicine ball in my workouts and I've included links below to two workouts by one of my very favorite trainers, David Kirsch. David utilizes a medicine ball with many of his exercises.
You only need a 4 lb medicine ball and believe me, it makes a huge difference in the results you'll receive in such a short time from your workouts.
Remember, I've had four babies (three of them C-sections in the past four years), and let me tell you, David's workouts combined with a medicine ball have whipped me back into pre-baby shape fast!
Now, back to the technical stuff... these weighted balls are typically 14 inches in diameter, similar to the size of a basketball. They are sold in various weights from 2 to 25 pounds. You should always choose a ball that is not too heavy for your current level of physical fitness.
As you would with free weights, start out with a lighter weight and work your way up. Using a ball that is too heavy increases your chance of physical injury and hyperextension.
There are a variety of different medicine ball exercises. They are commonly used to increase resistance or raise the level of achievement. For example, a person that has worked up to numerous crunches per day, but has stopped making gains in abdominal fitness, can simply hold a ball between his hands as he performs the crunches.
To improve the appearance and muscularity of the oblique abdominal muscles, you can do medicine ball obliques. Here's how that goes.
Lie on your back and raise your legs with your knees bent. Place the ball between your knees. For balance and form, put your arms out on the floor, at a 90-degree angle from your body, palms flat on the floor.
Now, rotate your knees to the left, as far as possible. Return to the center and rotate to the right. With 8-10 reps and 1-3 sets, you should begin to see new gains in the appearance of the obliques, as well as increased flexibility in side-to-side movements.
You may realize that the above movement is a standard abdominal oblique exercise. The medicine ball simply adds weight and resistance. Some medicine ball exercises are more unique and work the entire body. Slams are an example.
To do a slam, you would choose a ball that you can raise above your head with relative ease. You stand with your feet parallel and your knees slightly bent. Raise the medicine ball above and behind your head, being careful not to overextend. Then "slam" the ball down on the ground, using as much force as possible. Catch it on the bounce. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Medicine ball exercises are not a new idea. They've been around for centuries. This could be a fun and effective workout to add to your routine.