Medicine ball exercises are a fantastic way to get a great workout, no matter your fitness goal; that much is for sure. But, to really make the most for them, it;’s always a good idea to do a little homework before using them.
They have a range of benefits you can take advantage of, and they help in ways you wouldn’t imagine. You can use them instead of dumbbells or kettlebells and even do completely unique exercises with them. The ball is in your court (so sorry).
To get the ball rolling (that’s 2), let’s look at why medicine balls and their exercises are so useful.
Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.
Medicine Ball Benefits
The first thing when looking at medicine balls and their practicality is the variation of sizes that they have to offer. Each of them has its benefits, after all.
The standard weight range of the balls is between 2Kg and 10Kg. It’s still possible to find others, probably not easily. The balls tend to be one general size and only really vary in weight. Generally, they’re about the size of the width of your shoulders.
Medicine balls vary in size, but they’re versatile too. Each of the different sizes we mentioned above has a different effect on your training. For example, heavier balls might be easier for lifting exercises, whereas the lighter balls might be just the thing you need for ab exercises and throwing moves.
There are tons of different medicine ball exercises, but we’ll go on to that below. On top of that, there are new twists on old exercises like Russian twists, which make medicine balls a generally awesome little tool to have. So don’t write them off.
One particularly excellent feature of medicine balls is the styles of training they offer you. Here, we mean power training. Many of the exercises that come with heavier balls are just what the doctor ordered for power moves.
What we mean by this si that they’re perfect for plyometric training. The use of twitch muscle fibres to instantly create a huge amount of power and launch weight. That comes with slams and throws in particular.
Another common use aside from increasing stopping power is also one of the most common uses in fighting and other sports.
These balls can be used as impact replication to various muscle groups like the abs during boxing training. That helps to train resistance, impact damage control, and improve performance to reduce injury. On top of that, it’s used for generally making the abs firmer and harder as they get used to resisting impacts.
This is one of the prime examples of where varying weights can be beneficial. Of course, it’s easier to start smaller and gradually increase the weight of the medicine balls. However, it also makes the exercise accessible to people of multiple sizes and body types. So it’s not only the die-hard trainers that get to benefit.
Reaction Time & Coordination
So outside of the strength and general physical aspects of medicine ball exercises, they are also very effective for training you mentally.
Medicine ball exercises are some of very few that help you to train your reflexes, reactions and mentality. You train to dodge or block the ball from hitting you, and that’s an awesome way to get a new kind of workout only really seen elsewhere in boxing. It’s not all about power.
These are just some of the biggest benefits that medicine balls have to offer. As well as all of this, they’re still another form of weight equipment. You can do a lot of other typical exercises with similar results to boost your progress. One thing we will say, though, is to be careful of injury. It’s easy to drop the ball here and land yourself a very painful injury. Stay vigilant.
Medicine Ball Exercises
Now that you’ve seen all of the awesome ways a medicine ball can help you in your training, it’s important to know what you can do to make the most out of them too. We looked over some exercises above, but now it’s time to dig deeper:
Medicine Ball Slams
Pick up the ball and throw it onto the floor with as much force as possible; this is as plyometric as it gets! By doing this, you are targeting your upper and lower body muscles, helping to build strength in your back, core, triceps, glutes, quads and hamstrings.
Medicine Ball Throws
A close second (and ideally done with a partner), medicine ball throws are an excellent exercise where you get a great power move from all of your upper body as you throw and catch the ball between two or more people.
Medicine Ball Wall Catches
This one is slightly different; it’s less about the throwing and more about your reflexes. As you catch the ball with your arms, pull the ball towards your chest and squat to allow your body to absorb the impact. By absorbing the weight, you are working pretty much every muscle in your body (plus this mental training we mentioned!) Just make sure you’re careful not to throw it too hard or position yourself wrong when you catch it, or you could get hurt.
These are one of the best ways to work your obliques. You need to lay on the floor, contract your abs, raise your torso into the air, and turn your body side to side with the ball in your hands.
You can see a demonstration of the exercise here!
Lunge Twists are a great exercise that targets your core and legs simultaneously. As you lunge, holding the medicine ball out in front of you, you twist from side to side, swapping legs as you go. It’s a great option if you’re looking for exercises that target specific muscles.
Squats are just one of those exercises that you can do with pretty much any equipment you can find. Medicine balls are no different. You can squat, holding the ball out in front of you or raise it above your head as you squat. This way, you’ll hit those arm muscles and tone your legs. As far as medicine ball exercises go, it’s a useful one to know about.
Shoulder presses are another staple exercise you can do with anything. The fantastic thing is that you’re hitting all three areas of your deltoid in one exercise.
Find out how to do them here!
Tricep Extensions / Skull Crushers
This one can be done standing or laid flat on a mat. Hold the ball firmly and simply flex to straighten your arms above your head. It’s way more effective than you might think.
Last but not least is the bicep curl. It’s always good to find new ways to mix up the classics, and this is no exception.
You can learn more here.
These are just a few of the biggies out there, but you’d be amazed at what you can do if you get inventive!
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.