No doubt, regular exercises benefit the human body. It is a great tool to losing weight and ensuring that you stay healthy and fit at all times. It has been recorded that the use of workout equipment facilitates physical activities and produces a faster effect than when they are not used. It is, therefore, important to employ the right exercise and fitness tool for you to achieve the best result you’ve been hoping to get.
Many fitness enthusiasts prefer to go for home fitness equipment that will work effectively for them. Buying a medicine ball is one of the best options to consider if you wish to enjoy the benefits of performing workout exercises at home and at your convenience.
This article will take you through a comprehensive review of medicine balls, show you reasons why you should exercise with a medicine ball, how to select the best medicine ball and effectively incorporate them into your workout exercises as well as their benefits.
What is a Medicine Ball?
Medicine balls (otherwise known as med balls, fitness balls or exercise balls) are weighted versatile balls that are usually being used for rehabilitation, strength and sports training.
They are those basketball-sized leather or rubber balls you might have seen people toss back and forth at the gym. The use of medicine balls is considered an ancient method of getting the body in shape as they are being used in the ancient times to train gladiators.
Medicine balls are one of the most efficient workout equipment that is proven to improve fitness and build muscular power and strength. They are designed to be simple but strong enough to withstand a great deal of usage during intense training sessions.
They can be used virtually on all surface including grass, concrete, and rubber or hardwood floors both indoor and outdoor. They come in different sizes, weights, and textures with or without handles.
Why Should You Do Exercises With Medicine Balls?
If you are new or just getting yourself back into the world of exercises, starting off using heavy-duty strongman fitness equipment can bring a lot of inconveniences and discouragements. The best way to make a good progress is to start small and equip yourself with some friendly exercise tools and weights which medicine balls provide.
Let's have a look at some benefits of using medicine balls
Increase Your Workout Intensity
Using medicine balls for workout exercise sure comes with a lot of benefits. These weighted balls are versatile and can be easily adjusted to suit your fitness goals.
They can be effectively added to plyometric moves to raise the challenge, burn calories and lose weight. They also engage the fast-twitch muscle fibers, developing power and the explosive strength necessary for sports performance.
Make Your Workout Fun
Throwing and catching the medicine ball with one or multiple partners adds an element of fun to your workout exercise. It eradicates the boredom of training alone and enhances teamwork and cooperation while improving your coordination skills.
Improve Your Balance and Stability
Medicine balls can also help you to work and improve your balance and stability. These weighted balls are also ideal for challenging and adding resistance to your core and abdominal exercises.
Medicine Balls versus Dumbbells/Kettlebells
Workout exercises using medicine balls fall within the group of resistance training that is similar to the use of dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells or weight machines.
Weighted balls have edge over other fitness equipment in that they are used virtually for all workout exercises that involve the use of multiple muscles and supports natural movement of the body. They are also safer since they do not exert pressure on your joints as you perform your workout exercises.
Unlike the dumbbells and kettlebells, med balls are more suitable for dynamic body movements. They improve hand-eye coordination because they are bounceable and can be thrown from persons to persons during a workout session.
They can be used in place of dumbbells, kettlebells and other fitness equipment for several types of exercise. Med balls are not only for those who are new to the fitness world, experienced gym rats can also benefit from these inexpensive balls to work on the muscle groups they wish to improve.
Even though medicine balls provide a lot of benefits, they also have some drawbacks and limitations to their usage. Some medicine balls exercises cannot be performed alone as they require one or more partners for proper med ball training. Medicine balls also do not provide enough amounts of loads to create the overload needed to produce strength gains in certain exercises.
Another disadvantage of medicine ball exercises is the risk of sustaining injuries. If not properly handled, the ball can roll out from under you while performing the med ball exercises.
The ball can deflate if punctured; however, most medicine balls are made of burst-proof plastic. This makes them deflate slowly if it gets punctured during the workout session to prevent injuries.
Find The Right Medicine Balls For Your Workouts
There are several different types of med balls to select from, and each has its own cost and functions. Although a good medicine ball tends to be expensive, the remarkable training you will get out of them is a good value for your money.
We have created a list of different types of med balls and their uses to help you decide on the most suitable one for your workout exercises.
Bounceable Types (Hard Shell Med Balls)
This is the standard variety of medicine balls. These balls are durable and can be adapted for most general applications. They are bounceable and come in different weights ranging from 2lbs to 30lbs. The bouncing ability of these balls depends on their weights i.e. lighter balls will bounce higher than the heavier ones.
These cheap and bounceable weighted balls are ideal for static core drills that do not require ball throwing. The lighter balls (2lbs – 9lbs) are ideal for balance and stability workouts and coordination. Heavier balls are used mostly by advanced users for their workout exercises.
Med Balls with Handle (Power Grip Balls)
This type of ball requires a lower level of grip strength unlike those with no dedicated handles. These durable versatile piece of equipment are not bounceable but can be used as a kettlebell.
Workout exercise that involves throwing external weights is made easier using these balls since these balls are safer than throwing a kettlebell or dumbbell. They are also used to perform rotational abdominal drills, cross-body training and golf swing or dumbbell simulation exercises.
Slam Ball (Non-bouncing Soft Ball)
These weighted balls are produced from soft vinyl and filled with gel. They do not bounce. This makes them suitable for slamming and throwing exercise. Soft med balls are available in different weights up to 50lbs. They are more economical and are ideal for rehabilitation workouts and rotational pushes against the wall.
Tornado Ball (Rope Balls)
Take your core workout training to another level with these balls. These weighted balls are also available in different weights (2lbs – 18lbs). They are designed with a rope attached to it and they are ideal for swinging exercises and core rotational motions.
The rope attached to the ball makes it uncomfortable for use in the traditional sense. However, some modern rope balls now come with a detachable rope, allowing you to use this type of med balls with or without the rope.
How To Choose The Best Medicine Balls?
Medicine balls come in different sizes and weights, normally ranging from a few inches in diameter to a size larger than that of a basketball and from 1lb to 50lbs or more. Most medicine balls are spherical in shape and are also available in different types and styles to offer specific kinds of training.
Since there are so many varieties, weights, and sizes, you wouldn’t want to buy the ones you will end up disappointed with. The question now comes, how do I select the best medicine balls for my workout exercise?
Here are some things to consider when buying medicine balls:
Choose The Right Size and Weight
When selecting a medicine ball, the size of the user and the purpose of the training are often the main factors to be considered. The size and weights of the balls are also often considered. The level of hand-eye coordination needed for workout activities that involve throwing and catching the ball are determined by the ball size.
The size does not always determine the weight of the balls but sure determines how challenging it is to hold the balls in a proper position during the workout activities.
Do Not Start With a Heavier Ball Than Required
Most people tend to go for a heavier ball than required, this is wrong!
As a beginner, you are advised to start off with a lighter weight and progress to the next weight as you become stronger.
You can also take your time to choose a medicine ball that is heavy enough to provide the needed resistance but not too heavy for you to maintain control, accuracy, and range of motion.
Right Med Balls For Right Workouts
Another factor to be considered is the type of workout exercises to be performed with the balls. Selecting a medicine ball type that is better adapted to the workout you are performing is the best thing to do.
For instance, a bounceable rubber ball is ideal for exercises that require bouncing the ball while a nylon or leather balls should be selected for throwing and catching exercises. Larger balls may also be required for backward overhead throw or squat in order to work the muscles properly.
Try Different Balls At Your Fitness Center
You may also visit your fitness center to test the different sizes, weights and types of medicine balls with a few different exercises in order to decide on which ball you should buy for effective home workout training.
Opt for a lighter ball if you lose control while testing the medicine balls with different exercises at the fitness center or if you have difficulties in selecting between two weights.
Tips When Using Medicine Balls
Just like any exercise, you may get injured if the med ball exercises are not performed correctly. The following tips and safety precautions will help you to make most out of the exercises and ensure that you have an injury free workout sessions.
- Always use a good movement technique and control when performing medicine ball exercises.
- If you are new to med ball exercise, start with flexibility and weight training and gradually proceed to starting with a lighter ball.
- All med ball exercise should be carried out slowly at the initial stage (or simply perform warm-up exercises before starting the med ball training), increase the speed as you develop the control and techniques.
- Med ball training should be carried out in an open space, away from furniture and other fixtures that can cause injury.
- Do not work out on a slippery surface.
- Put on proper exercise footwear and clothing that will constrain the full range of body movement.
- Keep the balls in racks or storage trees when not in use.
- If possible, try to train always with a partner; this is more advantageous than training alone.
- Keep your eyes on the ball especially when receiving the ball.
- Read and adhered strictly to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Are you looking for an inexpensive piece of equipment to spice up your training sessions and get you the body definition you have been hoping for? Do you wish to enjoy the benefits of performing workout exercises at home and at your convenience? Why not get up and get yourself a medicine ball?
This valuable piece of equipment offers you a real value for your money with a dynamic way of strengthening your muscle while burning off excess fats. It’s a fitness tool you’d be happy you ever purchased.
Don’t wait till you are out of shape, grab your ball, exercise and have fun.