Medicine ball exercises are an excellent way of beginning a program or adding intensity to a current program. Medicine balls or fitness balls are easy to use, cheap and give you a great workout. The balls are made of elastic rubber and are usually between 22 and 34 inches high. They are also called Swiss Balls.
Medicine ball exercises are key to use in Pilates, as training aids, in physical therapy and as timing balls that develop accuracy and timing for kicks in martial arts. Physical therapists use them frequently to treat low back pain and to develop core muscles that stabilize the spine.
The size of the ball is important. When the client sits on the ball the hips should come level or just slightly higher than the knees. Medicine ball exercises can also be done with people who are overweight. Medicine balls are made that are burst resistant that can hold over 600 pounds.
Medicine ball exercises work by putting the body in an unstable situation. With each bounce the legs and abdominal muscles must contract and relax to prevent the body from falling. Coupled with simple exercises like chest presses or crunches you’ll increase the intensity of your workouts and you’ll find you’re engaging more muscles to work and keep balance.
Medicine balls can be used for cardiovascular work by bouncing on the ball for 30 minutes each day. Clients can be doing some upper body movements during the bouncing to increase core body muscle work. Try medicine ball exercises in the evening in front of the television or while you’re talking on the phone. Medicine ball exercises are flexible and versatile for use with weight training, abdominal training, lower back exercises and flexibility.
Other exercise programs also use medicine ball exercises such as yoga and pilates. The medicine ball is used to increase the intensity of the program and to increase the flexibility of the client. Because using a medicine ball is often less intense than say, running, people tend to overuse the ball and it can lead to injury.
Golfers also find that using a medicine ball exercise program is great to improve golf fitness and improve core-stabilizing muscles. Golfers can use a dumbbell with chest presses to make it more effective as your core muscles work to stabilize the body. These muscles are very important to golfers as they work through the swing.
Medicine ball exercise programs are flexible, inexpensive and convenient. Clients can also increase the intensity of their workout as their muscles strengthen and become more flexible. Medicine balls can be purchased at local department stores and blown up at home. Could this exercise get any easier?
Greatist: 25 Must-Try Medicine Ball Exercises
Men’s Health: The Tar Heels Workout
Muscle and Fitness: 4 Medicine Ball Exercises for Shredded Abs
Womens Health Mag: The Total-Body Medicine Ball Workout
Ace Fitness: 10 Minute Medicine Ball Workout
BrianMac Medicine Ball Training
American College of Sports Medicine