In the ever-evolving world of fitness, some equipment remain timeless. Somewhere amongst the list of timeless fitness gear, lies the humble medicine ball, often referred to as the sLam ball.
This unassuming ball is often overlooked amongst high-tech gym equipment but certainly packs a punch when it comes to enhancing your fitness regime.
Believe it or not, the medicine ball dates back to ancient times. It was originally used as a training tool for Persian wrestlers and gladiators, constructed from animal remains and filled with sand.
In the late 19th century, physical education pioneer Dr. Robert J. Roberts popularised its use in America, coining the term 'medicine ball' because he believed the exercises he developed with it were akin to a "medicine" for better health. Here are some of the many benefits of using one:
1. Versatility: Medicine balls come in various sizes and weights, making them suitable for individuals of all fitness levels. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned athlete, there is an exercise associated with this equipment that can challenge and benefit you.
2. Functional Fitness: Many exercises with the medicine ball mimic everyday movements, making them highly functional - improving your ability to lift, carry, and throw objects in your daily life.
3. Strength and Power: Some medicine ball exercises involve explosive movements, engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously - making this helping with significant strength and power gains.
Here are some exercises to get you started:
1. Squat press:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball close to your chest.
- Perform a squat by bending your knees to a 90-degree angle and then standing back up.
- As you stand back up, push the medicine ball over your head.
- Lower the ball back to chest height and repeat for the desired number of reps. This exercise targets your legs, core, and shoulders.
2. Russian Twists
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat.
- Hold the medicine ball close to your chest with both hands.
- Lean back slightly to engage your core, and lift your feet off the ground (if you can).
- Twist your torso to one side while bringing the medicine ball with you.
- Return to the centre and twist to the other side.
- Continue twisting for the desired number of reps. This exercise effectively targets your obliques and core muscles.
3. Ball Slam
- Stand with your feet hip-wide, holding the medicine ball overhead.
- Slam the ball forcefully to the ground by engaging your core and using your whole body.
- Pick up the ball and repeat the motion.
- This high-intensity exercise is great for building explosive power and works your entire body.
4. Wall throws
- Stand facing a sturdy wall with the medicine ball at chest height.
- Throw the ball against the wall with force, catching it on the rebound.
- This exercise is excellent for building explosive power, working your upper body, and improving coordination.
5. Lunge with a twist
- Hold the medicine ball with both hands at chest height.
- Step forward into a lunge with one leg while simultaneously twisting your torso to the same side as your leading leg.
- Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg and the opposite twist.
- This exercise targets your legs, glutes, and core while improving balance and stability.
These exercises offer a well-rounded full-body workout, combining strength, balance, and core stability. Depending on your fitness level, you can adjust the weight of the medicine ball to make the exercises more or less challenging.