INTRO:
Is your gym too crowded? All you need is a medicine ball and a little corner of the gym, and you are good to go!

Your favorite equipment or machine is not available? Grab a ball and have at it!

No more space left in your favorite group fitness class? No problem!

Travelling? You got this! Pack a ball and take your workout with you!

Want to stay home and work out? It’s easier than ever with medicine ball training!

The first versions of medicine balls were one size (maybe two), heavy, and leather covered. They were often seen in old school Physical Education classes, but were never a mainstay in a fitness facility, or gym, as the first wave of gyms were more focused on barbells, dumbbells, and cable machines.

Nowadays, newer versions of medicine balls come in varying sizes, from small, tennis ball-like, to basketball size, and even bigger. They are made from rubber or vinyl, and are filled with air, water or a gel. They have become a great alternative to traditional exercises using dumbbells, or free weights, the reason being their unique flexibility of use.

Medicine ball training is cost effective (if you decide to work out at home), and time efficient. It requires many muscles to work together as a unit, as opposed to the mainstream idea of focusing on isolation of a particular muscle group. Because of this, it is much easier to squeeze a workout in a pinch.

There are many more reasons to incorporate medicine ball training into your workouts, most of which I’ll be outlining in this blog.

DIFFERENT MEDICINE BALL TRAINING IS REQUIRED FOR DIFFERENT BENEFITS

Strength Benefits
In order to build strength, you need to target your fast twitch muscle fibers. Training with medicine balls will help you develop great strength that can then be transferred as improvements to your weight training routine. With medicine ball training, you can focus on more ‘explosive’ movements, which will get more muscle fiber recruitment, thereby leading to improved strength gains in the weight room.

The types of workouts that will help your strength gains are:
Core Workouts- Your “core” or the muscles of the centre of your body, is comprised of the
deepest abdominal muscles (eg: transverse abdominals), as well as the
deepest of lower back/spine muscles (eg: multifidus), which are needed to
stabilize and protect your spine while you execute movements Medicine ball
training teaches you to engage these deep muscles more, which in turn will
make you stronger while executing other movements.

Functional movements- As opposed to “isolating” movements, functional movements are ones
that are used in daily living, such as squatting, lunging, crawling,
climbing, etc. It is very easy to replicate these types of movements
while training with a medicine ball.

Full body workouts- Working the whole body as a unit will is both time efficient and effective at
teaching the body to work as a unit.

Cardiovascular Benefits
Cardio training ensues when big muscles groups (eg: the legs) are worked in a continuous movement, in order to raise the heart rate and breathing for a prolonged period of time (at least 20 minutes). This can be achieved with medicine ball training by incorporating full body movements with little rest time in between exercises.

The types of workouts that will help your cardiovascular gains are:
Circuit training- Circuit training will allow you to go from one exercise to another with minimal
rest, which will help work your cardiovascular system.

HIIT training- HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts involve alternating high
intensity (can be close to maximal effort) activity combined with low intensity
activity (to allow for recovery between bouts of high intensity activity). It can
switch between resistance training and cardiovascular training, though the
original concept was only intended for aerobic/cardiovascular training.

Tabata training- Tabata training is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It is
based on 20 seconds of high intensity, followed by 10 seconds of low
intensity (for recovery), for a total of 8 times.

Coordination, Speed and Power Benefits:
Training for coordination, speed and power ensures a better functioning of your body, as opposed to just looking good. It is also great for athletic endeavors.

Working out with machines only will guarantee a loss of coordination. There has to be an integration of the whole body, as opposed to just isolation exercises, in order to maintain good body coordination, and movement speed. Bodybuilders are a prime example of looking good, but being slow in their movements. (ie: no athletic ability).

The types of workouts that will help speed, coordination and power are:
Core power exercises- Core power exercises can be fun because they involve throwing things
(ie: a medicine ball). Examples of these types of exercises are:
• Rotation chest pass
• Overhead crunch throw
• Soccer throw
• Medicine ball slam

Functional movements and Full body workouts- These two are essential for automatically
Building (see “strength benefits” above) up
coordination, and even speed, as well as
overall body strength,

REFERENCES:
1. Vogel,Amanda. “A Medicine Ball Workout for Your Clients”. (2017, March). Retrieved May 25,2020, from https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/certified/march-2017/6267/a-medicine-ball-workout-for-your-clients/
2. Chek, Paul. “Medicine Balls Add Speed to Your Exercise Routine”.Retrieved May 25,2020, from https://chekinstitute.com/blog/medicine-balls-add-speed-to-your-exercise-routine/
3. NASM. “BLOG”. “Core Objectives: Making the Case for Progressive Core Training”. Retrieved May 25,2020, from https://blog.nasm.org/progressive-core-training
4. McCall, Pete. “Total Body Medicine Ball Workout”. (2016, November 15). Retrieved May 25,2020, from https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6165/total-body-medicine-ball-workout/