The 8 Benefits of Medicine Ball Workouts
When doing an exercise using the right equipment can boost the efficacy of your workout and help you reach your goals. One underused yet highly effective piece of equipment is the medicine ball, which is a weighted ball that is often used on rehabilitation therapies and to improve strength. If you want to know more about the benefits of using a medicine ball and why you should add one to your workout routine you are in the right place.
Specific Benefits of Medicine Ball Workouts
- Incorporates your entire body
- Improve Balance and Coordination
- Helps in Rehabilitation of Muscle
- Inexpensive and Portable
- Core Strength Builders
- Develops Explosive Strength
- Great for Stretching
- Versatile and Fun
1. Incorporates your whole body on certain movements.
Certain exercises like deadlifts, squats, or bench press are great to build strength but only involve a single plane of movement and don’t transfer the power through all the body. If you combine those exercises with a medicine ball you can build more strength and incorporate your whole body on various planes of movement. You can move the ball on a transverse, sagittal and frontal plane. It is going to increase the intensity of the exercise and help you work different muscle groups on the same exercise.
2. They Improve your Balance and Coordination
Using a medicine ball will boost your speed and accuracy of movement. You will have more perception and awareness of your body. Medicine balls are specifically beneficial for older people who are prone to falling and want to increase their balance. Using a medicine ball while you are doing exercises off-balance helps you to work deeper muscles which have an important role in maintaining the correct posture. Just by throwing the medicine ball you will improve the hand-eye coordination.
You will exercise safely thanks to having greater core stability and stronger back muscles. Medicine balls develop intermuscular coordination.
3. Medicine Balls help you to Rehabilitate Muscle
Medicine balls are common equipment used on rehabilitation therapies of muscle groups like recovering from knee surgery, shoulder or spinal injury. It helps to build strength and fluidity on muscle and fasten the regeneration process. First, you will use a lightweight medicine ball and then gradually increase the weight when the recovery progresses.
4. They are Inexpensive and Portable
Medicine balls are usually inexpensive so if you don’t have enough money to pay for a gym or a personal trainer you easily train with a medicine ball. They are usually portable so you can take them anywhere, indoor or outdoor spaces.
5. Medicine Balls Build Core Strength
Medicine balls work to add resistance to your core and strengthen your abdominal and lower back muscles which can help you to maintain proper alignment. Instead of doing planks, push up and bridges on the floor incorporate a medicine ball to those exercises. It will provide you an unstable base that will force you to keep your core switched on at all times. That will help you achieve a stronger core which will minimize the risk of injury and help you develop a better posture.
6. Great to Build Explosive Strength
Athletes usually use medicine balls to build explosive strength which is the ability to exert maximal force over a short period of time. This is important for sports performance. You use explosive strength when jumping, kicking, and throwing. Usually, plyometric exercises are the most common ones to develop explosive strength. Use a medicine ball when you are practicing plyometric exercises to build explosive strength faster and increase your body’s ability to burn calories.
7. Medicine Ball Workouts are Great for Stretching
Using a medicine ball to stretch increases your range of motion and promotes flexibility for your muscles. It also works for those athletes Medicine balls also boost the physical preparation of athletes increasing the accuracy of movements.
8. Medicine Ball Workouts are Versatile and Fun
Medicine balls work for different purposes, improving balance, building strength, rehabilitating muscle groups after an injury or surgery. Older people use it to prevent the lack of coordination and balance that is so common at an older age.
Athletes also use it to make force production gains safely. You can do so many different moves with a medicine ball that you can’t do with traditional gym machines and give a twist to any exercise. If you usually get bored with doing the same routine every day using a medicine ball can make your exercises more fun.
Use this equipment with another partner to bring more fun into the workout, just passing the ball you will work for different muscle groups.
The Top 5 Medicine Ball Exercises
- Overhead Slam
- Situp Chest Passes
- Wall Squat
- Situp Medicine Ball Twists
- Standing Rotational Throws
Overhead Medicine Ball Slam
Hold the medicine ball over your head with your legs spread just wider than shoulder-width.
Execution of the Slam
- Lift the ball overhead to get into starting position.
- Bend the hips moving slightly forward without arching your back or pulling your head/neck forward.
- Slam the ball down to the surface in front of you a few feet outside at an angle (slamming straight down can cause the ball to come back toward you).
The movement is a controlled force. You want to slam the ball using your triceps, core/abs, shoulders, as well as your quads, glutes, and back. Make sure not to bend your knees too much and end up in a squat. Try to keep your core involved in the movement and your back/shoulders relaxed.
Medicine Ball slams are usually best done in sets of 8 to 12 depending on the weight of the medicine ball relative to your strength.
Situp Medicine Ball Chest Pass
Using a training partner get in a situp position, with knees shoulder-width apart and approximately bent at the knee with feet, back and head on the floor.
You can also execute this move without a partner, however, it can be trickier because you throw the ball against the wall and catch it.
Execution of the Chest Pass
Begin in the starting position and situp with the ball on your chest, holding it with two hands, at the end of your situp pass the ball to a training partner or coach. For increased difficulty place the ball behind your head and extend your arms back with it at the shoulders as shown above.
Wait at the top of your situp until your partner passes the ball back to you then, and only then, make your way back down to the starting/ending position.
This will depend on the weight, however, I would recommend starting out with sets of 10 to 15. Further, I would increase your sets before increasing your repetitions.
Medicine Ball Wall Squat
Stand with feet at shoulder-width apart, or slightly wider and face a wall that is 10 to 20+ feet high. Place the ball on your chest holding it with two hands.
Execution of the Chest Pass
Start by squatting while holding the ball around chest high and close to the body. Extend the arms and stand up while throwing the ball lightly against the wall at a chosen height above your head.
Catch the ball upon return and repeat the action.
I would recommend you begin with a lower weight and start with 8 to 10 reps. Increase sets and repetitions until you get to 10-14 reps per set.
Situp Medicine Ball Twists
Start in a normal situp position with your back, neck, and feet ground. Feet slightly spread apart. Hold a medicine ball at the core/stomach level with two hands and bring both your head, shoulders, and back off the ground along with your knees and feet as pictured below.
Execution of the Movement
Assuming you are in your starting position turn the ball to the right side of your body while maintaining a tight core and then rotate your upper torso toward the opposite side of your body. This movement can be done with your feet on the ground for beginners.
Repeat this action with one left to right movement being one rep of work.
Being with 8 to 12 reps and start with a lower weight than you know you can maintain. Work up to multiple sets of 10 to 12.
Standing Rotational Medicine Ball Throws
Start with your body perpendicular to a wall about 4 feet away. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Take the ball in your hands holding it on the sides.
Executing the Standing Rotational Throw
In your starting position take the medicine ball back to your side that is farther from the wall by rotating your shoulders and keeping your feet planted. When you swing back through the movement bringing the ball in a path toward your other side let go of the ball and use your core to throw the ball against the wall.
Do not use your arms or shoulders to throw the ball. This should be primarily a core exercise.
1 rep constitutes performing the movement with both sides of the body pointing toward the wall. So if you plan to do the recommended 10 side medicine ball throws I would suggest doing 10 on one side and then switching or turning to the other side and doing another 10.
Start with 8 to 10 reps and work up to multiple sets of 10-15.
The Benefits of Medicine Ball Workouts are Many
As noted above I’ve laid out the 8 awesome benefits of utilizing a medicine ball in your workouts. You should have little reason not to implement them in your home gym routine. Further, I’ve provided a review of my 5 favorite medicine ball exercises to get you going in this regard. Let me know if you have any questions and check back soon for more help on using that home gym you have always wanted.
Medicine balls are one of the most underutilized tools in the workout tool belt. It is excellent for strength training, light and mobile for travel, provide cardio work during workouts. A medicine ball is great at helping with core development and power particularly.