Sunday, 11 November 2012

Workout Tools - Medicine Balls

Whether your training for a specific sport or looking for something to use when coming back from injury or a tool for general fitness the 'medicine ball' is a great bit of kit to have in your repertoire.

Typical 1 - 5kg medicine balls
on a stand.

The medicine ball is a weighted multi purpose, take any where tool that can be used alone or with a partner.

Medicine balls come in different weights anything from 1kg to 10kg.   You can also find medicine balls with one or two handles moulded into them.  These types are great for rehab purposes or the elderly or infirm.  Then at the other end of the scale for hard core 'med ballers' we have the 'tornado' ball.  This is a medicine ball with a length of rope running through it.  Here you can rotate the ball around your head (a little like a lasso) or slam it on the ground or on a wall.  Plus there are other weird and wonderful ball varieties out there which I may well buy and use, but for the moment lets back to the med balls.

By using medicine balls you'll increase your flexibility, functional movement, co-ordination, core strength, reaction times, and overall strength and cardio-vascular fitness.  While all these elements are important I want to focus on functional movement a little more.  Functional movements are similar to movements we do in every day activities such as bending and extending (eg. sit to stand), reaching, twisting, lifting and carrying, and pulling and pushing.  Obviously we want to be able to perform these functional movements with ease and confidence.

To appreciate how important these moves are, study people around you, it could be on the train, bus, at the supermarket or at the office. Notice how some may have trouble standing from a seated position, lowering themselves towards a seat, or simply tying shoe laces, picking something up from the floor, reaching for something on a high shelf, putting something in a low cupboard, carrying the shopping etc.. The list is endless, and it's because functional movement patterns have been lost through age, inactivity or injury. 

This is where the medicine ball is a very useful addition to your home kit or your gym routine.  Stay tuned for a functional medicine ball workout coming next.


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