Types of Medicine Balls
Medicine balls are one of the oldest tools used to work on strength and conditioning, and are sometimes called exercise or fitness balls. The weighted ball is roughly the diameter of the shoulders – around fourteen inches – and are usually sold in weights between 2 and 25 lbs (0.91 – 11kg), occasionally in the form of weighted basketballs.
A really useful version of a medicine ball is one with handles, perfect for more dynamic exercise routines. Other types include air filled, soft gel filled ones and some great designs which have a rope attached to them.
Medicine Ball Exercises
Lots of boxing professional use medicine balls to improve abdominal strength, usually by dropping it onto the area as a way of simulating an opponent’s punch. In other sports, the balls are great for increasing core strength and to build power in other areas – such as the arms, chest and legs – by throwing it forcefully back and forth.
For co-ordination, it’s common for a workout to involve passing the ball behind the back and then over the head. In educational areas the medicine ball is very popular fitness aid, used in such exercise routines as sit ups or leg raises with the added weight building up the muscle. Rather than bulking the body up, a medicine ball is designed to make the muscles work harder to bear the extra weight and movements of the ball.
Which medicine balls to buy
Depending on your personal exercise routine, there are several different types specifically designed medicine balls that could suit you. The traditional leather medicine ball is primarily used for working on the abdomen and is generally easy for most people to get a cardio workout by throwing and catching it.
Balls filled with gel are suitable for exercises that don’t require a ball that bounces, such as working on a trampoline, these are great for rehabilitation because they are weighty, but don’t require fast catching reactions in the same way as ones that bounce. Newly developed medicine balls with handles and ropes are ideal for routines that require more than one workout tool, or that need to incorporate core rotational patterns and swinging motions.
Medicine Ball Cost
Prices vary widely in the medicine ball market, simply because there are so many different weights and designs on offer. Generally speaking, you would probably pay no less than £10 for a small rubber version and anything up to sixty pounds for a well known brand providing a quality, heavy weight product.
Simple medicine balls – i.e. one with no handles or rope attachments – are likely to be the cheapest option for a first time user, particularly the smaller weights. Double grip designs or leather weights tend to be in the higher price range because of the materials needed to manufacture them, and the greater mass of the larger medicine balls will push the price up also.