Home Equipment #13: Medicine Ball

Photo by Lux Productions on Unsplash

Our neverending list on home equipment continues with the venerable medicine ball. These may conjure up images of old-time boxing gyms (or Perry Mason episodes) but it's still around, in more forms than ever.

There are different types of medicine balls and different sizes. Generally, any weighted ball used for exercise can be considered a medicine ball. For this post, we'll look at the two types that are actually in my home gym.

The hard medicine ball usually resembles a basketball in size and exterior material. And like a basketball, they usually bounce! Unless you underinflate them. Some are smaller or larger than a basketball and all are heavier than one. The hard medicine ball in my home gym is sized like a basketball and weighs 10 pounds. Just for fun, it also kind of looks like a basketball which makes it well suited to hilarious pranks. But that would be mean.

Hard medicine ball

There are too many medicine ball exercises to list here. Here's a link to a chart showing some to give you ideas. (I don't embed the image because that's rude, and kind of illegal.) https://sc02.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1hJ6JpSBYBeNjy0Feq6znmFXaI.jpg

One common use is to throw it in some way, sometimes into a wall ("wall balls"), or into the air and catch it, or to (or at) a partner. Tip: if throwing it at a wall, make sure it's a strong wall! Brick walls are best if you're using a hard medicine ball. With a partner, throwing it at the midsection and letting it bounce off before catching it is a good way to help your abs handle punches and kicks. We also sometimes just drop it onto the midsection of a supine partner. Fun!

Side wall ball

Another common use is as a "platform" for your hands (or, rarely, feet) to make exercises like planks or pushups harder. You can also do just one hand on the ball at a time. It's a little safer and provides interesting offset action.

Finally, you can just hang onto it through a movement. Woodchoppers, overhead presses, thrusters, big circles...there are many, many possibilities.

Another common use for medicine balls is slams, which are just what they sound like. Slam it into the floor! A hard ball will bounce, obviously, so make sure it doesn't hit you in the face.

An alternative for slams is the cleverly named "slam ball." This is a softer ball that is sufficiently deflated that it won't bounce. It's a bit less satisfying but lets you do slams with a low ceiling. If you have a low ceiling and no slam ball, you can put a mat or two on the floor and slam into that so it absorbs the energy to prevent a high bounce.

Slam ball

There are also medicine balls with handles, but I've never used one. They look stupid.

So there you have it: the venerable, versatile medicine ball is a great addition to your home gym.

Be seeing you.


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