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.

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Single-Leg: Split Squats

Bulgarian split squat (contralateral load)

As discussed previously, I go with four fundamental movement patterns:

  1. Push (horizontal/vertical)
  2. Pull (horizontal/vertical)
  3. Squat
  4. Hip Hinge

Coach Dan John includes loaded carries. Some trainers also include single-leg movements, but to me those are just variations on squat or hinge. However, I’ve recently been reminded of the importance of single-leg work as I experienced disc-related pain. (Note that just because it's important that doesn't make it a fundamental movement pattern. Words have meaning.)

Muscular imbalances or weakness in the legs and/or hips can cause excess stress in the lumbar region (lower back) potentially leading to disc issues. We don’t know if that was the cause for me, but it’s been a good reminder to get back to doing some exercises I’ve set aside, often because I have a problematic knee.

One is the Bulgarian Split Squat (BSS) sometimes pretentiously referred to as “rear-foot elevated single-leg squat”. (Maybe the same folks call the bench press “torso-elevated horizontal press up” or something.) There is some spirited debate suggesting these are superior to standard two-legged squats but who cares? Do both! Actually this one’s kind of advanced so lets start with the simple split squat.

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Home Equipment #12: Rowing Machine

While it doesn't have the familiarity of treadmills or bikes, the rowing machine is in many ways superior to both. So it rates a high position on our home equipment list.

Treadmills offer a more practical movement: we walk and run every day but rarely wind up rowing around town. But rowing is more of a full-body movement using both the upper body (horizontal pull) and lower body (hip extension).

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Recipe: Turkey soup

This is for "day after Thanksgiving" but I made this months after Thanksgiving using the carcass (and some extra meat) I froze. Didn't have any stuffing to put in. Who would? Anyway, this was tasty.

And here's mine still cooking:


Get A Grip

Fill in the blank in this quote: "We found that _______ had a stronger association with all cause and cardiovascular disease mortality than do systolic blood pressure or total physical activity..."

If you hadn't read the title of this post, would you have guessed the answer to be "grip strength"?

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