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.
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.
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).
Our series on home fitness equipment continues with the venerable kettlebell. This one should have been further up the list but I'd somehow neglected to put it on the list at all! Oops. But it's here now.