Medicine balls: Exercise tools that add fun to fitness

October 12, 2018 by Len Canter, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—Want to add a new type of challenge to your exercise routine?

Consider working out with a , an inexpensive fitness tool that's exploding in popularity. This weighted ball helps you develop strength, endurance and even flexibility—and many exercises are done with a partner, adding a fun dimension to workouts.

Medicine balls come in a variety of sizes, from tennis- to basketball-size, and from 1 to 50 pounds and up. For solo exercises, you might like one with handles.

You want to choose a ball heavy enough to challenge you, but not so heavy that you can't maintain proper form. The overall size of the ball matters, too. You may need a larger one to fully work the muscles targeted in power and multi-joint exercises, and a smaller one for other types of moves.

Test out different weights before you buy: One that feels comfortable when you hold it against your chest may be too heavy for exercises done at arm's length from your body.

To get started, try the simple called the medicine ball V-up. Lie on your back with legs straight and extend your arms over your head, flat on the floor, with hands holding the medicine ball. Simultaneously raise your legs and your arms, aiming to touch the ball to your feet (your upper body and your legs lift to form a V shape at the top of the movement). Return to start position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

A medicine ball is also great for buddy workouts. When working out with a partner, always start by practicing each exercise at a slow pace to be sure you're doing it correctly.

A great buddy exercise is the chest pass. Stand about 5-feet from each other, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. The passing partner tightens abs and passes the ball at chest level. The receiving tightens core and leg muscles to maintain balance while catching the ball. Start with a set of 10 passes each.

As you progress, keep challenging yourself by moving to a heavier ball.

Explore further: Stabilize those stability ball workouts

More information: The University of Arkansas has a detailed factsheet on choosing and using medicine balls.

Related Stories

Stabilize those stability ball workouts

June 11, 2018
(HealthDay)—For fun and fitness, it's hard to beat the value of a stability ball. You can do exercises to strengthen muscles, improve balance and increase flexibility.

Low back pain? These exercises may help

August 30, 2018
(HealthDay)—Low back pain is a common health complaint. And if it sidelines you for too long, it can lead to weight gain, a loss in your fitness level and keep you from doing things you love.

It's crunch time

April 4, 2018
(HealthDay)—Toned abs don't just look great, they're also vital for good posture and avoiding lower back pain.

Better balance at every age

December 4, 2017
(HealthDay)—You probably take balance for granted, but it's a motor skill that benefits from training throughout life.

Don't be a dumbbell: work out with weights

November 29, 2017
(HealthDay)—Strength training needs to be part of every exercise plan, but you don't have to join a health club to reap its benefits.

Aching back? Give yourself a massage (yes, it's possible)

August 17, 2018
We've all been there: Your back is aching from sitting in front of a computer all day or perhaps you pulled a muscle during a workout, but you don't have the time or money to get a professional massage.

Recommended for you

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

Effect of oral alfacalcidol on clinical outcomes in patients without secondary hyperparathyroidism

December 11, 2018
Treatment with active vitamin D did not decrease cardiovascular events in kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis, according to a research group in Japan. They have reported their research results in the December 11 issue ...

Yes please to yoghurt and cheese: The new improved Mediterranean diet

December 11, 2018
Thousands of Australians can take heart as new research from the University of South Australia shows a dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet will significantly increase health outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease ...

Licence to Swill: James Bond's drinking over six decades

December 10, 2018
He may be licensed to kill but fictional British secret service agent James Bond has a severe alcohol use disorder, according to an analysis of his drinking behaviour published in the Medical Journal of Australia's Christmas ...

Obesity, risk of cognitive dysfunction? Consider high-intensity interval exercise

December 10, 2018
It's fast-paced, takes less time to do, and burns a lot of calories. High-intensity interval exercise is widely recognized as the most time-efficient and effective way to exercise. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers ...

How to survive on 'Game of Thrones': Switch allegiances

December 9, 2018
Characters in the Game of Thrones TV series are more likely to die if they do not switch allegiance, and are male, according to an article published in the open access journal Injury Epidemiology.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.