Medicine balls, once primarily used for boxing and football training, have gained mainstream appeal in recent years. A medicine ball is a versatile piece of exercise equipment that I recommend to everyone.
If you’re not convinced, here are 5 reasons why you should invest in a medicine ball today:
1. A real bang for your buck! Medicine balls are not expensive. While you could spend up to $40 on a leather medicine ball, you can get a durable rubber one for under $20, depending on the size (they range in size from 6 to 15 pounds). And you can easily do over 40 exercises with just one ball.
2. No space required. A medicine ball is a great way to add light resistance training to your home workouts. A medicine ball can help strengthen your abdominals, arm and leg muscles, shoulders, and your lower back.
3. They are compact. Unlike most home exercise equipment, medicine balls don’t take up a lot of room in the house–and they easily fit into a gym bag. You can do medicine ball workouts in your living room or back yard.
4. Perfect for two-people workouts. Medicine balls are perfect if you have a workout partner. Have fun with it, challenge yourselves, and be creative with your exercises. There are many throws and passes you can integrate into your routine.
5. They make exercises more challenging. If you can hold a standard plank for more than 1 minute, it’s time to up the challenge. A medicine ball is a great way to increase the intensity on a variety of exercises, including planks, push-ups and squats.
One of my favorite medicine ball exercises is the alternating push-up. Get into a standard push-up position, with the medicine ball under one hand. Perform one push-up, and when you reach the top of the movement, roll the ball over to the other hand and do another push-up. That’s one rep.
Do 3 sets to failure, or repeat 3 sets of 12 for a warm-up before your regular chest work.
Why does this matter to you? Because medicine balls are a good way to spice-up standard exercises like push-ups. You can also incorporate medicine ball exercise, like medicine ball slams, to add variety to your ab training routine. While a medicine ball isn’t a substitute for weights, it is a great stand-in for days when you can’t make it to the gym.