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For a Good Workout, Try the Medicine Ball


    By Jim O'Neill

    When most people think of a medicine ball, they usually get a mental picture of the old, tattered and torn brown leather weighted ball sitting in the corner of an old school iron pumping gym. They also see these balls as being a very outdated method of working out. When was the last time you've seen anyone use one of those or even heard anyone talk about them? With all the modern exercise machines and other various equipment available today, what possible reason could there be to make anyone want to include the medicine ball as part of their workout?

    First of all, the medicine ball has come a long way from the old leather ones mentioned earlier. They now come in a vast array of colors and are made with rubber surfaces making them easier to grip. They also come in weights ranging from one to fifty pounds so you can vary resistance to suit your needs. Because they bounce and can be tossed around, they are great for working you with random movements instead of the fixed ones that come with barbell, dumbbell and machine workouts. There is virtually no other equipment in the gym or at home that can provide the versatility of the medicine ball.

    Some good reasons to make the medicine ball part of your workout routine are:

    You can add variety to your routine because of the limitless kinds of exercises you can do with them. You can toss them, bounce them, roll them, and do many traditional free weight exercises with them. With all the variety they provide, it is hard to get bored with their use and people of all fitness levels from beginner to athlete can use them.

    Using the medicine ball is a good tool for meeting people because there are loads of exercises you can do with the ball that work great with two or more people. You can toss the ball to each other, roll it to each other, bounce it back and forth, and hand it off to each other. You can even work in small groups using the ball, making room to be even more creative with it.

    A lot of medicine ball exercises are great for working your core or midsection muscles, which are involved when you toss, roll, bounce or catch it. There is also a lot of movement involved when using the ball like side to side movement or front to back movement to catch it. Standing and twisting side to side while holding the ball is great for your midsection as well.

    If you are looking to improve your performance in a particular sport or activity, the medicine ball can help there too. Tossing and bouncing it back and forth with a partner helps improve eye-hand coordination. Tossing the ball also improves strength for things like golf and tennis swings, throwing a baseball or football, and swimming strokes. Rolling it will help improve strength for your bowling game or underhand softball pitching.

    Using the medicine ball is a great way to add a little something different to your usual exercise routine. You can do things with it that you most likely could not do with the traditional equipment you've been using, and at times, using the medicine ball can be downright playful and fun to work with, reminding you of when you were a kid tossing and rolling the ball around in the park with your friends thus making you feel young again.


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