Good medicine is bitter

The best solution is often a simple one connected to our roots. This exercise doesn’t need modern equipment. With this traditional, versatile and perfectly round shaped tool we can do it all. What we need is a good old ball.

The concept is as old as 3,000 years when Persian wrestlers, and thereafter Greek Hippocrates (yes, the one physicians literally swear by) used filled animal materials to train or rehabilitate. Since the 1900s an increasing number of ball games gave it a prominent role. That’s part of the ball’s appeal: It has a fun element to it.

The classic medicine ball is similar to a basketball only heavier. Variations of 2–25 lb (1–11 kg) with 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter are normal. Weightwise let’s initially take 2–6 lb (1–3 kg) as guidance for you girls.

If you can, do make the effort to try with 6 lb (3 kg). Yes, it will be tough as the exercise carries on, but good medicine is bitter. Mildly trained men will go with 10 lb (5 kg) for the exercise sequence we do in the following.

Do each part for some time or repetitions which feels effective. 15 repetitions for each is a good start.

  1. We start lightly with holding the ball with both our hands below our chin. Take your usual boxing stance (One foot in front of the other, left foot front for right-handers, right foot frond for left-handers.) and bounce back and forth.
  2. In the next step push the ball back and forth as well as you continue jumping from front to back. The push trains speed and power equally. That’s plyometrics.
  3. Now, you can give arms some relief. Stop the bouncing and stand firm with your feet in parallel at hip width. Take the ball in your hands and lift them above your head while stretching your whole body as high as you can. You may even get to your tiptoes. What next? Thrust the ball as hard as you can in a straight line to the ground. The ball should bounce back into the air. The higher the better. Catch the down falling ball. And repeat some more times.

    That feels good, right? Enjoy while you can. The active rest is over and what’s in store challenging.

  4. We are still standing, the ball in both hands. Only this time instead of above the head, we take the ball behind our head. The hands are close to triangle shaped similar to the setting technique of volleyball. Bounce the ball in your hands. Not very high, but give it some play. You’ll soon feel your muscles ache. Grin and bear it as much as you can.
  5. The last component to add to the sequence is another active rest. Rotate the ball at shoulder height around your body. Arms outstretched when in front of you and on the sides. When behind the back respectively head you can bend the elbow a little.

With all of these components you can mix and match for a while till you feel you have trained your arms well for the day.

Try out any other exercises you can think of using the all-purpose medicine ball for weight and balance.


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