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There’s more to the medicine ball than you might think     If you are familiar with weight training in any way over the last...

There’s more to the medicine ball than you might think 

   If you are familiar with weight training in any way over the last 30-plus years, then you ought to be aware of a commonly used tool called the Medicine Ball. The funny thing is, that as prevalent as this training tool is, I find so very few people know how to correctly use it, or how to use it differently than for doing basic core work. This week, I am aiming to broaden your knowledge of medicine balls uses in the weight room, and give you a bigger arsenal of exercises. 

   The medicine ball can be used in any form of training from strength training to power training. Contrary to popular belief, there are multiple types of medicine balls. There are slam balls that are designed to take a large amount of force and not bounce, and some that are solid rubber designed to bounce once thrown or slammed for repeated explosive reps. Finally, there are also softer oversized medicine balls with heavier weight and durability.

   Below are some listed examples that hopefully allow you to see some more uses for the medicine ball.

   >> PUSH-UPS: The base of strength comes from stability, and the medicine ball can be used to stabilize muscles like the chest by putting your hand(s) on the medicine ball. To do this simply places a medicine ball on the ground and place a hand on the ball and complete full ranges push up. You can alternate hands, use both hands at once, or even do explosive push ups and switch. 

   >> POWER CLEANS: When it comes to developing explosive hip power, the power clean is a great tool — but it’s also very technical to learn with a barbell. A medicine ball is a great replacement tool that takes minimal technical skill to perform successfully. 

   >> DIPS/PULL-UPS: Simply place a medicine ball between your feet or knees while you perform a full range tricep dips or pull up. The father the ball from your hips the greater the weight.

   >> SPRINTS: For sprints, take a medicine ball and place it in your hands as you sink your hips back and load your body to accelerate. As you take off, press the ball out in front of you as far as possible while simultaneously driving your hips out as far as possible.

   >> POST ACTIVATION POTENTIATION (PAP): Right after doing a strength exercise, you move right on to doing the same movement with a medicine ball as fast and powerfully as possible. Examples are holding the medicine ball on your chest while doing squat jumps immediately after doing a heavy set of squats, or laying on your back and pressing a medicine ball powerfully up towards the ceiling repetitively right after completing a heavy set of bench press.

   >> SLAMS/THROWS: For this grouping of exercises, simply throw a medicine ball, or slam a medicine ball against a wall or the ground as hard and fast as possible. This engages the entire body musculature from feet to hands.

These are some basic starter ideas for anyone looking to add medicine balls to their current training programs. The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity of use. So when you get a chance grab this old school tool, head to the gym, and have a ball.

Anthony Trucks is the owner of Trucks Training facility in Brentwood and covers weight training for SportStars.

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