“As long as there has been athletes, there have been medicine balls” – Olympic Weight Lifting Coach Istvan Javorek.

Medicine ball training dates as far back as 1000 B.C. when Persian wrestlers used them to train. Gladiators, Renaissance physicians, and the US Military Academy have all used the medicine ball to stay in peak physical condition or for rehabilitative purposes. Today, everyone from elite level athletes to average exercise enthusiasts can reap the benefits of this ancient training tool.

Below are a few benefits of medicine ball training:

  • Increased Proprioceptive (Bodily) Awareness: Proprioception is the ability to sense the position, orientation and movement of the body in space. Medicine ball training enhances ones proprioception because its unpredictable nature forces the body to react and adapt. Performing any exercise that requires you to catch, throw, and react to the medicine ball will improve your proprioceptive awareness.
  • Functional Training: The versatility and freedom of the medicine ball allows the body to train in multiple planes of movement. With traditional, machine based training we are often ‘fixed’ in one plane. Everyday life requires us to move in a variety of directions, so our training should reflect that. Performing exercises such as wood chops, torso rotations, and lunge matrixes with different medicine ball reaches prepares our body for its daily demands.
  • Power Development / Sport Specific Training: Power is an essential element of human movement and sports performance. Medicine ball training is a great tool for power development because it creates stored elastic energy in our muscles that can increase the speed and strength of each muscular contraction. It also forces us to use multiple muscle groups at one time rather than isolating any one area, which directly correlates to most sports.
  • Core Training:  Medicine ball training teaches the core to be engaged and control movement. It trains the body to safely accelerate and decelerate while moving through space. Having a strong, ‘smart’ core will prevent injury and improve movement quality.

No matter what exercise you are doing, stay focused, know your end-points and make every rep count. Remember, the more effort you put in, the more benefits you will receive. Be sure to check out Facebook this week for our top 5 favorite medicine ball exercises.

Train hard, have fun and enjoy the benefits of this great training tool!