For our Wednesday review this week, we will discuss the use of Medicine Balls in the weight room. I am a huge advocate of medicine balls in the weight room because of their versatility. I use medicine balls the most for power development in athletes, but I have also used them for personal training to add some resistance to all kinds of movements and I find that sometimes clients and athletes alike can handle the medicine ball easier and are able to complete a wider variety of exercises.
For Power: One example of a medicine ball exercise that can be used to enhance athletic performance is a simple medicine ball throw, shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxPYKbthrfM
This exercise is essentially an Olympic lift, such as a clean or snatch, but does not require the same amount of skill to teach or perform. I would highly recommend this exercise for athletes especially if you as a coach are not comfortable (or unqualified) teaching the Olympic lifts. The only difference here is that I would limit lumbar hyperextension by instructing the athlete to throw the ball forward or focus on height above not distance behind. We never want the lower back to extend past 180 degrees.
Anther advantage of using medicine balls for power development is that we can train athletes in any range of motion with a medicine ball to develop poser in sport specific movement patterns. This is a huge limitation when using free weights and is nearly impossible using machines.
For General Strength: Medicine balls can be used to supplement free weight exercises or even in place of them in some cases. This video shows some examples of things you can do with a medicine ball: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SseuxxKYzo&feature=related. Get creative with your movements and use a medicine ball in place of dumbbells to switch up your normal routine.
Thank you for reading and please come back tomorrow!
* I have no idea who is performing the exercises in these videos and do not endorse everything they do, I just thought the videos would give you some ideas.