A medicine ball is a weighted ball roughly the diameter of the shoulders (approx. 14 inches). It comes in a variety of weights from 2lbs.-30lbs. and can be made of hard plastic, dense rubber or synthetic leather material. Being one of the oldest strength and conditioning tool, it has been used to improve explosive power and strength.
Medicine ball training is appropriate to all levels of ability, age, development and sport. To be most effective the program should contain exercises that match the pattern of movements of the sport.
These exercises will help build lower back strength and overcome backache.
- Chest Raises: Lie face down on a mat with your arms stretched out in front of you while holding a light medicine ball. Slowly raise your entire body up as high as you can and hold the position for a second at the top. Lower your body back down with control and repeat 8 times.
- Trunk Twist: Sit with a flat back, such that your knees are bend at a 90 degree and your shoulder pulled back while holding the medicine ball in both hands. Twist over to your hip and touch the medicine ball to the floor. Rotate back across your body and press the medicine ball up towards the ceiling. Lower the medicine ball back down as you twist back towards your hip and repeat.
- Leg Drops: Lie face up on a mat with legs stretched out in the front. Grip a medicine ball between your feet. Raise your legs holding the ball high up between your feet. Keep your arms by your side. Hold and then lower as slowly as you can, stopping before you touch the floor. Repeat 8 times.
- Side Leg Raises: Lie on the floor and place the ball between your bent knees. Extend your arms to the side for support and balance. Raise your legs to a 90-degree angle while keeping your knees bent. Slowly lower your legs to the right as close to the floor as you can. Return to the start position and then lower your legs to the left. Repeat 10 to 20 times and do total of three sets.
- Bicycle Crunch: Lay down on your exercise mat with your medicine ball. Place the ball in your right hand to start. Weave the ball between your legs. Keep the opposite foot about 3 inches off the ground! Keep going! Breathe!! Do not lift your shoulder blades off the mat more than 1-2 inches throughout the exercise.
- Deadlift: Hold the ball with both hands at your waist. Keeping the medicine ball close to your body, slowly lower it down toward your feet. Slowly return to start position, contract your butt and hamstring. Repeat. Note that the dead lift with medicine ball incorporates a weight into a basic stretch motion therefore, it is important to keep your movements fluid and gradual with this exercise to avoid strain.
- Single Leg Deadlift: Done on similar ground as deadlift, with the added challenge of leg raise. Keeping the medicine ball close to your body, slowly lower it down toward your feet as you lift your leg behind you. Contract your hamstrings and glutes, as you return to the starting position. Repeat with other leg.
Remember to always go slow, even when you’re fatigued. Quality is better than quantity in any workout program.