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Med Ball Training For Sports Performance

Ok, be honest…How fun is it to train with medicine balls? Whether you’re throwing, slamming, or moving a medicine ball, it provides a variety of movements that elicit a lot of benefits.

Did you know? The earliest documented use of the medicine ball dates back to almost 3,000 years ago, when Persian wrestlers trained with bladders that were filled with sand. Later on, in the time of ancient Greece, famous physician Hippocrates stuffed animal skins with sand to create medicine balls. He used the medicine ball as a part of his injury rehabilitation therapy with his patients. This marked the origin of the modern medicine ball. Interesting, right?

Fast forwards to today, medicine balls are used in almost every gym/facility. They also come in different sizes as well as different textures.

So why use a medicine ball? Let’s go back to physics class and recall Newtons 2nd Law. Force = Mass x Acceleration. When using a medicine ball, we are trying to generate a great deal of force when throwing or slamming the ball. Now, if we look closer at this equation we can increase the force production by increasing the speed (acceleration) at which we move an object. Now on the flip side, if the weight is too heavy, your force production will be low. So there needs to be a balance. When that balance is found and we can get athletes moving weights faster, we can make athletes stronger and more explosive. This is why using medicine balls are an excellent way to train athletes to be more explosive!

In context to sports performance, medicine balls are an excellent way to train athletes to be athletes! There is a freedom of movement with many medicine ball exercises that replicate the movements found in many sports. Medicine ball training is also very versatile and can be trained for power, or they can be used for longer durations in a conditioning setting. Another awesome benefit about training with a medicine ball is that you are able train the whole body through various planes of movement. You can transition from the frontal, sagittal and even a transverse plane depending on how you decide to move the ball.

I specifically like using medicine balls with younger athletes because the learning curve is pretty low compared to teaching a kettle bell swing or power clean. It gives them a chance to still work on acceleration and force production without worrying about “perfect” technique or hurting themselves.

In the end, medicine ball training is enjoyable for athletes because it keeps them engaged and moving. As a coach, I killed 2 birds with 1 stone. I got the athletes to train hard and they had fun doing it! That’s always a win!

Look for my next blog to have some videos, in regards to some of my favorite medicine ball exercises!

Coach Silas Perreault



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