We are nearing the end of the first semester in the 2013-2014 school year.  It has been a very productive time for the new Wellness Center and Fitness Complex.  Students attend both facilities during as well as after school hours.  In addition to the facility that is currently in use, we are ready to unveil the second floor.  Directly above the Fitness Complex will be a brand new locker room adjacent to coach’s offices and meetings rooms.  Above the Wellness Center will be a spinning room complete with 25 new bikes and a training studio.  The focus of the training studio is to teach young men movement basics.  There will be space to execute lunges, squats, abdominal and trunk exercises.  A number of options exist to offer both bodyweight and supplemental resistance.  These include sandbags, resistance bands, and medicine balls.  I want to take some time to discuss the benefit of using medicine balls as part of your training routine. 

A medicine ball is a weighted ball that allows for execution of a number of exercises.  It is usually textured to ensure that the person maintains control of the ball throughout the movement.  It is called a medicine ball because exercise is the best medicine!  They exist in a various shapes, sizes, and colors. 

A number of exercises are more effective when using a medicine ball as opposed to free weight or even dumbbell.  Their shape allows the exerciser to hold the ball at chest height during complex, even plyometric movements without fear of injury.  It also opens up the ability to pass or even throw the ball between two people as in the execution of a twist pass or crunch pass.  The medicine ball can also be used in lieu of a barbell or dumbbell in the execution of lunges, step-ups, or squats. 

I want to introduce a few lesser known exercises.  These power exercises are a great way increase sport performance and functional ability.  Once again the shape of the medicine ball limits the potential for injury. Medicine ball throws are great to improve chest power as well as reaction timing.  They can also be performed overhead, underhand, and even laterally.  Another option is the medicine ball slams which greatly improves the power at the hip and employs the lats effectively. 

I hope that I effectively introduced the medicine ball and even provided a number of training options.  Be sure to pick them up next time you are at your gym.  Medicine balls will be open for use with the rest of the second floor at the beginning of the spring semester in January.  

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