Five-pound balls, which are commonly called medicine balls, allow you to train in various ways to improve strength, endurance, power, agility and stability. These exercises can be scaled for different populations, from those who are recovering from physical therapy to elite strength and power athletes. Always warm up thoroughly before starting any medicine-ball exercises.
Unlike most exercise equipment, medicine-ball exercises work out your entire body while improving movement coordination between your lower body and upper body. They can be performed at one location, and you can blend them with other exercise modalities, such as kettlebell and jump-rope training. Medicine balls can be thrown at various angles, creating different vectors of movement -- diagonal, horizontal, vertical -- that can be transferred to various sports, such as golf and tennis. You can also carry the ball easily anywhere to train.
Mobility and Stability Combos
Mobility and stability exercises with a 5-pound ball are ideal for warmups and for people who are recovering from an injury. Mobility refers to your ability to move your body within its full range of motion freely and without pain, while stability is your ability to control movement and maintain your balance as you move. These factors provide the foundation of strength and power and enhance your performance. Sample exercises include the kneeling or standing chop, standing trunk twist and figure-8's. Spend about one minute on each exercise before you progress to power or strength training.
Throwing a medicine ball requires more than just strong arms and shoulders. It requires you to generate strength from your lower body and transfer that energy into your upper body. Power training also improves your reflexes and ability to sustain multiple reps of throws without early fatigue. Sample exercises include overhead throws, chest passes and side-twisting throws. You can do these with a partner or with a sturdy wall.
Training with the same weight over a period of time will gradually decrease the strength and power benefits. This is based on the overload principle, in which your body adapts to the exercise and requires less effort to work. Therefore, you must use a heavier medicine ball if you want to increase strength. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you use a heavier ball -- 8 to 15 pounds -- if you want to improve explosive power. Use a lighter ball -- 2 to 6 pounds -- if you want to improve endurance and speed.
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