If you want to intensify your workout and increase the calories you burn during exercise, add a medicine ball into your routine. Medicine balls are a type of weighted ball, between 2 and 25 pounds and ranging from baseball to basketball size, that add challenge to a variety of exercises. Perform medicine ball exercises by yourself or pull in your significant other to enjoy the intensity a medicine ball workout provides. You’ll build strength and burn major calories when livening up your routine with a medicine ball.
Besides helping you burn calories, using a medicine ball has many benefits. Training with a medicine ball can build strength and power and can prepare athletes for almost any sport. Similar to strength training, a medicine ball can offer optimal reimbursement for your all your effort. These benefits include a stronger heart, stronger and leaner muscles, weight management or loss, management of certain conditions and mood improvement, according to Brian Mac Sports Coach.
Medicine balls can work almost any muscle group in your body. To work your core muscles, do abdominal curls, big circles or standing torso twists. If you want to strengthen your arms, try the woodchopper, the double-armed throw or vertical extensions. Chest pushes and chest passes can strengthen your chest muscles, and hamstring curls, double leg kicks and squats all engage your leg muscles. Put together a series of medicine ball exercises that work out all major muscle groups to get the most out of your workout.
The number of calories you burn using a medicine ball depends on a variety of factors, including your weight, the weight of the medicine ball, the exercises you are doing and the intensity of your workout. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds and do weight training for one hour, you will burn about 365 calories, according to MayoClinic.com. To maximize the number of calories you burn, choose the weight that fatigues your muscles after eight to 12 repetitions and try to complete two to three sets with the number of reps that fatigue the muscle group you are engaging.
MayoClinic.com recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week, as well as strength training at least twice per week. To really see results from your medicine ball workouts, try to do them three times per week. Remember to rest your muscles for at least 24 hours before engaging the same muscle groups with medicine ball exercises.
Medicine Ball Safety
As with any piece of exercise equipment, medicine balls are only effective when you use them correctly. When you pick up a medicine ball, slightly bend your knees and keep your back straight. If you are doing exercises on your back, keep your lower back firmly on the floor throughout the entire exercise. Finally, if you’re throwing the medicine ball, fully extend your arms, keep your feet planted on the floor, and never throw so hard that you lose control. While you want to burn calories and strengthen your muscles during your workout, using proper form will help you achieve your goals without sidelining you with an unnecessary injury.
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.