What is a Medicine Ball?
Medicine Balls have been around for a long time and are a very popular training tool in the fitness industry. To put it simply, they are just exercise balls that are weighted and used for strength and resistance training. With their growing popularity over the years, there are now several styles available that have different uses and focus on more specific ways of exercise training. Often you will hear people mention a "medicine ball" but these days that can mean any variety of weight training balls. They come in different diameters and weights ranging from as low as 2 lbs. all the way up to 300 lbs. Some are made out of rubber, vinyl or even leather. The internal composition can also vary from being filled with sand to rubber fillings. So how do you know which is the best ball to purchase for your workouts? Below we break down some of the different categories and differences to help guide you.
Traditional Medicine Balls
Traditional medicine balls can be found in almost any commercial gym. They have a smaller size diameter anywhere from 7-11" and weigh between 2 lbs. to 50 lbs. They are often color coded to help distinguish between sizes. Most are made from hard Rubber materials and can have a little bounce back to them. There are even dual grip medicine balls which have handles to provide better stability and reduce the risk of it slipping out of your hands. There are a lot of different exercises that can be done with med balls such as core and strength training. Try and hold one while doing sit-ups to add extra resistance. Grab a ball while performing squats or lunges to help gain some more strength. Or even toss the weighted ball to a partner for chest and shoulder workouts. They are an added tool to help take your training to another level. One area of caution though with standard medicine balls - don't slam them. It is not recommended to throw or slam with force against any hard surface as they can break or pop.
Slam balls, or "slammer" balls, are very similar to medicine balls but they are constructed with more durable materials and can withstand being thrown against the wall or floor with great force. They are generally used to develop strength and power. You can increase muscle strength and also get your heart pumping for a cardiovascular burn by throwing or slamming the ball over and over in constant repetition. It may look silly to some but it can be a great conditioning workout.
D-Ball by Mondo has a large selection of USA Made slammer balls of different diameters and weights that go as high as 300 lbs. With a 3/8" thick flexible PVC shell and proprietary filler blend that won't draw moisture and won't clump, they have taken the slammer ball to a whole other level. They even carry a tiny 1/2" lb. size which can be helpful in rehabilitation settings. You can start getting into more specific and targeted training based upon the size alone. Holding on to an extremely heavy 15" ball will require you to engage a whole different group of muscles versus a 9" lighter version. There are limitless exercise possibilities with this style of ball and with over 200 combinations of diameters and weight options you can achieve almost anything you are looking to accomplish. Slammer Balls do tend to cost a little more than a traditional ball because of the heavy duty structure but it is worth the investment.
Soft Cover Medicine Balls
Soft cover weighted medicine balls separate themselves from the rest because of their soft and pliable cover. They have a large diameter of 14" and larger allowing the user to easily catch and grab on to them when thrown. These heavy-duty exercise balls can be used in similar fashion to a slam ball or thrown back and forth with a workout buddy. This style is very popular in Crossfit workouts where the 14 lb. and 20 lb. sizes get the most use. These soft shell balls are great for beginners starting to learn the proper motions of Olympic lifting without a bar. It is the perfect size and weight to help develop technique and form before moving on to the actual barbell lift.
The key to creating a top quality soft cover exercise ball is making sure that it maintains it shape and that the weight is balanced evenly throughout the ball. Rage Fitness has USA Made Soft Vinyl Shell Med Balls that come in 4-30 lbs. and Strongman Medicine Balls, or "Atlas" balls, from 50-250 lbs. The outside is made out of heavy-weight vinyl and filled with a Rubber and Fiber mix inside. They can withstand high impact throws and will still keep their shape and durability. XD Performance makes a "Bullet Proof" ballistic medicine ballthat has a cover made from Kevlar, the same material used to make bulletproof vests. The XD Kevlar medicine ball is perhaps one of the toughest; most worry free medicine balls on the market. No need to worry if members are slamming them or using them like a traditional medicine ball. They can stand up to anything. XD Performance bulletproof slammer balls are available in sizes 4-30 lbs.
Looking for more advice on the perfect weighted fitness ball to train with? Contact an Ironcompany representative for recommendations and pricing. (888) 758-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.