TOTW: Have a Ball!

Looking for an affordable and effective way to take your mud run training routine to the next level?

Pick up a spherical blast from the past, like this Everlast PowerCore 9 lbs. Medicine Ball and reap the benefits. From ancient warriors to modern-day athletes, medicine balls have served as one of the most versatile tools of the fitness industry. Here’s why:

  • Affordability: A decent medicine ball should be well around $50 or less, meaning that for the price of one month at your gym, you can pick-up one of the most versatile pieces of workout equipment around (no pun intended).
  • Total Body Workout: Probably the best feature about training with a medicine ball is the advantage that it provides in training all the major muscle groups, especially your core and global stabilizer muscles – y’know those all important ones that act to support the trunk, limit movement in the joints and/or control balance.
  • Versatility: Another great benefit is that a medicine ball can be adapted to many different activities or catered toward training for a specific sport. Hundreds of movements can be simulated with a medicine ball such as swinging, lifting, throwing, carrying, and slamming. A medicine ball is a great workout tool that you can keep in your car and break out at a field, beach or parking lot to get in an incredible primal workout.
  • Aerobic and Anaerobic Conditioning: Mud runs like Tough Mudder require a little strength and a lot of endurance and muscle stamina. A medicine ball will strengthen your muscles and give you a great cardio workout as well.
  • Stress Relief: There’s a lot of methods to relieve stress and tension such as deep breathing, reading a book or hitting a punching bag. What’s another great way to relieve stress and get your sweat on in the process? Try some intervals of a medicine ball slams against the floor or a wall and feel your tension fly away.
  • Hand-eye Coordination: Video games are fun, but they won’t rock train your hand-eye coordination quite like a medicine ball. Look up medicine ball toss exercises for a fun way to train your body’s reactor muscles to the max.

Medicine ball exercises – from SportsFitnessAdvisor.com

There are literally hundreds of exercises you can do with a medicine ball. One simple way to kick your mud run training into high gear is to simply carry your medicine ball with you on your training runs (GORUCK-style). Here’s a few more to get you started:

Kneel-to-Push Ups

  1. Start Position: Your body will be in an upright position sitting on your knees.
  2. Hold medicine ball at chest level. Keeping your torso erect fall forward and chest press the medicine ball to a partner or a wall.
  3. Upon releasing the ball drop your hands to the floor and immediately complete a push-up.
  4. Advanced athletes: To make this more challenging have a partner throw the ball back to you. You will have to explode up with the push-up so that you are back in the seated upright position on your knees. Your partner will throw the ball back to you and then repeat the exercise until the desired repetitions are met.

Single Leg Chops

  1. Starting Position: Stand on right leg and your arms are extended holding the medicine ball up and to your right.
  2. Bring medicine ball down in a wood chopping motion towards your left foot.
  3. During this place motion switch feet so your left foot is now on the ground and your right foot is in the air. Repeat this motion for the desired repetitions and then repeat in the opposite direction.

Slams

  1. Stand with feet parallel and knees slightly bent.
  2. Pull medicine ball back behind head and forcefully throw ball down on the ground as hard as possible.
  3. Catch the ball on the bounce from the ground and repeat according to prescribed repetitions.

Figure of Eights

  1. Start Position: Hold medicine ball with your arms extended over your right shoulder.
  2. In one continuous motion bring the ball down in front of you like you are chopping wood and the ball should end towards your left foot.
  3. Stand back up and raise the ball straight up over your left shoulder and now bring the ball down towards your right foot.
  4. You will have to bend at your knees to complete this.
  5. Return to starting position and repeat.

Russian Twists

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Hold medicine ball with both hands and arms only slightly bent.
  3. Swing ball over to the right hip and forcefully swing ball forward and around towards the left side. Reverse back in the opposite direction. Keep the stomach drawn in to maximize proper usage of muscle.

Single Leg V-Ups

  1. Start position: Lie back onto floor or bench with knees bent, both hands behind head. Keep elbow back and out of sight. Head should be in a neutral position with a space between chin and chest.
  2. Leading with the chin and chest towards the ceiling, contract the abdominal and raise shoulders off floor or bench. Extend arms and also raise one leg up toward ceiling.
  3. Return to start position.
  4. Remember to keep head and back in a neutral position. Hyperextension or flexion may cause injury. To increase resistance, hold medicine ball in hands. To decrease resistance, position hand closer towards body.
You can pick up a medicine ball here or at your local sports chain. Or, if you are on a budget, there’s a few tutorials out there on how to convert a soccer ball or basketball into a homemade version.

Mud Run Maniac wants to know what you think…

Do you use a medicine ball in your mud run training? What types of exercise do you find most challenging and/or effective? Leave your comments below and keep mudding!
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