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May 2021 in review: medicine ball training

The site theme in May was medicine ball training. As one of the most versatile training tools available, there is a lot you can do with a medicine ball. Throughout the month we shared some practical examples of how top coaches are using medicine ball training, as well as programming tips. Below we have links to all our new and archived content on the topic, including 5 new articles, 2 new videos, and 2 new podcasts from 8 contributors.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 249: Med ball madness

Medicine balls are one of our favorite training tools. Throughout May we’ve had many of our site contributors share how they use medicine balls in training, and also released a new video lesson on advanced medicine ball training. On this week’s podcast we reflect on our favorite ideas for medicine ball training we picked up this month, as well as some insights from our new video.

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Finding purpose, direction, and planning for medicine ball training

Believe it or not, as an athlete I hated 95% of the medicine ball training we did. To me it seemed somehow stupid just throwing a ball 200 times around just to do it. The other 5% have been fun and I loved it. This 5% was the most challenging stuff. I loved it because it had concrete purpose. It might have been as simple heaving the ball up to the ceiling, but that wasn’t easy so it presented a challenge and a purpose. When I finally succeeded, it earned me a drink from our physio or coach and the feeling of having thrown intensely.

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Training design considerations for the medicine ball

As with any type of training, there are lots of factors to consider when putting together a training session with medicine balls. Some are general training considerations, while other factors are specific to the demands of medicine ball training. Below are nine medicine ball training design considerations I put together for my book Complete Guide to Medicine Ball Training.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 248: Throwing the ball around (with Zach Dechant)

Baseball and the throwing events have a lot in common: in both sports you are trying to generate rotational power to move an implement fast. When it comes to training, there a lot of parallels as well. Zach Dechant is the strength coach for one of the top collegiate baseball programs. He joins this week’s podcast to discuss how he focuses on specific strength in training, including player profiling, exercise design, and many aspects of medicine ball training.

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How medicine balls work their magic

We play sports with a ball all the time. Using a ball for athletic development is hardly a novel concept, but it truly can bring a new aspect to athletic development training. The simple idea of training with a ball makes coordination essential to executing the exercises. It’s impossible to use medicine balls without using gravity and enhancing linkage through multi-joint movements.

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Medicine ball myths and truths

The term medicine ball was coined by Robert J. Roberts in 1876. He had been inspired by one of the stories in Arabian Nights where an Eastern Potentate was advised by his physician to toss a large, soft ball of herbs a certain number of times a day until ‘he did sweat.’ Movement was being recommended as medicine back in ancient times. Roberts made a ball weighing 7-8lbs and sewn like a baseball. He then recommended a series of exercises in his work with the Y.M.C.A. that included lifting, circling and throwing the medicine ball. 

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Staying fit in a pandemic: Vol. 9

Today’s circuit involves one piece of equipment – a medicine ball. If there was one piece of equipment that I would recommend to get through this time, it would be a 3-kilogram medicine ball. Medicine balls are endlessly versatile. Read more

Making your throws training more reactive

We talked with German national coach René Sack about reactive training earlier this month on the HMMR podcast. Throwing far involves strength, but it also involves the stretch-shortening cycle. Therefore it is important that training also takes this into consideration. Our chat got me thinking about the topic and below are a few more ideas of how you can start integrating reactive throwing elements into training. Read more

All training is core training

When it comes down to it, all training is core training. As we discussed on the GAINcast this week, no matter how you define it, the core is involved in all movement as a major factor in control of movement. Without a fully functioning core, efficient movement is not possible. Read more