If you want to be successful in many sports, it is imperative that your stamina and strength are as excellent as they can be. This is especially the case for things like sprinting, javelin, long jumping and other sports where a sudden burst of energy and strength is imperative for success. So how can you improve these aspects of your performance? Many athletes whether competing professionally, at an amateur level or just for fun, want to optimize their performance and improve their times and the overall execution of their chosen sport. Medicine ball training, when used with a well-thought out programme of other training, is used to help develop the power, strength and stamina needed to improve your abilities.
The medicine ball can also be used to help improve moments where an extra burst of energy is needed – in these situations, it is used as part of a programme of something known as plyometric training, which aims to improve the functions of the nervous system in sporting life.
If using a medicine ball for training, then your exercises should correspond with the main muscle groups used in your sport, as these are the crucial muscles for performance and enhancing these will enhance performance. Training with a medicine ball is suitable for all levels of age and ability, and is useful for many different sports.
If you are planning a programme using a medicine ball, there are certain guidelines you should adhere to in order to ensure your own safety and refrain from injury – serious or otherwise. If you, the athlete, work efficiently and effectively, a medicine ball workout can be completed in less than 40 minutes. It is of utmost importance that you complete a thorough warm-up and cool-down, and then the workout should progress from less intense to more intense exercises. Medicine ball exercises should also precede intensive workouts. Correct procedures must be known for each exercise so that no muscle group is put under excessive pressure or pulled unnecessarily or unsafely. Do not use a heavy ball immediately – start with a lighter medicine ball and work your way up to heavier balls. Also ensure that you have enough space to exercise effectively without injuring yourself or others.
Certain techniques are better than others, and safer to use when working out. Your feet should be planted if you are going to be throwing the ball, and throws should involve the complete extension of your arms. Your joint range should be fully utilized in the correct order for each exercise to avoid strain. This is applicable to lifts as well as things like overhead throws. If you are lying on the ground and doing medicine ball work, ensure that your lower back is always connected to the surface on which you are lying. Catching a ball is probably one of the more dangerous exercises, given the weight of the ball and the likelihood of the catcher being ill-prepared. Your hands should be together, and your arms should be extended. Maintain visual contact with the ball at all times, and only attempt to catch balls that are thrown with care and consideration. Step back if a ball is thrown wildly or without control, as this is a dangerous situation.
Examples of exercises you can do with a medicine ball include things like hamstring curls, torso twists, abdominal crunches and chest pushes. Do not work excessively with a medicine ball – only 30-40 minutes are needed if you are working efficiently. Your recovery period should be somewhere between 36 and 48 hours.