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UF 101: Med Balls

posted on February 18, 2019

Now that we’ve covered all of the major pieces of equipment we use in the Cardio Lab, it’s time to move on to one of the most versatile tools we have access to: medicine balls!

You can find them in both the Cardio Lab and in the Strength Lab and we encourage you to use them creatively! Our Medballs range from 8 – 20lbs, and are a really simple way to start adding weight to the bodyweight exercises you already do. Make your air squats, lunges, Russian twists, and toe touches that little bit harder by adding some weight. Just pick it up and go!

In this article, I really want to focus on the top two fundamental movements we use in our Cardio Lab classes: the Medball Slam and the Wall Ball. Both of these movements utilize your full body, helping you gain strength and, if the reps are high enough, work on your cardio simultaneously.

Let’s start with my favorite, the Medball Slam. The slam is simple, is great for building explosive strength and core stability, and most importantly, can be done even when you’re dead tired from everything else you’ve been doing in class! To get the most out of it, follow these steps:

1. Start with the ball in your hands and chest level, feet around hip’s width distance apart or maybe a bit wider. This is your athletic stance, knees slightly bent, core engaged.
2. Then, get as big as possible! The ball goes up overhead, with your arms fully extended and biceps by the ears. You’re also going to extend your hips, knees, and ankles, so you’re almost up on your toes. GET BIG.
3. Next comes the actual slam portion of the movement, and I want you to keep that word SLAM in mind. Don’t just drop the ball, throw it as hard you possibly can at the ground. Imagine that ball did something terrible to you and you want to destroy it. That’s how hard you’re going to throw that ball down.
4. Aim for just in front of and between your feet. Our Medballs are (relatively) light and have a good bounce, so try to catch it on the way back up, get big again, and keep going.

These basic steps will apply to every Medball Slam variation we throw at you, so you’ll be ready for anything from Side Slams to Jumping Lunge Slams.

Now let’s move on to the second-most programmed Medball movement we use, and the one I hate doing the most: the Wall Ball. This exercise requires strength and explosiveness from both your upper and lower body, as well as some coordination. Here’s how to do it:

1. Find your athletic stance, Medball in hand at chest height, about 2 feet away from a tall wall.
2. While keeping the ball at chest height, perform an air squat.
3. As you come to the top of your squat, think about GETTING BIG again. You’re going to rise all the way, extending your hips, knees, and ankles (letting your heels come off the floor) and use that momentum to launch the ball up against the wall.
4. Keep your arms raised and catch the ball as it drops, trying to drop right into your next squat as you catch it.
5. It helps to pick a spot on the wall as your target, and hit it each and every time.
6. Common cues: keep your eye on the ball and keep the ball high! If you let your arms and the ball drop every time you squat, you’ll need to use a lot more energy tossing it up again.

Just these two movements can be used to make a brutal, full body workout. Throw some Medball burpees in (do a burpee while holding a Medball) and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be laying in a pool of your own sweat by the end.

Share your favorite Medball movements with us! We could always use some new inspiration for torture Cardio Lab classes!


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