Medicine balls are ancient fitness tools that keep bouncing back

Mon Oct 6, 2014 5:07am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Medicine balls, the fitness tool as ancient as Hippocrates, have bounced, slammed, tossed and twisted their way into today's trendiest workouts, fitness experts say.

The durable, versatile spheres, which can range from 2 to 25 pounds (0.9 to 11 kg), fit into today’s most intense regimes, from boot camps to interval training.

Alonzo Wilson, creator of the New York City fitness studio Tone House, uses medicine ball exercises to strengthen and condition, and to boost team spirit.

He said the people who seek out his brand of extreme athletics often find medicine balls less daunting than his resistance harnesses or cords and ropes.

“They make people feel comfortable,” said Wilson, a former professional athlete. “We use them in partner throws, to hold and turn, to touch the ground with. Slamming the ball down while (jumping) in the air elevates the heart rate.”

In a fast-moving workout, he added, the balls allow freedom of movement.

“With a lot of machinery you’re kind of stuck,” he said. “But with the med ball you can run, jump, grab it, slam it and hold it while not staying in one spot.”

Daniel Taylor, the author of “Conditioning to the Core,” believes versatility is the secret of the medicine ball’s successful trickle-down from elite athletics to everyday workouts.   Continued...