You can challenge your body to get the benefits of exercise with many equipment options. Discover the benefits of medicine balls.
Before going into the positive points, make sure you warm up well before using a medicine ball to avoid injuries and improve performance.
Especially before the more explosive movements.
1. Medicine balls are good for muscle power
The relatively soft outer shells of medicine balls makes them good for throwing exercises and other explosive movements.
This relatively unique benefit can be helpful since training your muscles in different ways can make them more effective for different purposes.
More specifically, training more explosively can help you focus more on training type 2 fast-twitch muscle fibers (1).
As you can expect, these muscle fibers are great for generating a lot of force in a short amount of time.
This can be a helpful aspect of this piece of equipment and similar medicine ball alternatives for certain situations and training goals.
2. Medicine balls can help you build more muscle
There are many reasons why you would want to build muscle mass ranging from the drier health benefits to the different looks this offers.
Many people turn to barbells and dumbbells for this but while these are effective options, you can also see some muscle growth results from equipment like a medicine ball.
Different medicine ball exercises will work different muscles.
For example, doing Russian twists with a medicine ball can help you build more core muscle than doing Russian twists without one.
One thing to note is that medicine balls still need to be heavy enough to start growth processes in your muscles.
More advanced lifters may need to turn to the more standard fitness equipment options for this anyway.
3. Medicine balls can benefit weight loss
Having excess body fat tends to increase your risk of a variety of negative health conditions. For this and other reasons, many people are interested in losing or at least controlling their body weight.
While there are other ways to approach this too, you can say that making it easier to control your weight is definitely one of the benefits of exercise.
This is because moving more intensely and building muscle mass can help increase the amount of energy you use.
In turn, it becomes more likely that the things you eat will not be enough for your energy needs which would lead to using up body fat and other energy stores.
Medicine balls can make the weight loss benefits of exercise happen to a larger extent.
This is because having to move more weight tends to increase your energy usage. Additionally, medicine balls can help you build more muscle which offers an increase in energy usage in the long term.
Whether or not you use a medicine ball will likely not make or break your weight loss results.
At the same time, it is worth noting that this piece of fitness equipment can help you get more out of your existing workouts.
4. Medicine balls can improve cardiovascular health
When moving your body (and while sitting still), your cardiovascular system is hard at work to provide different areas with the nutrients and oxygen they need.
The more intensely you move, for example by exercising, the more oxygen and nutrients your body needs, and the harder your cardiovascular system will have to work.
Moving faster is not the only way to do this. By having to move more weight, for example by holding a medicine ball, movements also work your cardiovascular system harder.
While this is a fundamental principle of the human body, one specific study with fourteen children shows that these children have no problem getting their heart rate up with a variety of medicine ball exercises (5).
5. Medicine balls can improve athletic performance
Most people know that training more in a specific sport can improve their performance.
However, many athletes forget that doing different workouts can also offer nice improvements. Sometimes to a larger extent.
For example, medicine ball exercises can help you improve muscle size, strength, and power in a variety of areas.
Additionally, as explained above, medicine ball workouts can help improve your cardiovascular system.
These things make it so that doing a few medicine ball sessions can improve performance in a variety of sports.
A more specific example is that explosive medicine ball arm exercises could help in sports like football and javelin throwing.
6. Medicine balls can improve coordination and balance
You can describe coordination and balance as moving your body in the ways you want and not falling down while doing these things.
While they are not the only equipment option you can use for this benefit, medicine balls do make it relatively easy to improve coordination and balance.
Throwing and catching the medicine balls will be helpful for training coordination.
If you add standing on one leg or something like a balance board to the medicine ball exercises, you add a big balance challenge too.
7. Medicine balls can improve bone density
Similar to many other body parts, your bones can actually adapt to the way you challenge them.
The extra bone density you can get from medicine ball workouts tends to be a benefit since it helps you avoid breaking your bones.
These positive effects do not only apply to the next week or month. The improvements in bone density from medicine balls can last months and years.
It is worth briefly mentioning that medicine balls are not the only or even the most effective way to get sturdier bones.
If you don’t like the feeling, exercises, or cost of medicine balls, you can also consider other weighted exercises.