As a runner, you need to supplement your running with other forms of training.
And today I’m going to spill the beans on one of my favorite training tools: The medicine ball.
Don’t let the simplicity of a med ball fool you into not picking it up. Med balls are powerful and can be a great addition to your training arsenal. In fact, they can be the exact thing you need—especially if you were stalling with your gym workouts. That’s why I fell in love with med ball training in the first place.
Image Credit – Richard Valery via Flickr
Medicine Ball Training Benefits
I love exercising with medicine balls. They are fun, versatile, and challenge my body in ways that other workout routines can’t even come close. Plus, med ball moves tend to be full-body exercises, instead of just an ab or a chest press, so they are really time efficient and enjoyable.
Med Ball Training Leads to Better Running
In my personal experience, the med ball is the perfect tool to help you tone your core muscles, which is your body’s center of power and the foundation for almost every athletic move there is. And as a runner, your core muscles—abdominals, lower back, glute and obliques—should be the bread and butter of your strength sessions.
A strong core can also help you run tall and keep good running posture, especially when fatigue starts to set in. Plus, the stronger your core, the better and efficient you will be able to transfer power through your legs.
Plus, since med ball training will have you doing all sorts of bending and twisting, and turning, it’s ideal for targeting and working all the supporting muscles that don’t get trained that often during conventional strength routines.
So if you stick with it long enough, you will develop a well balanced body that can better absorb the high impact nature of running, improve athletic performance and prevent injury.
Image Credit – Roman Castro via Flickr
Pick the right med ball
If you have never done any med ball training in the past, then you shouldn’t feel intimidated. Med ball training is simple. All you need is the right med ball, some space and off you go.
These powerful fitness boosters come in sizes and shapes, so you can always find the one that fits the most with your training aspirations and personal preferences.
I typically prefer to use the Everlast medicine ball. This brand comes in a variety of shapes, colors and weights, and I love its textured surface, which ensures superior grip and handling ($50 – Get it Here).
But in the end it’s your choice. Pick the medicine ball brand that feels right for you.
Image Credit – Vitavieretreatfl via Flickr
The Runner’s Medicine Ball Workout Routine
Today I handpicked for you a routine that will blast your core muscles like nothing else. Not only that, this routine will also challenge your cardiovascular conditioning and can be a great indoor cardio workout if you don’t feel like going for a run.
1. Toe Touch
Begin by laying down on your back while holding a med ball in both hands, both legs raised and straight so they perpendicular to the ground.
Next, raise your torso and arms off the floor until the ball taps your toes, pause for a second, then slowly lower your torso down.
Make sure to keep your legs touching and in position the entire time.
Do 10 reps to complete one set. Shoot for three sets.
2. Squat to Chest Pass
Start off by standing 3 to 5 feet from a wall with feet shoulder width apart while holding the ball in hand at chest level
Next, to perform this exercise, drop down into a squat position, then explode up and toss the ball against the wall as hard as possible by pushing it outwards from your chest. Then, seize the ball as it bounces back in one continuous action and move into the next rep.
The, repeat as fast as you can.
Do three sets of 16 reps each.
3. Suitcase Crunch
Lay on the floor on your back while holding a med ball, using both hands. Make sure you arms are fully extended overhead.
Next, lift your torso, bend your right knee toward your chest then take the ball over your knee and toward your foot, pause for second, then gradually come back to the starting position. Switch sides to complete one rep.
Do 8 reps to complete one set. Aim for three sets.
4. Diagonal Chop
Assume an athletic position while holding a med ball at head height, hands on each side of the ball.
Next, while keeping your core activated and back straight, bring the ball down as hard as you can (imagine that you are chopping wood with the med ball), then bring it back up to the starting position.
Do 12 reps to complete one set. Aim for three sets.
5. Russian Twists
Begin by sitting on the ground with your knees slightly bent, back straight, and feet flat (easier) or raised up (more challenging). That’s your starting position.
Next, while holding the med ball at chest level, lean back, engage your abs, then slowly rotate the ball around your mid-section to the right side, pause and tap the ball on the floor just outside of your right hip, then pull the ball back into your chest and repeat the motion on the other side to complete one rep.
Do 8 reps to complete one set. Aim for three sets.
6. Bulgarian Split Squat with Medicine Ball
Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest with the top of the left foot on a bench behind you. Your feet should be at least three feet apart.
Next, squat down as far as you can as you lower the ball toward the left thigh, pause for a moment, then push back up, lifting the ball above the right shoulder. That’s one rep.
Do 10 reps on each side to complete one set. Shoot for three sets.
7. Lunge to Rotation
Hold a medicine ball a few inches in front of your chest, then take step forward into a lunge without letting the knee go over the toes.
Next, get deep into that lunge, then rotate your torso across your front leg, reaching the med ball to your right, pause for a moment, then reverse the movement back to starting position and repeats on the other side to complete one rep.
The above medicine ball exercises are simple and challenging. Nonetheless, it’s up to you to take action on what you just learned. So I urge you to do so ASAP.
In the meantime thank you for reading my post.
Feel free to leave your questions and comments below.