Tuesday, September 28, 2010

EQUIPMENT: Medicine Balls

Photo courtesy of: MotorCity CrossFit Michigan

Medicine Balls? What is this? Gym class in 1940?

The multi-million dollar functional fitness trend has caused a resurgence of quite a lot of "old school" gear. The medicine ball is just one the pieces getting resurrected by this bare-bones fitness movement. And this stuff is not cheap. Don't expect old school pricing.

DynaMax (www.medicineballs.com) medicine balls have been the most popular. They are sturdy and durable. Weight options range from 4 to 20#. They are 14" in diameter, regardless of weight. You have probably seen these MBs in the following two CrossFit exercises:
  • Wall Ball (link)
  • Squats (as a gauge under your butt to ensure proper depth/ROM)
If these are your only two MB uses, you wasted your money. DynaMax MBs cost between $75 and $115. I find it more than somewhat funny how the company actually tries to DISSUADE customers from buying their most expensive models. The salespeople at DynaMax suggest lighter MBs for athletes. They say the only customers who buy 20# MBs are CrossFitters. And then they take our money and laugh.

If you are looking at more moderately-priced options, check out Garage Gym, Title Boxing, or Everlast -- none of which try to talk you out of their most expensive models! I have two from DynaMax and two from Title Boxing. I do my best to keep the Title MBs inside, as the covers aren't as durable.

There is another popular MB company: D-Ball (www.d-ball.com). D-Balls are smaller at 8-9" diameters. They are "dead-blow" MBs. This means there is no bounce off the ground. These smaller diameter MBs have applications for one-handed throws and slams, where a larger MB would be too big to grip or hold. If your budget is only for one MB, I'd suggest one of the above three vendors, and NOT one of these D-Balls.

So what to do with all these different types of medicine balls? Slams, throws, tosses, twists, passes, and scoops. I'll be getting back to posting an Exercise of the Week. Just don't expect one every week!

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