Today’s post discusses medicine balls, another useful piece of gear to have available in your home gym.
Thank goodness they don’t make them the way they used to! There’s no need to toss a sand-filled bladder or make your own medicine ball out of animal skins sewn together and filled with sand. In the KISS spirit, don’t bother getting anything with a rope, handle, or anything that’s removable; if, down the road, you find that you’re a real med ball fan, then you can knock yourself out and collect them all! Also, make sure you get one that doesn’t bounce! We can’t say this clearly enough. DO NOT GET A BOUNCY BALL! You will fully appreciate this advice when doing you do your first med ball slam and, quite unexpectedly to those new to “slamming,” a ball weighing anywhere from 4 – 10 pounds does not reverse direction after being slammed with all your might into the floor, giving you a quick and dirty KISS of it’s own! (If you’re curious, you might want to review Newton’s third law of motion.)
- Where to get one: Use your web browser to search “medicine ball” or “med ball” to get an idea of prices. Remember, though, to check out shipping because this can be a killer. Also, call around to sporting goods stores to see if they have them available and in stock. Be sure to ask specifically for a non-bouncy ball!
- Options: You can, with a little ingenuity, make your own medicine ball. One option is to google “making a medicine ball;” lots of entries will pop up. Our directions follow, but please note that many trainers are recommending that homemade medicine balls be filled with alternative fillers such as pea gravel, wood stove pellets, etc. instead of sand (all available at a hardware store). The ball made from the following directions using sand will be quite heavy! (The ball that we made for the photos below ended up weighing in at a heafty 19.6 pounds; although we only used for basic slams, the big guy who lives with one of us uses it for a variety of exercises. If you choose to use sand as fill, consider filling a soccer ball instead of a basketball for your first med ball project. Or, better yet, just buy your first ball, looking for one that weighs in at 10 pounds or less.
Directions for Making Your Very Own Medicine Ball
- Grab an old basketball. (Maybe there’s one in your garage. Although we don’t endorse mugging a neighborhood kid for one, you might check for an abandoned ball near the court at a nearby park at the end of the day. Of course, you can also spring for one at a store like Target; if you get a cheap one and don’t pay shipping, it’ll set you back less than $10.)
- Locate “super glue,” a roll of duct tape, a bag of playground sand, a sand-scooping cup, a funnel, a pair of scissors and a sharp knife. You can actually get everything you need for this project, except for the ball, at your local hardware store. Figure 1.
- Cut small “X” in the b-ball (just large enough for the funnel tip to fit in). Figures 2, 3 and 4.
- Slip the funnel in the hole. (This may require patience, as the ball is also going to be collapsing as the air escapes and you’re trying to jam the funnel in. Just hang in there!) Using the cup and funnel, fill the ball with sand, shaking and rocking the ball back and forth now and then to help the sand settle. Figures 5 and 6.
- When filled, glue the slit and allow to dry. Figure 7.
- Place a piece of tape over the glued slit going along the “equator” of the ball. Figure 8.
- Place another rectangular piece of tape over the slit going along the longitudinal line of the ball. Figure 9.
- Now, wrap that puppy in duct tape. Take your time and cover it well. This job is something you can do while watching TV … take care to cover it completely, overlapping the edges of tape as you wrap. Figure 10.
- NOTE: If you use your ball on rough surfaces (e.g., the garage floor, driveway, etc.), you’ll need to re-wrap it with fresh duct tape now and then. If you see the orange of the ball peeking through, that’s a clue that it’s time to wipe it clean and re-wrap it.
Next up ~ kettlebells and bars.
©Cathy Larripa and Kissworkouts, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cathy Larripa and KissWorkouts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.