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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Medicine Balls - Part Deux

Back again after some snow shoveling and weather whining.

There is an old joke about a guy who goes to the doctor and tells him that it hurts whenever he pokes his ribs. The doctor tells him to stop poking himself and the pain will stop.

Starting off with a medicine ball is going to exercise some muscles and ligaments that haven't been used in a while. They're going to get sore. Sore is OK, pain is not! If you feel real pain stop and think about it. Do you need a lighter ball? Do you need to do few reps as you start? Do you need to go see your doctor?

The first 2-3 weeks are going to seem to be going in reverse. You'll be surprised by the number of places you have muscles you never knew about. You'll feel worse, not better but it's actually a good thing. First, it means that you're making progress and, second, as long as it's not pain it means that you are in shape to improve.

The Great Medicine Ball Handbook: The Quick Reference Guide to Medicine Ball Exercises

What I'm about to describe is what I do each morning, YMMV. If you got the book you can follow along.

I should mention reps. How many should you do? I think a better question is, "How many do you want to do?" Is your goal to achieve tone or to build muscle? How much time do you have? My opinion is that the discipline of a regular schedule is more important than any specific count. If you try for 50 but only do it occasionally you will accomplish nothing. You will only irritate yourself and the ball will end up at the Goodwill store. Some days I only do 6 reps of each exercise, others I do 20. Better to do some small amount and stay on schedule than to skip a day. You will never make it up! If you say you will do this every other day then don't go to bed until you have done it on that day. The number of reps will sort themselves out as you go along and you'll figure out what meets your goals and time constraints. If you find that you're doing a really high number of reps then it's time to get the next heavier ball. I'd suggest starting at 6 reps each exercise and then increasing by 1 until you feel you're being challenged but not killing yourself.

Warming up and stretching is crucial. On the other hand if I did all the warm-ups in the book I would never get to the exercises.

1. I hold the ball at chest level and then bend over until my back is parallel with the floor. I let all my muscles relax and let the ball dangle from my hands. This stretches out my butt, back and shoulder muscles. I count to 8 and straighten up. Like page 28 except that I start at my chest.

2. Ball over my head I squat and swing the ball in a straight armed arc until it's between my feet. I keep my back vertical while I do this. It stretches my legs and arms and gets the blood moving.

Next time, I'll put together the exercises that are the core of my workout.

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