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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Medicine Balls: A Panegyric

Writing two gym-themed posts in a row isn't what I had planned, but I had such an excellent workout today, I needed to express my absolute (albeit exhausting) delight with the medicine ball.

Before getting to the medicine ball, I did a random hill workout on the bike, which was bearable only because of Van Morrison and Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping.  All told, it wasn't too terribly bad, but 45 minutes was enough.  Then it was onto the most random part of the gym--the area where there's a mat, a wall of mirrors, and a myriad of random items--little free weights, Bosu balls, weight benches at 45 degree angles for ab workouts, and a rack of medicine balls.

Before I came to the gym, I looked up several workouts using medicine balls online.  Since I did a strenuous workout for my lower body with a personal trainer on Monday, I wanted to focus on abs and arms today.  Unfortunately, my memory didn't serve me too well (I'm going to print out the exercises and keep them in my bag for next time), and I only sort-of remembered a couple of exercises.  To start, I did two sets of standing oblique twists for one minute apiece, two sets of wood chops (I went from the ball over my head down to the outside of one ankle, then up again and down to the opposite ankle) for one minute apiece, and finally two sets of sitting in a sit-up position, back at a forty-five degree angle to the floor, passing the medicine ball straight-armed from one side to the other, one minute each set.  Then, I repeated all sets/exercises.  All of these exercises were with a 10 lb ball.

Next, I took the 4 lb ball and did some ab work on the angled ab work bench.  I held the ball up in front of me and aimed for several different areas on the ceiling, hitting different sets of abs or my obliques each time.  I did two sets of ten reps for each ceiling area. (I realize this part of the workout sounds bizarre; I made it up!).  By the end of these repetitions, I was totally beat and stretched out.

Right now, my shoulders are sore and my biceps ache, but I'm sure that it'll go away soon and I'll have stronger arms and core!

So, the next time you're in that random area of the gym (and every gym has one), try out some medicine ball exercises.  They're great for engaging multiple muscle groups and are downright exhausting.  I'm sure they won't disappoint!

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