Video Fitness

Medicine Ball Training

Mindy Mylrea

This is a total body strength training program. It is approximately an hour long and contains four sections: warm-up, standing work, floorwork and stretch. The fast moving pace adds to the intensity of the balance and stabilization work. She has available 4, 6 and 8 pound balls although the 8#er is not used. The video is filmed outside in a sunny Japanese garden. Mindy performs the entire workout on a bridge. The sound is very good. The picture is clear with occasional shadows on Mindy's face.

Warm-up ~ 8 min
Mindy suggests doing the workout first without weight to familiarize yourself with the exercises and to get a feel for balancing with a ball. She also knows that many will probably not have (nor invest in) a variety of weighted balls. Since you're more likely to buy a heavy ball she recommends using a plain plastic ball in this section. She uses the 4# ball. The warm-up is nothing "silly", just basics to raise core body temperature. To work abs you balance on one leg with ball held overhead and bend to one side then another. As a bonus you really feel all muscles in the supporting foot fight to stabilize you. The trunk is thoroughly warmed up after windmilling the ball while transferring the weight from one hand to another. Since the ball will be held isometrically during the workout she advises you to shake out your shoulders if they tense. Several ball-holding positions are demonstrated and you are reminded to listen to your body.

Legs ~ 26 min
Using a 4# ball she goes into one legged 1/2 squats and increases the intensity by touching various points on the ground before straightening. While I was dying she chirped, "Did ya feel it? Wow! Wasn't that cool!" These are very balanced and controlled moves. She moves on to 6# and begins a series of squats incorporating high knee lifts, side and back leg presses. Throughout this leg work you're pushing the ball toward the sky, to your side or downward. She deploys 6 sets of tiny plyo jumps and says, "oooh! That was fun!" I couldn't wait 'til they ended and Mindy is drenched in sweat. Next are several variations of lat rows, a small amount of static lunges followed by pinwheel lunges. She continues with butt-kicking lunges...literallly. She performs a set of 8 slow, 16 fast on each side. Then she says, " Ok, now that you know how it works we're gonna do two sets to each side". The first time I did this my jaw fell open because I was sure that was it...finished...over. In repeating these she takes breaks by working tricep & calf or bicep & calf. Squats with ball tosses finish this section.

Floorwork ~ 17 min
Side legs: traditional adductor lifts and double lifts with ball sandwiched between.
Pelvic tilts: adductor squeezes with hamstring/glute focus.
Traditional abs: oblique presses, reverse curls with ball between legs.
Non-traditional abs: Various torso twists that include stabilizing your bent legs in air. Rotational twists where you twist to place a ball behind the back and twist to the opposite side to get it. (She instructs where the movement should be coming from)
Back work: prone (cobra-ish)...extend ball away from body.
Push-ups: split push-ups with one hand on ball, one off. Stabilization in plank position with both hands on ball while lifting one leg at a time varying the angle. Tough stuff!
Repeats the push-ups. She remarks that a smaller ball makes it tougher. Then straight leg push-ups, both hands on ball. Repeats for another set.
Side stabilization: triangle with one arm pointed to sky while pulling hip down to floor then lifting up.
Traditional push-ups without the ball.
After every two or three floor exercises Mindy briefly stretches.

Stretches ~ 2 min
Some brief seated side, spine and hamstring stretches using the ball. She says you can increase the intensity & challenge as you grow stronger by "getting bigger balls," then reconsiders and adds, "don't take that wrong, now!"

Comments She is encouraging during the workout with statements like, "You're so strong, today!" and "What a great job you're doing!" There are plenty of trademark "Wows!" and funny remarks. A great alternative to (or break from) traditional dumbbell/barbell workouts! As such, I felt more challenged using the medicine ball than my Body Bar videos...but that's my opinion. Obviously "challenge" is a very individual thing. Mine is balance. The workout is super effective, engaging a variety of muscles to stabilize the body while performing each movement.

I used the tape with dumbbells before purchasing the medicine ball and I honestly feel the medicine ball is superior. I seem to have greater control balancing and obviously it's less unnerving to toss a bounceable ball in the air than a dumbbell! I used a 4# ball for the warm-up and a 6.6# ball for the rest of the workout. If I had a heavier ball I would have used it during lat, tricep and bicep work. While I feel a weighted ball enhances the workout you can certainly substitute dumbbells, ankle weights or other objects. As a 40 (+er) I am now more aware of how important balance is for my muscular-skeletal system. I feel this workout will help strengthen this area and enhance my performance in other balance-dependent activities: cycling, kickboxing and skiing.

K.T.
9/21/00

I chose this tape because it's one of the only medicine ball tapes out there, and I love working out with medicine balls (I have three.) After doing the tape a couple of times I now put it in and start out with the warm up and the first few exercises, then when it starts getting repetitive (about 20 minutes into it) I substitute my own exercises until something interesting comes back on. I wish I could splice the good parts of the tape and leave out the repetitive parts (like this lunge-kickback move that is very monotonous and she does it way too many times). I would love to see her come out with another medicine ball video with more varied moves, or perhaps she could do a combo medicine ball-dumbbell-stability ball video-which is the workout I end up doing using segments of her tape for the medicine ball parts.

Diana Chen
8/16/01



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