26 May, 2016

As most personal trainers understand, some forms of exercise can become monotonous for clients after a period of time. While the client might be focussed on an end-goal, if the journey is filled with the same workouts day after day, there is the chance that their progress will begin to plateau slow.

Personal trainers understand that keeping clients motivated and interested in their fitness goals is a fundamental and essential requirement of the job. This doesn't necessarily mean regularly introducing new equipment, but can include new ways in which to use equipment that has been tried and tested for years.

One piece of gym equipment which can be utilised in plenty of different ways to keep a workout fresh and interesting, are medicine balls. Not to be confused with the softer exercise or Swiss ball, medicine balls can be used by a range of clients with different fitness goals.

What is a medicine ball?

Essentially, medicine balls are weighted spheres that are available between one and 11 kilograms.

In recent years, the prominence of other gym equipment such as kettlebells has meant that medicine balls are a rarer sight. However, medicine balls hold the tactile element over kettlebells and are just as useful to clients looking for a point of difference. As medicine balls are smaller and heavier than their exercise counterparts, they can make the biggest impact around strength training and rehabilitation.

Read on to find out more about the various ways medicine balls can be used.

Medicine balls can provide key strength benefits.
Medicine balls can provide key strength benefits.

Strength training

Across many sports, explosive power is a vital element in order to beat the competition. To be strong and faster, athletics need to be able to create maximum power – something medicine balls can help with.

According to Muscle and Fitness, the flexibility of the medicine ball shape and weight mean there are countless exercises for clients to try. Additionally, medicine balls test multiple parts of the body at once which is perfect for overall health, fitness and sporting performance.

Apart from improving core strength, there are a number of other medicine ball advantages. This includes:

  • Flexibility
  • Range of motion
  • Coordination
  • Upper- and lower-body strength

Whether clients are performing squats, lunges, push-ups or core work, medicine balls add a valuable layer of resistance and strengthen key muscle groups. With so many different exercises to choose from, athletes can change up their workout routine, while continuing to test different parts of their body.

Medicine balls can be used for rehabilitation purposes.
Medicine balls can be used for rehabilitation purposes.

Rehabilitation

Another important area of medicine balls is around rehabilitation. In many cases, the best way for clients to get back to 100 per cent health is through exercise. As described by Perform Better as "a logical crossover from sports training", medicine balls are both low-cost and portable – making them very accessible and versatile.

Perfect for spinal, shoulder and knee injuries, medicine balls can be used soon after the injury and towards the end of the recovery. Of course, it is important for personal trainers to understand their client's injury and limitations in order not to hamper progress.

With such a wide variety of exercises, personal trainers can create individualised workouts that target core areas of their client's body to assist with the rehabilitation process. After the injury has healed, medicine balls can continue to be part of a client's ongoing fitness workouts.

The trick with medicine balls is that there is a lot of technique involved in order to test the right muscle groups while performing the exercise safely. As such, personal trainers need to be able to show clients how to do each exercise correctly and watch their technique develop over time.

To learn more about the various gym equipment that personal trainers can incorporate in fitness plans, feel free to contact the team at Australian Fitness Academy today.

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