The traditional image of medicine ball exercises is one of tough boxers working out in a rugged gym environment. While commonplace, medicine ball training is not exclusive to boxing gyms. The versatility of medicine balls makes them perfect for use in an injury rehabilitation program. Medicine balls add helpful resistance to the exercises and keep sessions from being boring. Anyone going through a rehab program should ask trainers about including medicine ball workouts.
The Knee Exercise Tweak
There are a number of basic strengthening exercises designed to help the knee recover after a sprain or tear. The standard step-up exercise is one of the simplest to perform. All it entails is stepping onto a small bench one foot at a time and then stepping off the bench the same way. The person's body weight provides the gravitational pull that helps the connecting muscles and tissue become stronger. Performing the exercise while holding a medicine ball adds weight which, in turn, contributes to further strengthening muscle and connective tissue.
Bouncing for Total Rehab Work
Isolation exercises reflect a single example of how medicine balls help rehab injuries. A mix of different types of medicine balls and varied workouts could strengthen the body fully and evenly.
The inclusion of a rubber, lighter, bouncing medicine ball helps integrate both the upper and lower body into the workouts. Throwing a ball to the ground and catching it when the ball bounces back requires the use of the triceps, forearms, and shoulders. Hopping and chasing after the ball requires the use of the quads, knees, and calves. As far as total body workouts go, these types of medicine ball exercises are excellent since the entire body is strengthened, and not just areas where the injury is located. Total body workouts help strengthen support muscles, which then take stress off the injured region.
Inquiring of the Rehab Therapist
Even though the rehab therapist may be trained in how to devise workout programs with medicine balls, he/she might not always use them. If you are undergoing rehabilitation services, asking the therapist to add medicine ball exercises could be beneficial. Specifically, medicine ball workouts could help when you feel the current workout is lacking in intensity or results.
Do not, however, allow boredom to lead you to buy gym equipment and start working out on your own. The exercise program must be specifically designed to focus on injury rehab. Using a medicine ball in a way that does not deal with rehab could very well worsen an injury.