T Nation

Medicine Balls

I am considering purchasing a medicine ball (or two) to add to the basement gym. It sounds like an interesting GPP-type implement…next would be some sledgehammers…but back to the medicine ball for now…

What are the most useful sizes/styles? Is it safe to throw one against a basement foundation wall? (That’s “safe” as in, safe for the wall…I’m not as worried about safe for me. Having to repair the foundation wall of my house would burn a LOT of spousal points.) What books/articles do you recommend? Anything else I need to consider?


Gratuitous self-bump. Surely someone has some pearl of wisdom about medicine balls. (No? Really? Then make something up…I won’t know the difference.)

Just my 2 cents:

I, a 180lbs man, use a 3kg and a 6kg. 3kg is used for speed work, 6kg is used for power work.

I wouldn’t do that. Stand a mat on the wall and throw on it.

Training for Warriors by Martin Rooney. In is a book about MMA training. (But I am biased due to my Martial Arts background.)

  1. What size/weight to purchase depends on your goal and fitness level (see above)

  2. MB comes in leather and rubber surface. IMO leather is more friendly to catch, so go with leather if you intend to do partner work with the MB.

Happy training,

Geek boy


There’s two kinds of medicine balls I know about, the ‘dead’ ones the the ‘live’ ones. Live ones are bouncy and are usually more expensive, but they are better for the bouncing off foundation walls kinda thing. It really depends on what your wall is made of as to whether it will sustain damage from having a few kilos thrown at it.
A ‘dead’ medicine ball might go through it, whilst a ‘live’ medicine ball might bounce. I suspect that your foundation wall will be pretty strong, though - brick or concrete? No problem. Might damage the ball if the surface isn’t smooth, though.

Exercises are cool with the ‘live’ ones, normal ones I found boring.
Slam it against the ground woodchopping style, throw it up into the air for a reverse movement. Bounce against wall for speed from multiple angles (bend/twist). Catching it on the rebound makes it more interesting.

Have fun!

Sorry that I don’t have a lot of info. for you in terms of style, where to buy 'em etc. I use 'em w/ my clients and the weight depends on the strength of the individual and the particular exercise. I have them throw the MB’s underhand and back over their head into the wall. (I guess the wall at our gym is strong enuf, but I can’t guarentee the same for your basement wall) Sideways into the wall from different positions, i.e. bending down like in a DL position and “exploding” the ball into the wall; throwing it sideways from the waist to work on rotational power. You can also take the MB’s outside, (which can brake up the monotony of training) go for distance or height - like in the keg toss you may see in strong men comps. You can lie on your back and “bench press” it into the air as high as possible as in doing a speed bench press…just some ideas for you. Use the MB’s as ballistic excerices to compliment the rest of your training program.



Excellent, thanks everyone for the info.

I like the OOOF Balls. They bounce very well, and you don’t have to worry about them bursting or anything because they are solid (think of a larger version of a “super ball” that you get in those candy machines for a quarter).

I have a 4lb, 6lb and 9lb ball. You can use them anywhere and against any hard surface or with a partner. You can find them online.

[quote]jofjltn4 wrote:
What are the most useful sizes/styles? Is it safe to throw one against a basement foundation wall?[/quote]

I’ve been using a 10-pound ball by Century, it’s about the size of a very big canteloupe, or a pretty small soccer ball (same thing), and stays put wherever it’s dropped. I generally prefer “dead” balls to bouncing ones, since that’s what the exercises I use it require.

Wendler had a nice article at EliteFTS, I think, about a G.P.P. session they call “The Bob Youngs Conditioning Test”: Get outdoors, throw medicine ball, walk or jog to medicine ball, repeat for 10-20 minutes. Use any type of throw you want (I usually repeat cycles of 5 “reps” each of overhead soccer-style, between the legs forwards, between the legs backwards, 1-arm shotput-style, 2-arm side toss, basketball-style chest pass) That workout is a whole new type of fun-pain.

Here’s an old article from Paul Chek, talking about some “basic” med. ball moves:

You could try to build your own “tornado-like ball”, by wrapping your med. ball in the middle of a big towel, like a burrito. Twist the ends like you’re going to rat-tail whip someone, and duct tape the towel near each end of the ball, to keep it centered. Hold both ends while you’re swinging away. If that didn’t make any sense, never mind then, don’t try it. It’s easier to demonstrate, but…that’s a problem with the internet.

This makeshift thingy will work best if A - Your ball’s not too big, B - Your towel’s not old and worn out, and C - You strike a non-abrasive surface (so, put another towel or 2 covering the concrete area you’re going to hit).

This “Exercises You’ve Never Tried” article from earlier this year has 2 great moves, both by Coach Staley (coincidence? I think not) The Ball Smash, and The Supine Twisting Medicine Ball Pike (say that 4 times fast):

No, I think that about covers it.