Last night I was re-reading the February issue of Runner’s World magazine and giving a bit more thought to the article on core strengthening – Fully Fit. I do incorporate core toning into my training plan because that seems to address all those pesky leg injuries that happen due to weakness in the body. In addition, a comment by John Cook, the Olympic coach profiled in the article, caught my eye. He said, “If you’re just running, you’re developing one thing: breathing.” The article continues, ‘Eventually, speed disappears, and you’re destined to shuffle…’ Well, I don’t need to get any slower. I really wouldn’t mind getting a bit faster. All it takes is work, right?
Anyway – the article had three parts and one part showed a variety of exercises using a ‘medicine ball’. Interesting name. It conjures the image of medication in a horse size pill. In actuality, it is a soft rubber ball filled with sand in various weights used to enhance fitness. Even taking the source with a grain of salt, this information about the history of the medicine ball interested me. I purchased one yesterday and it is 5 lbs in weight, about 8 inches in diameter, and swirly yellow and white in color. I messed around with it a bit last night and it’s oddly fun to play with. Why more fun than a 5 lb dumbbell? It’s easier to hold onto in some ways – there is more surface to grasp on the ball than there is on a dumbbell. Also, some ball exercise involve throwing it around, which isn’t something you usually do with a dumbbell. The purpose of exercises with the ball is to develop explosive strength which translates into speed for runners.
Since the windchill today is between 30 and 40 below, I will do my weight training this evening and try a set of medicine ball exercises as well.
OK. I did my usual total body weight workout tonight and then tried out the medicine ball. I did one set of each exercise in the article except for the tosses. I’ll need an outdoor wall for those as I don’t wish to pummel my house with a 5 lb. ball. I was initially skeptical that 5 lbs. would require much effort on my part. Having tried it out, I think the weight is perfect for learning the moves and developing proper form. I’ll do more sets of the exercises and try out the DVD that came with the ball. In March I think I may move up to the next size ball – but we will see. Right now I am enjoying the new exercises. It keeps things interesting!