Medical balls are designed to improve your strength, potency, resistance and functional physical state to add resistance to strength training and plyometric exercises. To fit the demands of different exercises, as well as the different levels of strength, medical balls come in a variety of shapes, sizes and weights ranging from one to 30 pounds. The selection of the appropriate weight for the medicine ball is determined according to the type of exercise you are going to perform, your level of individual strength and the number of repetitions you want to carry out.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the basic rule for selecting the appropriate weight of a medicine ball depends on its effect on movement speed, accuracy, control or range of motion. When a medicine ball is too heavy, your motor skills and stamina diminish as a result of improper posture and technique, which can eventually lead to injury.
Plyometrics and strength training
Plyometrics and strength training exercises commonly involve the use of medicine balls to increase exercise intensity, and generate power, speed and strength development. For power training exercises, the weight of the medicine ball should be approximately 30 to 50 percent of your maximum limit per repetition for a similar weight training exercise. For activities involving multiple joints such as throwing over the head, the medicine ball should be large enough to comfortably control it with both hands, while incorporating all the major muscle groups involved in the movement.
For abdominal training exercises, the general size of the medicine ball should be smaller and lighter, so you can maximize speed and technique. Choose a weight with which you can carry out the desired number of repetitions without losing control or affecting the technique. You can usually choose a higher weight for the abdominal exercises in which you hold the ball about your body, but use a lighter ball when you hold the ball away from your body.
As your strength increases, you can also increase the weight of the medicine ball. Always start with the lightest of these implements to learn the proper posture and technique, before increasing the weight. This gradual progress is commonly called the principle of progressive overload and is associated with the increase of force, and improvement of movement control.Choosing the appropriate medicine ball and gradually increasing the weight is essential to maximize the training results, while preventing injuries.