Medicine balls and exercise balls are two different pieces of equipment. They are relatively cheap and very useful additions to workouts, often used to help maximise the number of muscles used during exercises.
Sometimes referred to as exercise balls, medicine balls are weighted balls usually slightly larger than a basketball. They are generally available in weights between 1kg and 11kg, and are commonly used for strength training and rehabilitation purposes.
They are effective pieces of equipment when performing plyometric weight training, helping to increase your explosive power. Medicine balls can be beneficial for people in many different sports, thanks to the many ways in which they can be used.
You may hold a medicine ball as you complete sit-ups to increase the difficulty, or you may replace a basketball with a medicine ball in training, to increase the speed of your passes.
Medicine balls are useful pieces of equipment because they can be moved all around, helping to increase the work your core does during exercises. This is different to normal weights which usually don’t allow for too much motion, or carry a risk of damage if you drop them.
As well as different weights and sizes, some medicine balls have handles to help you incorporate them safely into your workout.
Sometimes referred to as Swiss balls, exercise balls are much larger than medicine balls, and filled with air. They are also very light, and very elastic. They can be used for training exercises and physical therapy.
Exercise balls can be used in countless ways, but are commonly used to improve stability and core strength. Such an example of this may be sitting on an exercise ball as you lift two dumbbells up above your head. The instability will mean many more muscles are engaged to keep you stable, increasing the effectiveness of the workout.
You can also use them to change up ‘normal’ workouts such as press-ups, by resting your legs or feet on the exercise ball, again engaging more muscles as you try to maintain your balance throughout the workout.
Using a valve, it is possible to increase or decrease the pressure of the ball to meet your needs.