Many coaches, players, and individuals have realized the benefits that stem from performing explosive, dynamic exercises with a medicine ball. I was first introduced to such throws in high school when I began training with Coach Ron Wolforth and his Athletic Pitcher program. In this program we performed a series of catapult throws that incorporated a number for different dynamic movements. Usually the first exercise that we would do was from our knee. We would start on one knee and then rare back and throw the medicine ball as hard as we could from this position. The goal was to generate enough energy to throw the ball with force and then let that momentum carry you off the ground and over your plant leg.

Next, we would move to a stride position with our legs spread wide, like we were throwing a baseball, and rock back and throw the ball with as much force as we could. This drill was followed by torques, which required the athlete to twist and throw the ball, helping improve rotational strength and the separation between hips and shoulders. Next, were backward throws where the athlete performed the same exercise as standing catapults, except the focus was to strengthen the back muscles and not the abdominal muscles. The last throw in this series was called running catapults. It required the athlete to get a running head start and perform as hard of a catapult throw as he could manage with the aid of the momentum generated from running.

While these are some of the basic throws in Coach Wolforth’s Athletic Pitcher program, there are many other types of dynamic throws that are popular. For example, medicine ball slams into the ground have frequently been used to explosively train the core as well. These types of throws are being used to train athletes in all sports as well in such training programs as Crossfit. No matter what type of throw or slam an athlete performs, it works to improve core strength, explosive power, stability, and endurance as well as enhance range of motion, coordination and flexibility. Here is an example of medicine ball slams into the ground:

With all of these medicine ball workouts becoming more popular, one thing becomes really apparent: medicine balls take a lot of abuse with all of the pounding against walls and the ground. Nearly everybody who has used a traditional, air filled medicine ball has experienced one (or several) bust during use. It is not hard to figure out why this happens, as strong athletes are repetitively throwing a rubber air filled ball against a hard surface. Eventually something has to give, and it is usually the wall of the ball.

Further, many coaches complain because air filled medicine balls rebound when they are thrown against a wall or the ground. Coaches who are having athletes perform ballistic throws or slams in tight areas, such as indoors, or those who have a large number of athletes performing the exercise at the same time, often don’t want it to bounce. These coaches dislike the fact that time is wasted as balls have to be chased down after a throw or when a ball bounces off the wall or ground and nearly takes out one of their athletes.

After several years of getting this type of feedback from our customers, Oates Specialties decided to find a ball that would be longer lasting and more durable to high impact activities. We recently began carrying the sand filled Extreme Duty Weighted balls, which are baseball sized and designed for weighted ball throwing programs as well as hitting programs. These balls have shown their durability over the last few months and even academies that have many athletes throwing and/or hitting these balls every day have been unable to break them.

With this type of durability, we decided to have these same balls made in a larger 9” diameter size for medicine ball activities. The result is that we now have a medicine ball designed specifically for high impact activities that is guaranteed to withstand such abuse.

This new ball, called the TAP Extreme Duty Pummel Ball is sand filled, allowing the ball to absorb the energy of the throw which is beneficial for two reasons. First, because the sand absorbs the energy, there is no bounce off of the hard surface. Second, because the ball can absorb the energy, it is not in danger of cracking. The Pummel Ball also does not have any traditional weak points such as a filler plug or any seams.

The Pummel Ball is available in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 pound weights and their soft shell allows for a firm grip. These balls are brand new but the reaction from coaches who are already using them has been tremendous. If you are tired of having to constantly replace your medicine balls each year because they are breaking and can’t hold up to the type of activities you want your athletes to perform, try out these new amazing Pummel Balls.

If you have any additional questions about these new balls, or any other product, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Until next time,

Brian Oates