Oates Specialties has a number of new products that I plan on featuring in the coming posts. One of our newest additions is a line of products that will share the name “Khaos.” Our line of Khaos products are uneven and/or unstable training products designed to challenge athletes during their workouts, often taking routine exercises and making them much more difficult. And for those of you who know anything about Greek Mythology, Khaos (or Chaos) was the name of one of the Greek gods at the beginning of the universe. Khaos was the lower atmosphere which surrounded the earth—comprised of invisible air and gloomy mist, which seems apt to name such a line of products.
The first product in the Khaos line is the TAP Khaos Water Ball. The Khaos Water Ball is, essentially, a medicine ball on steroids. It is a medicine ball whose weight is derived from the amount of water you fill it with. In this respect, it is similar in concept to the TAP Strength and Stability Trainer. The ball contains a filler port making it easy to vary the amount of water in the ball, thereby altering the weight and stability. As with the TAP Strength and Stability Trainer, the more water you add to the ball the heavier it becomes, but also the more stable, as the water does not shift around as much. Conversely, if there is less water in the ball it is lighter, but more unstable as the water is constantly sloshing around. The TAP Khaos Water Ball is available in three sizes:
1. Small (Green)—Approximately 30 pounds when filled to capacity;
2. Medium (Blue)—Approximately 50 pounds when filled to capacity;
3. Large (Red)—Approximately 80 pounds when filled to capacity.
The ball is durably constructed and will absorb impact when dropped, but is not intended or designed for impact throws or slams. If you are interested in such exercises, the TAP Pummel Ball is what you are looking for.
The TAP Khaos Water Ball can be used in any manner a traditional medicine ball is used (minus the slams), but adds a whole new dimension. Each exercise is much more difficult, as the athlete not only has to move the weight of the medicine ball, but also has to control the added instability caused by the ever-shifting water. The movement of the water creates a feeling that the ball is actually much heavier than the weight indicates. Specifically, the water requires the athlete to constantly stabilize the ball, which makes every muscle in the body engage, especially those small, hard to target muscles throughout the abs, obliques, and shoulders. Additionally, any slight movement in the wrong direction, such as when an athlete loses balance, is compounded, as the water shifts in that direction making the wrong movement that much more difficult to correct.
Although there are a plethora of exercises that can be performed with the TAP Khaos Water Ball, below are a few, with pictures, that can be performed and will challenge athletes of all ages.
(1) Sitting side to side:
This is one of the oldest exercises in the book, yet it feels completely different with the water inside the medicine ball. Instead of simply having to redirect the weight of the medicine ball when you touch the ground beside you, the athletes actually has to redirect the weight and momentum of the water within the ball, making it much more difficult. Suggestion: do not pound the ball on the ground, but instead challenge yourself to move as fast as you can side to side with as soft a touch a possible on the ground. This will require your body to create the change in direction without help from the impact and bounce off of the ground.
(2) Lunge with ball (with or without ball extended from chest):
Lunges are critical for athletes, especially baseball athletes who perform nearly all of their athletic movements on either one leg or with their legs extended apart (e.g., throwing, pitching, hitting, leading off a base and stealing, etc.). Instead of simply using dumbbells hanging at your side, take the TAP Khaos Water Ball and hold it to your chest. Now as you lunge out you will have to stabilize the water, requiring additional concentration of body positioning. If you lose balance for even a second the water will shift forcing your core and stabilizers to work double time to maintain the lunge. For an advanced version of this exercise, the athlete can hold the ball extended away from his chest. This causes the arms and shoulders to fire as well as exaggerating any instability in the movement.
(3) Lunge with twist:
This is a variation of the above exercise. Once the athlete steps forward and begins to dip into the bottom of the lunge he twists the ball against the front leg. The further the ball is extended from the chest the more difficult the movement. This causes the core and lower half to stabilize and hold the lunge while the twist is performed and while the water is moving inside the ball.
(4) Squat to overhead press:
This exercise is more of a full body movement. The athlete holds the side of the ball close to the chest and performs a squat. From the squat position, the athlete returns to the standing position and extends the TAP Khaos Water Ball above his head. This exercise should be done in one fluid movement: squat to stand to press back to squat. Moving the ball from against the chest in a squat to pressed above the head causes the water to move and the athlete is forced to remain in control. The athlete will notice that when the ball is pressed above his head the shoulders and core are forced to engage and stabilize the sloshing water within the ball.
(5) Ground to shoulder:
In this exercise, the ball begins on the ground. The athlete must squat down to pick the ball up, similar to a deadlift, and from this position stand up and place the ball on top of his shoulder. The athlete then returns the ball to the ground and picks it up once again to place it on the top of the opposite shoulder. This full body exercise really focuses on the core as the ball is being placed from the ground to the shoulder and has to be carefully controlled.
(6) Ball to feet:
Many of you have performed this exercise with a traditional medicine ball. The athlete starts flat on his back with the ball extended past his head. He then moves the ball and his feet toward one another so that they touch at the top when the athlete’s body is in a “bow” position. This is a serious abdominal/core exercise. For added difficulty, have the athlete exchange the ball from the hands to the feet during each up and down.
The above are just six example exercises that can be done with the extremely versatile TAP Khaos Water Ball. It challenges an athlete like no traditional air filled medicine ball can. Plus, you can add or subtract water depending on the strength, size, and age of the athlete using it. I highly recommend you check it out and add it to your workout routine.
Until next time,