MMA and BJJ are dynamic sports.
You need to be able to access all different kinds of strength such as isometric strength (squeezes and chokes), plyometric strength (explosive moves like double legs), structural strength (keeping your posture and preventing yourself from being moved without your will) and many other facets of athleticism.
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It’s also an uneven kind of strength. In some sports and vocations, you’re allowed to start and move from a position of power and stability.
Think of power-lifting. The athletes are given as much time as needed to get themselves into a solid power base before they have to perform the exercises. With a bench press, you wouldn’t dare move the weight until you’re body is secure and ready.
MMA and BJJ competitors do not have that luxury.
Often you’ll be fighting out of positions where you have no core strength and stability, like trying to stand up and disengage after being taken down against the cage. This can be difficult to train for outside of actual sparring and drilling.
But luckily, objects like medicine balls can be a worthwhile addition to your training for a variety of reasons.
You can use medicine ball to do uneven push-ups; one hand on the ground (or in the air) whilst the other is pressed against the moving object in the medicine ball. This helps you nurture the kind of strength you’ll be forced to utilise in combat.
The most common use for medicine bottles is with plyometric exercises. You might have seen athletes throwing these balls against the wall or the floors as hard as they can. This is to help build their explosiveness, so they can shoot their double legs quicker and more powerfully and for them to gain the edge in a scramble.
Medicine balls are also used as added weight when doing crunches or even to infamously have them thrown into your midsection whilst doing those crunches. Your trainer will tell you that it “builds character”.
Either way, medicine balls are an excellent addition to your home gym and you should find them a secure place within your home workouts.
The Best Medicine Balls
This ball is solid and made with a sturdy rubber construction. You don’t have to worry about it popping or deflating with repeated use.
Whilst it’s nowhere near as bouncy as a basketball, it does still have a certain amount of give and bounce to it when being thrown at floor or at a solid wall. Just make sure you don’t throw it around in your dining room…
The rubber material also gives the ball a superior grip so you can easily stay in control of the ball regardless of how sweaty you become.
It comes in five different sizes, each increasing weight in 2 pound increments each time; from 4 pounds to 12 pounds. Something to fit everyones strength levels.
What sets this medicine ball apart from many others on the markets is the dual grip carved out of the ball. With this grip, you can use it for every ordinary medicine ball exercise and plenty more.
The grip makes it easier to hold when doing weighted crunches and can even turn your medicine ball into a makeshift kettlebell.
This is probably the perfect ball to use if you like to do twisting crunches. You can twist and crunch without dropping the medicine ball and tarnishing your workout or momentum.
The ball itself is sturdy with a solid core and no moving parts, or any other bits to worry about. You can balance on this ball if your workout requires you to without it breaking or losing shape.
Most medicine balls increase or decrease in size as they go up or down in weight, which does seem to make sense.
But with Valeo, each ball is the same size, regardless of weight.
This is especially beneficial if you use a lower weight ball. The smaller balls can be more awkward to use and throw around, especially if you’re used to a more standard sized medicine ball.
Conversely, the heavier balls can get too big and unwieldy sometimes. It’s a good idea that Valeo use one standardised size for all for people who use extremely light or extremely heavy medicine balls but want that ordinary shape and size.
The sizes offered are 4 pounds, 6 pounds, 8 pounds, 10 pounds and 12 pounds.
Like most quality medicine balls, it has a solid rubber construction that allows it to bounce off of hard surfaces without pinging off like a basketball and without the ball breaking.
CAP Barbell craft the medicine balls in six different weights; from 2 pounds up 12 pounds, increasing in 12 pound increments.
But you can also choose any weight in any of their six colours.
A lot of companies only have different colours or styles to correspond with specific weights. If you use a certain weight but don’t like the colour, you’re normally screwed.
So it’s nice that CAP Barbell gives you that rare choice.
This ball has enough bounce for you to bounce it against a wall and catch it as part of a wall drill exercise. Some balls do not have this kind of bounce, so if wall drills are something you’re interested in then you’re best off playing it safe with this medicine ball.
Now, this product has a real classic 1950’s American gym class look and feel to it. The other balls on the list are more like basketballs with their rough texture and ridged exteriors.
But this ball is designed with a thick leather cover so it can withstand an intense workout and last you a long time. No matter how much of a beating you give it.
Whilst no substance and functionality has been compromised in the crafting of this ball, style is clearly a big factor.
Champion Sports sell this ball in 8 different colours such as green and white, blue and white, red and white, etc.
However, if you plan on using your medicine ball to throw at a hard concrete wall or floor, then this might not be the ball for you.
Medicine balls have a ton of uses and almost all of those uses are beneficial to the aspiring BJJ trainee and MMA fighter.
Whether your explosive strength needs work or your core strength is lacking, medicine balls can provide the workout you need to become a better you.