Fit to Surf
Copyright© 2003 by Rocky Snyder. All rights reserved.
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Medicine Ball Training
Looking back at the history of fitness in America, it's hard not to laugh at some of the contraptions purported to be beneficial to good health — from the waist belt connected to a vibrating machine that was supposed to jiggle away unwanted pounds to the little electric shock pads that would jolt a beer belly into the abdomen of Adonis.
At least one fitness item, however, has stood the test of time and is now receiving new attention: the good old medicine ball. A medicine ball is simply a heavy ball used in performing various bending, throwing, lifting, and twisting movements. These movements mimic the torso action involved when riding a wave. It would be dangerous to play catch with a dumbbell but it can be a lot of fun with a medicine ball. Medicine balls come in all sizes and weights, from one pound to 25 pounds, and are stuffed with rags and sand to provide weight. They can be purchase at most sporting goods stores. It might be wise to start with a 3-pound to 5-pound ball to help train the muscles in the proper movement before increasing intensity with heavier balls.
Medicine ball movements require cooperation and coordination between the body's core muscles in the torso with those of the arms and legs. Medicine ball exercises are more functional and specific to everyday life because they focus on transferring force from the core to the rest of the body. Many of today's exercise machines fail to do this because they concentrate on isolating movements rather than on those that are more complex.
The following medicine ball exercises are great for surfers. Consider medicine ball exercises as another portion of the strength training part of your program. Exercises with a medicine ball are also a great way to warm up all the body's muscles