Medicine Ball Training

Fit to Paddle

The Paddler’s Guide to Strength and Conditioning by Rocky Snyder

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.

Louis Pasteur

When looking back at the history of fitness in America it becomes hard not to laugh at all of the contraptions purported to be beneficial to good health. From the waist belt that connected to a vibrating machine to jiggle unwanted pounds away to the little adhesive pads that would electrocute a beer belly into the abdomens of Adonis.

However, there is one object that has stood the test of time and has recently been receiving more attention: the good old medicine ball. A medicine ball is simply a heavy ball used to perform various bending, throwing, lifting, and twisting movements. These actions require cooperation and coordination of the core muscles with the arms and legs. The core refers to the trunk and torso of the body. The exercises are more functional and specific to every day 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 those that are more complex.

The following medicine ball exercises are great for paddlers. Medicine balls come in a variety of weights and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. It might be wise to start with a 3-5lb. medicine ball to train the muscles in the proper movement before increasing intensity with heavier balls.