Creative Conditioning: Installment 1 – Medicine Ball Medleys
Written on September 19, 2020 at 10:34 am, by Eric Cressey
It’s important to have plenty of tools in your training toolbox to challenge energy systems development. With that in mind, I wanted to kick off a Creative Conditioning series for you. Hopefully, some of these options give you some variety to not only keep clients/athletes engaged, but also to help them stay healthy and continue to move well in the process.
One of the downsides of traditional cardio is that you typically get stuck in repetitive patterns through small ranges of motion. So, while you might be challenging energy systems in the ways you want, you may simultaneously be creating unfavorable biomechanical challenges. With that in mind, I always like to have higher-amplitude, less repetitive options for our clients.
Medicine ball circuits are one such option. In this version, I use the 6lb med ball for shuffle to scoop toss (5/side), side-to-side overhead stomps (5/side), and reverse lunge to shotput (5/side) – and it works out to right about a minute of work.
A few notes:
1. Medicine ball work is awesome because it won’t make you sore (very little eccentric overload), offers endless variations/combinations, and provides a more significant functional carryover to the real-world.
2. Medicine ball medleys won’t absolutely bury your lower body like sprinting or cycling can, so it can be an approach that fits into your overall programming a bit more “conveniently.”
3. You can keep it simple with in-place options, or – as I do here – add more excursions with side shuffles, sprints, etc. to add a bit of complexity.
4. I wouldn’t use medicine ball medleys with true beginners for conditioning because fatigue negatively impacts technique, and you can wind up seeing some ugly rotational patterns as sets progress. The last thing you want to do is chew up a lower back while you’re trying to get heart rate up.
5. We use the Extreme Soft Toss Med Balls from Perform Better. I’ve found them to be the best blend of ideal rebound and durability.
Try them out – and remember that the only limit is your imagination.
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