by Dan Staton, MS, PES, CrossFit Level II Coach
Bowhunters rely on a strong core to help in the chores of hauling awkward loads in and out of the field, as well as midline stability during kneeling and crouching archery shots. To keep a finely tuned core that will benefit your shooting and bowhunting efforts, turn up the intensity knob of your training program with the medicine ball workout routine. The medicine ball workout lends itself to exhausting grunts as well as fast fatigue to your core muscles.
I recommend mixing medicine balls into your workout because they’re different from what your used to, and they’re surprisingly challenging. Intensity will always be the common denominator when it comes to fitness results and this is another component to add to your bag of tricks. As you pick up a 10 lb. medicine ball, don’t be had by the how it feels initially light – and don’t be fooled into thinking you found another cute workout … this feeble rubber ball may just get the best of you shortly!
The Medicine Ball 200
This is the old-school way to get your body in game shape. Perform this routine at the end of your regular workout or as a stand-alone workout, three days a week. Use a 10-lb. medicine ball, which you can purchase at www.power-systems.com. Do 20 repetitions of each exercise in the order shown. Complete the routine as a circuit, doing one set of each movement in succession and without resting. Too easy? Rest 90 seconds and do the circuit again.
1. Big Circles - Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, hold a medicine ball with your arms extended directly above your head [A]. Without bending your elbows, rotate your arms counterclockwise [B], using the ball to draw large imaginary circles in front your body [C, D]. Do 10 circles, and then reverse direction to clockwise and do 10 more.
2. Woodchopper - Stand with your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. With your arms nearly straight, hold a medicine ball above your head [A]. Now bend forward at your waist and mimic throwing the ball backward between your legs – but hold onto the ball the entire time [B]. Quickly reverse the movement with the same intensity, and return to the starting position. That's one repetition.
Hopefully you too will become a loyal disciple of the med-ball workout. I can promise you that if executed properly, you’ll feel it everywhere the next day and you’ll absolutely, undeniably, see the results shortly. The concept of completing an entire total-body workout using nothing more than an 10-lb. medicine ball may not seem intimidating. But consider: This two-exercise routine is a variation of the one that University of North Carolina strength and conditioning coach Jonas Sahratian uses to whip the Tar Heels into championship-game shape. It's designed to help you build a rock-solid core, burn fat, and improve your sports performance. I often complement an intense morning workout with an afternoon med-ball circuit, which provides tremendous bang for the buck. The aim with the med-ball workout is to teach athletes how to move efficiently, so they ultimately can end up moving dynamically. We must address the smaller intrinsic muscles along the spine, hips, and adominals (the core) that provide stability and durability for us outdoor athletes.
The mission is to train the body in all three planes of motion: up and down, forward and backward, side to side, since the medicine ball rarely travels the same path from repetition to repetition. That's the way your body operates in athletics, in the outdoors, and in everyday life. There's also a tremendous endurance benefit to the med-ball routine, with blood lactate levels spiking and cardiovascular health improving with each rep. Get Serious, Get Fit … and you’ll enjoy the outdoors even more!
"A lot of this is about work capacity - the ability to tolerate work and recover from it," Sahratian says. "Basically we're programming all these muscle groups to function together at one time so you can synchronize the whole kinetic chain from the legs through the hips and the back and into the upper body. When you start doing this, your heart rate goes through the roof," Sahratian says. "Plus, it's incredible core work. And for any average guy out there, it's great for burning body fat. Trust me, this isn't exclusive to Division I basketball players. It's a routine that'd be valuable for people in everyday life, whether it's weekend warriors staying in shape for their sports or just people who want to stay healthy."