Medicine ball training is one of the oldest forms of strength and conditioning training. Athletes use medicine balls to increase their core strength as well as making their stabilizer muscles work together for functional strength.
Here's a nicely illustrated pdf file showing different exercises using a medicine ball.
Medicine balls are expensive, and if you buy online the shipping adds big bucks to the cost. An 18lb medicine ball for $120 PLUS another $15 for shipping. I made a 26lb ball for under $15. I also made a smaller 10 lb ball.
There are plenty of web sites showing different ways to make your own medicine ball. I followed a method by Pierre Auge, but with a couple of changes.
First, click on this link Homemade medicine ball and a pdf file will open.
Step #1 calls for you to puncture the ball twice, one hole to allow air flow and one for the funnel. Instead of doing this, I just placed an air inflation needle in the ball and air could escape easily, and now you only need to puncture the ball once leaving only one hole to seal.
See where the rasp is sticking in the ball? It's right in the seam which is the thinnest part of the ball. This is the hole your funnel is going in and you have to seal later. I could never get this seal airtight. It's a better idea to puncture the ball anywhere else but the seam, giving you more ball thickness to work with and possibly making it easier to patch.
I followed the rest of the steps as illustrated. It took a long time to fill this with playground sand. You need to buy the finest sand you can get and it has to be dry to flow easily through the funnel. Silica sand used for sand blasting would be a better choice or even some have suggested sugar.
I mainly use this ball to warm up before lifting, so I haven't tried the slamming exercises to see if it holds up to this abuse.
This one I found on youtube is made with pea gravel and gorilla tape and might hold up to slamming:
Certain exercises require you to throw the medicine ball to a partner. If you're a solo exerciser all you need to buy is a mini trampoline and set it on an angle. You can find a mini trampoline at a garage sale or on craigslist, or if you have money to burn, buy this for only $779 plus another $58 shipping (yeah right):
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