Medicine Balls are the resistance training tool of choice for so many, but where did the craze of exercising with a weighted ball begin? From Ancient Persia to today, we’re exploring the history of medicine balls in this blog.
Where did it all start?
The earliest medicine balls can be dated back as far as 3,000 years ago. How do we know this? Ancient drawings suggest that Persian wrestlers used to train with sand-filled bladders. Not quite the medicine balls that we’re familiar with today, but nevertheless this was the birth of resistance training with a weighted ball.
Similarly, in ancient Greece, the physician Hippocrates is said to have stuffed animal skins to help rehabilitate his patients. These were carried and tossed for “medicinal” purposes.
Gladiators also used them to prepare for their battles in the arena.
Weighted ball training appeared to fall off the radar for a while until the early 1900s, when world wrestling champion and boxing coach, William ‘Iron Duke” Muldoon, was credited with inventing the modern day ‘medicine ball.’
Then, in the 1930s American President Herbert Hoover was encouraged by his physician to use a medicine ball to lose weight. By throwing a medicine ball over a net, President Herbert started a whole new sport craze called Hooverball. This sport looked something like volleyball, however the medicine ball was caught and thrown back and forth over the net, and scored like tennis.
From gladiators to American presidents, people down the centuries have tapped into the health and strength-building benefits of weighted ball training, and today, fitness trainers everywhere are still discovering the delights of the medicine ball. All of this led Reuters to dub medicine balls as the ‘ancient fitness tools that keep bouncing back.’
Using medicine balls to overload functional movement patterns strengthens and conditions the entire neuromuscular system. This helps build athleticism that translates to both life and sport. In 1985 the first 14” softshell medicine ball was created in Austin, TX, replacing the harder, smaller, misshapen balls trainers and athletes had become used to training with. The larger, softer Dynamax ball allowed users to throw and catch using greater velocity helping to build power and explosiveness with a wide variety of movements that engaged the whole body.
Shop Dynamax Medicine Balls online today. Made in the USA and approved by athletes.