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Articles Fitness Nutrition

These 2 Tools Are the Secret to Muscle Toning

Jul 14, 2014
Altering your weightlifting regimen is a crucial aspect of shocking your body into steady muscle development. Over time, your body will become less responsive to repetitive workout routines. This means you will not gain maximum benefit from performing similar exercises over a prolonged period of time. You need to incorporate variations of weightlifting activity into your customized strength development program to sustain lasting positive results. Using medicine balls and kettlebells as part of your workout regimen is a solid method of enhancing muscular endurance.

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Using Med Balls for Ab Exercise

Medicine balls, also referred to as "med balls" and "exercise balls," are weighted sphere-shaped workout devices used for strength training purposes. Med balls come in a variety of different sizes and weights. Selecting an appropriately weighted med ball depends on your independent level of strength and the exercise of which you are performing. Some med balls have built-in handles, which are best utilized when executing the abdominal exercise commonly referred to as "the bicycle." This timed exercise forces you to swing a med ball from side-to-side while mimicking the motion of pedaling a bicycle while on your back. "The bicycle" targets your entire midsection, allowing you to tone your oblique muscles and abdominal muscles.

Using Kettlebells for Full-Body Exercise

Kettlebells might look abnormal among rows of dumbbells in the weight room. These rubber-coated cast-iron weights appear as cannonballs with handles. Kettlebells are useful workout devices that are designed for use in activity that combines cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Kettlebells, like med balls, vary in size and weight. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with movements associated with kettlebell usage before performing a strenuous exercise, specifically because many kettlebell exercises require the device to be thrust over your head, such as the single-arm snatch and the windmill. A single-arm snatch is a full-body move that requires you to dangle a kettlebell between your legs and thrust it upward, flipping it behind your forearm and overhead.

Emphasizing Stabilized Movements

The ultimate benefit of using med balls and kettlebells is stabilization in the muscles that control joint movement. Unlike conventional weightlifting, med ball and kettlebell usage helps improve muscle-joint coordination, which is especially beneficial for athletes. Med balls and kettlebells are used for multi-joint exercise, which harnesses the fast-twitch muscle fibers in the body that are responsible for muscle growth. Studies have proven that these workout devices are especially beneficial for young adults. According to research cited in a 2006 edition of the "Physical Educator," high school students exhibited significant strength gains using med balls over a trial period in comparison to a control group which did not use med balls. Collected data backs up the claim that stabilizing movements from med ball exercise results in greater strength development over time.

General Guidelines

It's important to be conscious of the dangers associated with using unfamiliar workout equipment. Consult a professional trainer or someone familiar with how to properly use med balls and kettlebells if you have never performed exercise with this type of equipment. Technique is critical. Improper use increases your chance of injury. You should spend at least 10 to 15 minutes warming up before beginning workout activity that involves the use of med balls or kettlebells because many of these exercises are cardiovascular-driven. It's also important to ensure yourself of enough space to perform each exercise. Unlike a standard dumbbell curl, med balls and kettlebells require use of extra space. Do not force yourself into a dangerous situation by cramming yourself into a crowded gym corner to perform this type of exercise.

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Which Comes First: Cardio or Strength Training?

John Shea is a team sports fanatic and fitness aficionado. His work has been published across a wide platform of online audiences in the realm of health and fitness. His passion for fitness is exemplified in his writing, as he aims to help readers improve their overall well-being.



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