Monday, October 21


SECOND THURSDAY # VIII for Dr. Medicine Ball

OMG (to use the parlance of our times) it's time for Second Thursday #8 of the South Austin Medballers Association of South Austin. Our medicine ball group, SAMASA, celebrated with fresh watermelon from the garden and coffee of course. Eight years of medicine ball workouts/showings is quite an accomplishment. And, I am proud of my medball partners for their continued dedication to our SAMASA meetings every Tuesday & Thursday @ 7:30am at my house on Medicine Ball Lane.
I love this photograph of Piney the Schnauzer sitting on those medicine balls. He was President Hoover's pup that accompanied the President's medicine ball exercise group at The White House. We, SAMASA, also carry on this added tradition; everyone brings their dog to our medicine ball showings on Tuesday & Thursday. And, we have to watch our step in many more way than just locomotion.

I've been talking about writing about the Forgotten Cornerstone Exercise, 'CATCHING', for some time now. And, today I, Dr. Medicine Ball, declare that 'CATCHING' should be and is a Cornerstone Exercise, along with Rotations, High Knee and Sit-Up & Throw. The level of skill required to block, brake, catch & return a medicine ball at full velocity in locomotion, while backing up mind you, deserves to be fully recognized.

I will begin to discuss the little nuances, the ins & outs, the focus, the demanded attention, the understanding that you are the assistant coach of the self-coached. For a quick reference, checkout the posting on this blog from April 23, 2010, Cornerstone Exercise Addendum. I will begin with the basic understanding outlined in the now famous exercise book "The Well Rounded Workout: An Introduction to Medicine Ball Training. I will then dissect and explain the parts of the catch (the block, brake, catch & return) in both the spatial and the temporal realms. Every step we take is different just like snowflakes, and every catch is different as well. The integration of our General Physical Skills are active in all of our locomotion. When we catch an object, while in motion, one must absorb and control the force of the projectile to minimize the disruption of our own locomotion. And, in a rhythmic and precise way, cooperatively return the projectile to it's origin while also in motion.

Thanks for following this infrequent blog but expect SAMASA and Dr Medicine Ball to reveal the secrets of CATCHING right here on very soon.

Tuesday, October 16


SECOND THURSDAY Come and Gone Again! Shocking!


FULL Body Tattoos, SHOCKING!!!!!!!

WHAT happened to this guys gym trunks?!?!?! SHOCKING!!

Rest assured, that on this Second-Thursday past of October, our medicine ball group, SHOCKINGLY!, is still meeting and making our showings every Tuesday & Thursday of (almost) every week. This being the milestone of our 7th, yes, our Seventh year of consistently tossing the Orb of Life. We are standing straighter and our bodies remain supple and though our minds may have slipped only slightly, we remain resolved to continue our meetings as long as Dr Medicine Ball continues to make & serve such good coffee. And, so be it resolved that Dr Medicine Ball will update this blog more that once a year, this auspiciousness occasion not withstanding, with wisdom of the Orb. Now go and keep your shirt & pants on and discover the secrets of medicine ball training.

Wednesday, November 2


Holly Cow, I Missed 6th "Second Thursday"!

Our group has now passed the six year mark and still survives. We keep on making our Showings every Tuesday & Thursday. We are doing some recruiting so if you are of a mind drop us a line and come on by.  So much changes with the passing of time but some things just stay the same. Here's hoping our next trip around the Sun will be as good as the last. Notice those classic exercise togs.

Wednesday, June 15


The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Our medball group has changed venues but not our consistent regard for the Orb of Life. So many years ago we organized our medicine ball group around the fact that our children all attended Zilker Elementary School in Austin, TX. We could conveniently drop the kids off at school in the morning and meet to get our Daily Dozen in before we started the rest of our day. Those days are behind us now and our group has relocated to Dr Medicine Balls own home. We only have 2 lanes for our modest group, but I bring the advantage of fresh coffee at the ready during each workout.
Some thought that the sale of Dynamax, Inc. the maker of the finest medicine balls money can buy would spell the end of my medicine ball days. But, alas I still have the bug for the Orb of Life, just like the ancients. Why even in yesterdays workout Robert brought is son, Richard to join us and I used the opportunity to get Paul and Dennis into a teaching/coaching situation. We should always "endeavor to preserver" when it comes to passing the torch to the next Medballer. Plus, it gave me the chance to wail on Robert with the Orb of Life.

Tuesday, December 28


Second Thursdays Come & Go, but Medball Goes on Forever

That's Jim Cawley and Bruce Evans in 1985 making their now famous video on Medicine Ball Exercise at Rebel Stadium in Buda, TX. There really is quit a story behind the founding of Dynamax Medicine Balls and these two guys were the founders of the recently sold company. 25 years of blood, sweat and beers and a very satisfying closure to the story. Remind me to tell you about it sometime.
Life goes on and medicine ball workouts come and go. Our medball group recently passed the Second Thursday of October for the fifth time this past October (is that redundant?) and we have a good start on the sixth Second Thursday. As you may know, our group has centered around dropping the kids off at Zilker Elementary School in Austin and then "Making our Showing" 2 or 3 times a week. But, these kids will just will not stay the same age and many have moved on to Middle School and beyond. Our group has "endeavored to persevered" (name that movie) and so we are possibly relocating our workout in the future. So, make sure and check with Dr. Medicine Ball to find out where to meet, it may be over at the Nut Wizards house, and that's another story.
Oh Yeah, Happy New Year!

Monday, August 23


A New School Years is Starting Today

Out of chaos comes order. Or, is it the other way?
Anyway, this will be our 5th season and we are implementing a new Medicine Ball workout schedule for the Fall. This past year we had 2 groups; a MWF group and a TTH group. This year we are going to reconstitute to Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7:55 am. We will be meeting behind Zilker Elementary School, in Austin, TX, on the covered Basketball Court, on Ann Arbor St. Feel welcome to come to our FREE workouts any time you would like. We accept anyone from the physically inept up through the physically gifted. But, rest assured, one dose of the Daily Dozen medicine ball workout and your life will never be the same again.......and, that's a good thing.
Come join now and be ready for our massive Second Thursday Celebration in October.
Dr. Medicine Ball.

Friday, April 23


Cornerstone Exercise Addendum

Cornerstone Exercise Addendum: Dennis and I were working out the other day and we started talking about the importance of catching the medicine ball and its relationship to sports movement. In our routine, The Daily Dozen, the catcher/receiver back peddles and returns the ball so that the primary exerciser can progress forward in locomotion. In most sports situations one is more likely to be engaging in an absorbing action rather than a projecting action.

Catching is a vital component of the Daily Dozen that is both overlooked and misunderstood. Dynamax Medicine Balls make an incredible impact absorbing medicine ball. That medicine ball makes it possible for one to repeatedly and safely catch a ball that has been thrown with maximum body force. But, the fact is, that the Dynamax medicine ball can only make catching a thrown medicine ball possible. One must develop a skill in order to repeatedly and safely catch a ball. This skill would relate to the efficiency with which one would control their spatial responsibilities.

As stated in our book, A Well Rounded Workout: An Introduction to Medicine Ball Training, "The relationship between exercise partners should be cooperative, not competitive. It is the receiver's responsibility to perceive and react to the intensity, rhythm and accuracy of the thrower. The receiver must maintain proper spatial relationships and rhythmically block, catch and return the ball in harmony with the action of the thrower."

I feel that catching really is a Cornerstone Exercise and should be recognized as the art that it is. The Daily Dozen is for the most part 'Self Supervising' but the receiver has the vantage point to mirror and to suggest tactics to perfect the movements of the thrower. To be an assistant coach to the self-coached.

Thursday, April 15


Cornerstone Exercises

The Cornerstone exercises consist of the Rotation, the High Knee Lift and the Situp & Throw. Performing the Rotation trains your spine as the active link between your upper and lower body. No other exercise transforms the spine into a powerful drive train for the body like the Rotation. The High Knee Lift places our bodies into a posture of power. By experiencing this rhythmic exercise we foster the development of balance and multi-joint coordination. The Situp & Throw is an excellent core exercise that coordinates the upper and lower body safely. In preforming these cornerstone exercises there is no dominate or non-dominate side. We are attempting to balance our ability to move in any direction effectively.

Sunday, February 7


A New Year, a New Beginning

The 1934 Chicago Cubs in Spring Training passing the medicine ball. If done correctly the medicine ball never slows down and resembles "The Wave" we sometimes see during stadium games.
Winter has come to Austin late this year and just will not go away. Another cold front is headed for Austin on Tuesday. Medicine ball workouts are tentative when the temperature is near freezing. Not much training but the showings help us maintain. I gotta go put another log on the fire.

Thursday, December 31


2K10 here we come.

Robert called me Tuesday morning to workout and I met him down at the school. We have not exercised together for some time because lately Robert's group meets on T & TH and I generally meet on MWF. Robert swims on MWF and I play golf T&TH; our primary sports. But, after 4 years of sharing our SecondSport of medicine ball's Daily Dozen it's always nice to get together. One thing I noticed Robert doing as we got into our routine was that he tended to focus on the medicine ball and not his movement. It is interesting that in any sport where an implement of some sort is used it's only when one no longer thinks of the projectile that they are about to propel and are conscious of their position in relation to the chosen trajectory does an optimal flight occur. In Robert's case, at the start of his set, he would withdraw the medicine ball throw it and then start his locomotion. Rhythm is an intricate part of the exercise. Without rhythm you may as well just be heaving sand bags and letting them crash to the ground. But here, we are attempting to cooperatively exchange the medicine ball between us while in locomotion using our greatest effort. This creates a demand for us to establish a rhythm between us to predictably throw & catch the medicine ball at a high velocity while in locomotion. So, I had Robert start again but this time established the importance of his "footwork". This idea brings to mind the quote from our book where we look for effortless movement or the integration of the General Physical Skills. "Integration of the general physical skills refers to the PROPER use, in the PROPER amount, in the PROPER sequence at precisely the PROPER time in creating the most efficient flow of directed movement possible." Robert got IT.

Thursday, October 15


Second Thursday the Fourth Time - Medicine Balls for All

Now those are some big balls. This is a photo from the 4th International Congress of Medicine held at Warsaw (Poland? Kentucky? still checking) in May 1927, girls at the Scudder School kicked a medicine ball around, demonstrating health study.
Interesting how the women with their legs up are being spotted from behind.
Our group has consistently met now for 4 years at Zilker Elementary School in Austin Texas. It is very satisfying to lead this group of dedicated workout partners. From a coaching standpoint there is never an end to seeing things to correct. Mostly glaring errors and fine tuning but at this point in the relationship simply using a single word or gesture can bring the correction. Knowing everyone has their own style and having allowed those style differences to develop over the years also creates coaches out of everyone. And, this behavior reinforces the cooperative aspect of our Medicine Ball routine.
Everyone is welcome to join. Beginners are very welcome. MWF @ 7:45am and TTh @ 8am. We have been meeting on the tennis courts on Bluebonnet in the Park next to the school.

Monday, October 5


OOOOOLALA More Lime Light for Dynamax Medicine Balls

We shouldn't toot our own horn but in this instance I believe it is more than appropriate. Jim Cawley and his nephew Rick Cawley have shepherded Dynamax Medicine Balls for over a decade with little help from me, and done just an outstanding job. To be recognised as one of Austin's premier health and fitness entrepreneurs is an honor. I just want to say these guys have stuck to the mission and never wavered. Since 1985 Dynamax Medicine Balls has endeavored to offer products that will perform at the highest level of customer demand and succeeded.
Please pick up a copy of Austin Fit Magazine, Oct 2009, and see where we fit into the community. Click on the title above to see the article online.

Tuesday, September 29


Big Medicine Balls in Town

Recently Dynamax Medicine Balls was featured in an article in the Austin American Statesman. Click on the title above to see it. And, wow even this blog was referenced in the article. Checkout this perfect form displayed by Dynamax's own Rick Cawley. By the position of the medicine ball in the photo you can tell that he is in locomotion. By the time the ball comes down again he will have move forward and driven the opposite knee up and into the ball.
Our group has split into 2 groups for the Fall one meeting MWF @ 7:45 and the other TT @ 8am both are at Zilker Elementary School on either the tennis courts or the basketball courts whichever are open. Feel free to join in; beginners are always very welcome.

Tuesday, August 18


Time to Line Up for Another Year of School & Medicine Ball Training

Back in the day around The United States Military Academy at West Point those new cadets would just lineup and toss their medicine balls with great accuracy and enthusiasm.
Of course, Our medicine ball workouts at Zilker Elementary School on Bluebonnet in Austin, TX are just as enthusiastic. On August 24 we will be starting at 8am sharp every MWF behind the school on Ann Arbor on the covered basketball courts. Everyone and anyone is welcome to join in on the Fun Work & Hard Play (no uniform necessary). It's free; except for a little sweat. We will have lots of balls, big ones but mostly light ones so don't worry.

Friday, August 7


Super Heros and now my Daughter are using the Medicine Ball!!!

Spidey is showing some very good form, much like my daughter who joined our medicine ball workout group today. She had started tagging alone on Monday to run laps while I worked out but today it started out looking like I may have to go solo. So, I asked her if she wanted to join me and she did. The ball weighed 4 kg and I was affaid it might be too heavey, but she did fine. I think I will have her use a 6 pounder next time. I was so impressed with her hanging in thoughout the entire workout. Just passed midway she started to look around like she was trying to find an exit but I told her to use her "will power" and she did! I am such a proud father. Dennis showed up a little late and joined us. That 3rd person always adds a good deminsion to the Daily Dozen medicine ball workout in that a little rest interval is inserted into the routine.

Monday, July 20


What are we doing, searching for, pursuing with all this EXERCISING?

The answer is elation.

We start out timid; some call it a warm-up.

Followed by dread; also know as the core of the workout. This is where we really get to sweating and huffing & puffing. Fearful thoughts enters, self-consciousness can creeps in, can we...will we finish, how do I look? Who cares! You're "Makin' Your Showing"; just get it done.

Out of which accomplishment comes; you can see the end, you know you can finish and cool down safely. Now for the godlike feeling of ELATION! Or, is this emoting really just feeling alive, happy? That's why we keep coming back for more.
And, I got my showing in this morning; Paul and I had an delightful workout.

That old guy on the left is Old Tom Morris; he won The Open at 46, still the record. He's a little past 46 in this photo, but still playing none the less.
I (checkout my Avatar) woke up this morning and still felt a little hung over by Tom Watson's finish in the British Open at Turnberry, Scotland; a putt to win! The weight of that putt, that moment, the drama, was about as heavy as a euphoric moment can come in sports. Whichever way it goes. Imagine you taking Tiger on, straight up, to #18 for $100 with a putt to win...times a million. I think Mr Watson, 59, took us all to that moment. Of course, it's only a game; "a stupid game" as Rocco said. We all want that moment. I eagled #11 on my home course the other day, which set up a chance to break 80 with a par on my last hole. I walk & carry and it was 105*, I got tied and doubled boogied for an 81; I just gotta get out there again know the drill.

Sunday, June 21


Hey, I almost forgot about our Summer Medicine Ball Workouts!

Our summer medicine ball workouts are Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:45 am at the Zilker Elementary Schools basketball court. That's over on Ann Arbor behind the school.

Hey, how about that, Ginger Rogers using a Medicine Ball. Hollywood may yet rediscover the benefits of medicine ball movement based exercise based on its history.

And, not to brag but maybe just a little, I, Dr Medicine Ball, finished in 4th place with a net 4 under par performance (this uses my handicap & makes me look better) in my Sr Club Golf Championship. This relates back to the entry (3/6/09) about my conditioning and its relationship to my performance.
Maybe we should add to our General Physical Skills list patients, perseverance and believing in your training. OK, attitude is not a physical skill but as a facilitator you can't go wrong. Motivation is a topic we will address later on; stay tuned.

And, don't forget to show up at our summer medicine ball workouts are Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:45 am at the Zilker Elementary Schools basketball court. That's over on Ann Arbor behind the school. It's FREE!

Friday, June 19


Summer is just around the corner, and has been here for a couple of weeks already.

Balance is always a good thing. Can you believe this guy. I just spent the last week trying to hold a similar pose. I had to call my Chiropractor to help me straighten up. Look closely, he is even standing on a medicine ball. This is pre Super Glue, so he is doing the pose. This is actually the acrobat Rastelli preforming between 1920 & 1930. I cramp up just looking at this picture of him.
Well, any way, the contribution of balance to movement is one of the most underrated General Physical Skills. We never spend the time and attention to this area of development as we should. We just assume, once you get you have it, but continued attention is needed ancillary to all other General Physical Skill development.
In our medicine ball workouts as we stride along at a given pace; just walking in a straight line can be challenging to our balance. Add in throwing the medicine ball bilaterally and you have a mind boggling task that cannot be explained, only experienced. It's like the old saying, "Can't chew gum and walk at the same time. The neat thing about our medicine ball workout is watching the medicine ball. By watching you see the result of your ability to complete a complex movement. Where the medicine ball goes repeatedly tells the person how successful they are in their execution. The more successful the feeling, the better balanced one becomes. Go ahead try and just put 2 balls on your fingers and one behind the back of your neck. Forget standing on a medicine ball.

Sunday, May 17


Do I Really Have the Time

Even the Vanderbilts took time to prepare for their sport of interest. As evidenced by the exercise room on their yacht. Equestrian sports can be very demanding and must be prepared for. Checkout the medicine balls in the back of the picture. Medicine balls have been a primary modern conditioning tool for over 100 years, and remain so today. Joe Paterno said, "The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital". This quote has guilded me for years now and I expect it always will. You have to make the time available. Sometimes by incorporating your primary conditioning objectives secondarily. How in your busy day could you meet your objectives of readiness and still meet the obligations guiding your life? It could be as easy as riding your bike or walking to work instead of driving, having your medicine ball under your desk to use for a few minutes while on break, walking up the stairs, skipping a stair for a little strength augmentation. It comes down to making the time not finding the time. The fun of having your medicine ball at the ready is someone may want to join you for a little Fun Work and Hard Play. You have to make it happen. Imagination can go a long way in helping you meet those goals. Don't settle for mediocre; remember what Joe said the next time your looking for the time to get where you want to be. In our medicine ball group we call it "makin' a showing". Make your showings count over and over again. By incorporating your showing into your lifestyle you can better stay away from the monotony or staleness that will try to creep in. It pays better than the Bank.

Monday, April 20


Spring has Sprung

The Babe really knew how to get ready for spring. We are enjoying an unseasonably cool spring in Austin, TX this year and it has been incredibly pleasant.

Sunday, March 15


What's the Point of it All? or, Has Anyone Seen the Missing Link?

To often in our industry, if it can be called that, we start out to improve, but just do more. Too often we just do what we were taught; what seems easy. I think we have lost our way as much as we have failed to keep a rational approach to fitness. Planning is the cornerstone of the "Fitness Industry". We must have stated and achievable objectives in order to find the pathway to our goals. Guiding people on that pathway is an honorable profession. We have a legacy to protect and hand down to the next generation. The greatest legacy we can pass on would be a more rational approach to conditioning. The need to express ourselves drives this industry. Even if one only wants to workout, for workouts sake, they still are expressing themselves through the results that are achieved. So, if you just want to workout or improve performance a rational approach is the pathway.
This picture, I found on the web, demonstrates what I am talking about. Children want to participate and will readily jump in and start working. They surrender to the adult or trainer, clinician, counselor, etc. They naturally have good form and great enthusiasm. But, they must be kept safe. Do you see the tire in the background; it terrifies me with children there. Is it secure or is it just standing there (inertia) waiting to be acted upon? Climbed on? "It looks like fun. The big people play with it"? That tire probably weighs around 300 pounds, maybe more. It is an accident waiting to happen. Metaphorically, this room is where we are as educators. Anyone who takes it upon themselves to direct physical activity is an educator. As educators we must always direct those in our charge in a rational manner. We must keep them safe.
Sports conditioning can be a very fun and rewarding venture. That has always been my objective here at I started out to just chronicle a group of fathers that would meet up after dropping off the kids at school and working out with the medicine ball. It gave me a chance to stay in contact with my background and help my friends. I started out critiquing each workout, then the week, the month, then interesting moments within a workout, and then the quarter. I enjoyed sharing my collection to medicine ball images, but as I ran out of photos I felt like I could not use the same image again. I focused on the image and not on what it could teach us in different ways. Monotony is always creeping into our lives.
I feel that at this time I want to take this blog to another level. After nearly 3 years of chronicling this group of dads I feel there is more for me to do within the context of education. Since I see myself as an educator, I am going to reach out to other educators with this blog. I will still use anecdotes from our group because we will still be working out each Tuesday & Thursday @ 8am on the basketball courts at Zilker Elementary School in Austin, TX. My main objective will be to help people focus their training in the direction of their sport. Check the quote at the top of the page and think of it in context to general conditioning. It is the missing link.

Friday, March 6


Don't Forget Your Second Sport

Since our medicine ball group went back to twice a week, Tuesday & Thursday, I am only making the Tuesday medicine ball workout, and then only if I am not playing golf. I love golf; it can only be played, not won.
This winter I have stepped up my practice and lesson taking investment. The swing change has been fun, with the motor learning and watching that cute little white ball fly higher and prettier. I am having the feeling that I "Own-My-Swing". A guy from Canada named Moe Norman coined the phrase "Own-My-Swing". Moe had his own style but his accuracy was uncanny. Once he was partnered with the great Sam Snead. Sam hit a mid iron to layup and it stopped just short of the hazard. Sam was shocked to see Moe grab his driver; Moe winked at him and said, " See the bridge up there, watch this." Moe proceeded to drive the ball right across the bridge and won the hole. Tiger Woods has used the phrase to describe his goal for his own swing. So, all this practice has me swinging in a more predictable fashion. My coach Tee Jay Burge has guided me and helped me discover my own swing. But has my game, the playing, improved? Not yet. But as Tiger and millions of other say, "I'm getting close".
Which bring me to my Second Sport, medicine ball exercise. While playing I can sense my conditioning is lacking. Late in the round it is becoming difficult to maintain my mechanics. Because I walk and carry my bag or use a hand cart my conditioning is more closely related to my performance than if I used a motor cart. Walking and carrying adds an additional load when playing golf; the bag and clubs weigh around 25-30 pounds. One must stay within them self to finish on a competitive level but my game has been falling off near the end of the round. Strength is not the answer and aerobic endurance won't help that much. I need to address my Stamina, which my medicine ball workouts delivered. I recently acquired a rowing machine and feel I can develop a routine to supplement my lack of medicine ball opportunities. This machine will stress the trunk, the legs and the arms. The trunk being the shoulders, spine and hips. A well conditioned trunk allows the body to maintain the critical posture needed to swing the golf club predictably and consistently. All sports movement breaks down in the trunk first but it is the least understood and last recognized. We "see" the arms and legs fail first, but it is the trunk that has failed. One's posture has been lost. The trunk has the unstable mass and the arms and legs flail because they work from the trunks stability.
Oh, you may have recognized the two golfers in the photos. Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in their now famous round of golf at The Havana CC after The Revolution. Well, Che won and Fidel closed the course until recently. And, the rest is history.

Wednesday, January 7


These are Times That Try Our Souls

It is times like now where we have to make difficult decisions in order to carry on or throw our medicine balls to each other. We have decided to hold our medicine ball workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays only for this semester in order to reorganize our group. In this spirit of the current down sizing trends we are choosing to concentrate in our area of medicine ball expertize on a more focused and manageable arena of fitness. So , if you are in need of a medball Wa-Pow just come on over to Zilker Elementary School playground off Ann Arbor on any Tue and Thur at 8am to get your fix of medicine ball Wa-Pow.

Monday, December 22


The Return of the Texas Blue Northern

This photo is of the new Blue Rose. Produced in Japan, the genetically altered rose ends the centuries old quest of a Blue Rose. Here in Texas, most everything was blue this morning from the cold 28*, i.e. a Texas Blue Northern. But, that did not deter Paul and Dr. Medicine Ball from making their showing. They will be back out there on Wednesday at 8am when temperatures are expected to be in the 50s. Texas in the winter time one never knows what to expect, except that the medicine ballers will be making their showing.

Tuesday, November 11


It's Raining Medicine Balls, and ah, Golf clubs?

Our medicine ball group has broken the gender gap! Or at least, we have had the pleasure of females attending our workouts on Tuesday and Thursday. I am told they did just fine. And, being Dr. Medicine Ball, I say it is about time. Our medicine ball group has been single gender for far too long, and women are and have been more than welcome to join.
Interestingly, females tend to be more drill oriented and males tend to be more scrimmage oriented. And, our routine has both drill and scrimmage aspects to it. Liken to the practice and training relationship in sports conditioning. Hey, that would be a fun subject to explore on this blog. So, I, Dr. Medicine Ball, thinks we can learn something from each other, and be enriched and empowered by the experiential aspect of our workouts. Or, just maybe we will have a full house at the workouts. We still have to "make our showing".

Friday, October 17


It Is Our Third "2nd Thursday of October"!

2nd Thursday of October is our anniversary, we are celebrating 3 years of consistently meeting for our medicine ball workouts at Zilker Elementary School in Austin, TX. So, obviously we have had to increase the size or weight of our ball, right? One of the greatest misconceptions about medicine ball training is that you need to work with a heavier ball as you progress in your training. There is a word that Physical Educators put a lot of emphasis on and that word is "efficiency". Sometimes we think of a perpetual energy machine when talking about efficiency. One definition says: Efficiency is the ratio of the effective or useful output to the total input in any system; I like that one. So, efficiency in our medicine ball training can be better understood by relating it to our General Physical Skills development. Moving up to a heavier medicine ball is mainly related to increases in strength; but the measurement of strength or a strength test is generally done from a stationary position, i.e. feet being planted or shoulders secured on a bench. In medicine ball training we are concerned the the integration of our general physical skill from the stand point of moving our bodies both spatially and temporally. Efficiency is more closely related to the general physical skills of Accuracy, Agility, Coordination, Balance, and the synergistic effect created by the integration of those skills upon the others. The other skills being Strength, Power, Speed, Flexibility, Cardio-Respiratory Endurance, and Stamina. Wow, I am really getting out there, so there you go. And, will someone please help that women in the picture with that medicine ball, as miss guided as she may be. She needs a big Wa-Pow!, if you know what I mean.

Friday, September 26


Something for Everyone

Our medicine ball group is open to all interested parties. On the second Thursday of October this year we will be celebrating our 3rd year of continuous regular workouts. We now have 2 groups actually. A MWF group and a TTh group. Paul and I (Dr Medicine Ball) meet on MWF and Robert (a charter member of our group) brings his arsenal of medicine balls every TTh; I usually join him on Tue. We are trying to deal with the miss conception that we are a "closed" group; we are not a "men only" or "hired $$ training" group. We are an open to everyone group at no charge. We are a medicine ball exercise group that hopes to spread our ways in a cooperative & non-competitive format. We are considering advertising in the area neighborhood newsletters inviting all to join us. Although we may need to have some help on how many new medicine balls we will need to keep everyone active. A problem we welcome. SO, throw open the doors and put yourself out there and come on by. After we drop off the kids at Zilker Elementary School, we meet on the basketball courts on Ann Arbor behind the school or maybe the tennis courts on Bluebonnet if a class needs the BB courts. That's every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday morning for a 7:50 to 8:00 am starting time. Your body will thank you. "Live Long and Prosper"

Tuesday, August 26


Schools Back in Session

Come join our medicine ball workouts. We are meeting Mon through Fri at 7:55am on the basketball courts next to Ann Arbor behind Zilker Elementary School. Paul and myself (Dr. Medicine Ball) Will meet on MWF and Robert will lead the TTh group. You All Come! It only cost a little sweat. We call it, "Fun Work & Hard Play"

Friday, July 25


What a Month!

This woman has not eaten a medicine ball. Nor, is this woman Alister's wife who is pregnant. But, her tummy does have that classic look of a well stuffed medicine ball. Additionally, Hurricane Dolly stormed ashore in Brownsville, TX Wednesday keeping Ian, that's Paul's son, from his surf camp in Corpus Christi. And, Robert and Dennis returned from their Boy Scout trip to The Grand Tetons where, as scoutmasters, they lead their son's Scout groups into the mountains. Of course, the rain from the hurricane reached Austin on Thursday and brought a half inch of much needed rain. The kids were playing outside getting drenched on this really rare rain day. And oh, we worked out today, but just mark it up as a showing. This summer we have done a very good job in meeting on time and regularly. We will be ther MWF @ 7am through August. You all come.

Sunday, June 29


Medicine Balls in America

This gentleman is Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett. He is seated with Indian clubs, a medicine ball, dumbbells, and a wand, these instruments were known as the "Four Horsemen of Hand-Held Exercise Tools". Hewlett was the first director of the Harvard College Gymnasium built in 1859. He taught there until his death in 1871. I recently discovered this man through an ESPN Magazine article online, titled "The Ball That Just Wont Die" by David Fleming. It has opened up a whole new vein of history on medicine balls for me. According to Mr. Fleming, the medicine ball's first recorded appearance in America was in one of these photos. Hewlett sits at his desk, one foot propped on a medicine ball. Additionally, Fleming reports that the term medicine ball first appeared in an English-language dictionary in 1895. Check out the above title link for some mind blowing medicine ball stuff, and Google, A Conversation with Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett and his Friends. These photographs are the only posed pictures I have seen with the "Four Horsemen of Hand-Held Exercise Tools" or as I thought they were called The Four Horseman of Fitness. I thought it might be just a myth, but this is hard evidence of pre-Civil War physical education; and, at Harvard!
We are still meeting and doing our Daily Dozen every MWF @ 7am on the BB court behind Zilker Elem; You'll come.

Wednesday, June 18


Last June it Wouldn't Stop Raining; This Year, Texas Has Returned with 100*+

Aren't kids just incredible? They have very few poor movement habits, with enthusiasm to spare and no sense of "can't". We find this same wonderment in our new medicine ball members as they sense their own new bilateral movements patterns developing while they are learning the Daily Dozen. It is the tapping into that emotional motivation that we use to sustain our own wonderment with movement. As we strive to perfect our Daily Dozen, primarily though our accuracy skill, to control our pace and efforts directed though the medicine ball. The feedback we get from our own medicine ball throws self-coach us to that perfection we seek.

Monday, June 9


School's Out for Summer!

Get your Medicine Ball "Daily Dozen" every MWF at 7am this summer on the Ann Arbor side (on the BB courts) of Zilker Elementary School in Austin, TX; y'all come. Join us for a great summer conditioning extravaganza. Or, at least a rational approach to fitness & health.

I have recently bought this vintage
"Rawlings" Medicine Ball that is very unique. I have tried to buy this medicine ball for over 4 years and am proud to finally have it. Although, it is small, 10 inches in diameter and weighs only a little over 3 pounds, it may be one of the only surviving medicine balls of this type from a major historical USA manufacturer. The strap/sling goes completely through the medicine ball and anchors on the opposite side. This medicine ball is now the center piece to my collection.

Tuesday, May 27


Summer is coming Quickly here in Texas.

This happy couple will not go anywhere without their medicine ball. Don't forget yours this summer when going on vacation. Speaking of vacation, our group is finalizing our summer start time and it is looking like a 7am start on Tues & Thurs. Today, Robert and I were the only shows. Paul is returning from his annual sailing trip in the Chesapeake Bay and Stephen is packing. Stephen finished his PhD and is moving his family to Mississippi in the next few weeks.
Robert has 3 medicine balls; a Yellowjacket (yellow & Black 6# stinger), a Baylor Bear (10# green & gold accelerator) & a Darth Ball (14# red & black stout). Robert is one of these guys who has a powerlifter background, in other words, strength is not an issue for him. Stamina on the other hand is of some concern for him. He talks about how our weekly routine clearly stabilizes his trunk for backpacking. Robert is planing to take his son's Boy Scouts Pack to Montana for a back country experience in July. So, today after we did our Daily Dozen we went to the track next to the school to augment that stamina requirement he is facing in the mountains. Our track is 400 m loop with an up and a down hill component. Robert's backpack will weigh close to 60# but will be secured to his back. We figured if we did a series of laps carrying medicine balls that might be all the work he would need. We walked a slow lap and Robert carried Darth Ball, while I carried the Baylor Bear & the Yellowjacket. We continually shifted the ball/balls around our bodies during the lap; on the shoulder, on the hip, behind the neck, on the belly, etc (creating a "live" weight). We traded medicine balls on the second lap and maintained the pace we established on the first lap. No huffing and puffing yet! The third lap proved to be the training lap. I exchanged Darth Ball for the Baylor Bear with Robert that put 20# of "live" medicine balls on him (14 + 6 =20) and we picked up the pace to a brisk walk. The first leg of this lap is down hill and our respiration clearly elevated half way in. I told Robert we would maintain this pace into the up hill leg and hold the pace to the top. Huffing and puffing was being enjoyed by all as we got into this lap and dropped the medicine balls at the top. Then we slowed to a stroll on a final cool down lap. We finished the cool down and our respiration was back to normal but Robert clearly felt his legs; our objective was met. I have laid out a progression that includes number of laps, combinations of "live" medicine balls and pacing which will get Robert onto and off of those mountains in Montana. Clearly, the second sport pays off on your primary endeavor.

Sunday, April 27


Two Years of Medicine Ball Blogging

Wow, it has been 2 years on this Medicine Ball blog as of April 9, 2008; how about that. I'll take one big "ATTA Boy!" for that, thank you. This Medicine Ball Sit-up & Throw photo is over 50 years old. It is still a good exercise; being fun, cooperative and competitive as well as it takes coordination to perform. We always finish our workout with a similar drill. Our Medicine Ball groups are meeting regularly at 8 am on M & W and T & TH. Stephen and I meet on M &W and on Tue, I join Paul, Robert, Alister & Craig who meet on T & Th. Stephen just successfully defended his dissertation and will soon join the T & Th Medicine Ball group as well as continue on M & W Medicine Ball group. Our plans for the Summer have not been made yet but will soon be announce on this Medicine Ball blog. Come join us ; its free.

Wednesday, February 27


Looking for an Early Spring

This is a relief from 2000BC Greece. To commit this activity to stone should emphasize its importance in society. Whether this depicts a parent introducing a child to a game or exercise, think medicine ball, the ball is stuffed and weighted to some extent. The taller figure seems to be juggling the ball similar to the way a soccer ball is juggled on the thighs with his hands behind the back.
This is one of the origins of medicine ball exercise. Our group is doing this exercise with a medicine ball 4000 years later.

Saturday, February 2


Expansion Efforts Seem to be Working

What is wrong with these pictures? First, there is no point to tossing the ball back and forth like this. And, you do not need the Dynamax medicine ball to stand 5 yards apart and toss the ball back and forth; buy a cheep-O medicine ball or use a rock. This is just a bucket-brigade attempt at conditioning. The time interval between repetitions leave no hope for a motor learning outcome that will transfer to their primary sport.
Their feet are anchored; they are not going anywhere. But, to look at these guys you can see they are motivated and fit. They seem to think that working out is a sport, when it is only a preparation activity. We seem to have missed that the objective to fitness is a pathway to safe competition and/or cooperatively fun social activities. What are you going to do with your fitness?
Which brings me to our little group.
We have branched out and now have 2 groups; a Mon/Wed and a Tue/Thur. Personally, after 2 years of regular workouts twice a week I have changed to Mon/Tue/Wed medicine ball workouts and Thursdays playing in the "Over the Hill" golf tourney. I have identified a conditioning deficit in my golf game; having enough stamina to finish like I started. In one's primary sport it is not the objective to be fatigued at the completion of the game but to be fatigued less than your competitors. In golf being able to continue to swing consistently late in the round enables one to "play within themselves" and predictably strike the ball. Or, like Robert and his swimming to maintain his stroke length late in the race or swimming workout; or, Stephen's stride length being maintained. In sprinting & distance racing it is usually he/she who slows down least that wins.
So don't get hung up on working out for its own sake; put yourself out there and try something new. Don't just go further; figure out how to go further more efficiently.

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