Thursday, September 28


Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow a Journey

Medicine ball training is one of the oldest forms of strength and conditioning training; early reference to wrestlers training with sand filled bladders appears in Persia nearly 3000 years ago. In ancient Greece the physician Hippocrates had balls sewn together out of animal skins and stuffed with sand. His patients threw them back and forth for injury prevention and rehabilitation. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century the words health and medicine were synonymous. The Four Horseman of Fitness were the dumbbell, the Indian club, the wand or staff and the medicine ball. These were the beginnings of the modern medicine ball. Such is the tradition our group carries on today with Robert and Bruce working a "Stinger" (6#) and Stephen, Joe and Paul using an Accelerator (8#) or Paul's Purple Ball. The journey never ends; it is only passed on.

Tuesday, September 26


Luke Smalley not Tad Smalley

Today's photo was taken by Luke Smalley not of Tad Smalley, who we all know and love, but there may be some resembelence; well maybe it's only the medicine ball.
"Luke Smalley is a Pennsylvania-based photographer whose subject in his first solo exhibition and book are male high school athletes. Smalley’s work is not the stuff of celebratory small town photojournalism but rather an elaborately crafted and posed body of photos whose participants, though real athletes (Smalley found them in various Pennsylvania and Ohio high schools), act out a series of scenarios using antique athletic equipment, much of it fashioned by Smalley himself. The premise of the project is outlined in an uncredited text at the beginning of the book version of Gymnasium, which extols the idealized athletic boy at the expense of angst-ridden, academics-obsessed adolescents who spend far too many hours brooding in their rooms. “It is the boys who have snap and vim and energy, who have a plentiful supply of ‘ginger,’” Smalley quotes (or writes himself, in which case his text is a masterful recreation of what might be called the Boy Scout Handbook aesthetic), “that accomplish results of importance...The boy who wants to be strong and rugged, who wishes to grow up into a superb, manly man, and who uses his surplus energies and wholesome games and in a temperate amount of study, will avoid without the slightest effort all that is evil.” This is an excerpt from Richard Turnbull's reveiw of Smalley's book "Gymnasium", in other word I stole it. By the way today's workout went well. Bruce & Stephen worked with Paul's Purple Ball and Craig and Robert use the old black 4kg ball. We all had a plentiful supply of ‘ginger’.

Thursday, September 21


Happy Birthday Bruce!

It's his day so just play along. Darth Ball warmed up everyone with stone throws. Today's group was Birthday Bruce, Robert and Paul with his Purple ball. Joe and Stephen, they're old friends, on the Yellowjacket. Everyone was up tempo & steady working today. At the conclusion of the workout we always do a little concentrated trunk work and Robert is always the gluten for punishment. Today, after the rest of us did the The Wheel, Bruce showed him a medball ladder. A seated chest pass starting with Darth Ball and just as he is about to fail switch to Paul's Purple Ball till he feels he is about to expire, then hit him with the Yellowjacket for only 4 or 5 reps. Completely toasted. Fortunately, Robert (a Texas version of Luciano Pavarotti) was able to recover to give Bruce a resounding rendition of Happy Birthday as the group was wondering off and Bruce was headed for a weekend of golf in Bastrop at Wolf Dancer.

Tuesday, September 19


Same Ol', Same Ol'

Habit is the best routine for exercise. Today's group assembled and went right to work. Bruce & Craig started warming up with the 4kg ball and were soon joined by Paul. A ball dropped to the court to signal Roberts arrival and then there was a foursome. Joe walked up and was quickly followed by Stephen as the warm-up ended. Joe & Bruce joined Paul with his Purple ball, and Joe showed a natural sense of rhythm and feel for the bilateral workout. Robert, Stephen & Craig used the 4kg ball. Roberts Yellowjacket did not fly today. After everyone was finished we just hung around and shot the breeze till one of the elementary classes came out and needed the court. A cool front had come through town and it was the most pleasant morning we have had in sometime. Today's photo is entitled, "Still Life with Tree and Medicine Ball"; it comes from Telc, Czech Republic and I think it is very pleasant to look at.

Thursday, September 14


"Makin' a showin'", can sometimes be the best thing.

Piney the Schnauzer Pup is perched on the famous medicine ball used by President Hoover each morning on the White House lawn; Sept. 23, 1929. I am sure Piney always made a showin' at The White House. Additionally, Ana, Bruce's better half, made a showin' today as the group was getting started. But, she needed help with a wardrobe malfunction, which Bruce promptly helped her with, rather than a dose of exercise. She was very grateful, as all could tell by Bruce's look on his face as he worked back in.
As far as how today's workout went, Bruce and Robert used the Yellowjacket (6#) and concentrated on trunk movement with free swinging arms. Robert has a tendency to arm everything and with a Darth Ball (14#) one can use the arms primarily, if your strong enough. But, The Yellowjacket will show all non-sequential movements. Robert is so coachable I know he will "get it" soon. Paul and Stephen worked with Paul's Purple Ball (8#) and keep up a steady pace; insuring that they too made a good showin'.

Tuesday, September 12


A Productive Workout

A 2-some and 3-some made up today's groupings. Robert left Darth Ball at home only to bring a "Burly" a 20# ball for us all to wonder about. No injuries to report but Robert is forewarned that his Goondom mentality is bring us all down. He's back swimming now so he should be easier to manage. Joe returned for his second workout, the first being some months ago. Of course, our group is like an AA meeting everyone is always welcome and never missed. Robert & Joe joined Paul and his Purple ball for a spirited workout. Bruce paired with Craig, The Man with the Invisible Leg, and they worked the 4kg ball. Basically a very well executed workout and very uneventful as well. Productive comes to mind.

Thursday, September 7


Moderation is the order of the Day

Most of the time it is wise to listen to the Body, especially when it comes to exercise and physical activity. Mental stress has a physical toll on the body; even if you just sit there and do not move. Calorie wise you may not burn a measurable amount but you know you are not sharp. This self awareness can lead to a successful outcome during ones next workout. For example, Bruce really stunk up the golf course early in his round yesterday following his encounter with Darth Ball (14#) in the rain on Tuesday. But, to have a successful outing he changed his short term goal from scoring to simply shotmaking and was then able to achieve an acceptable outcome to his primary activity or golf. Today, working with Paul's Purple Ball (8#) with near perfect continues (sunshine & 70*) I still felt a low energy level. On our 3rd set of One Arm Overheads, usually an all out set, I just eased through it or just made the complete movement without the usual high intensity throw. I was unaware of my lack effort until I was finishing the set. Paul said he was wondering what was going on but it was my set. I thought it was interesting from a conditioning point of view. Recovery will happen if you let it, listen even if you are not listening. On the other hand Stephen and Robert worked Darth Ball today. It remains to be seen if Robert will feel the workout, even though he thought he felt it a little bit. Robert has a large capacity for work with his swimming, weightlifting and Aikido background. Stephen is a former marathoner, and full expects to feel his encounter with Darth Ball.

Tuesday, September 5


Rainy day Tuesday!

The rain fell slowly all day, from what was left of Huricane John off the Pacific. A great and refreshingly cool change from our usual 100 degree days. Robert brought his new medballs and promptly christened them Darth Ball, the red & black14 lb, and Yellowjacket, the yellow & black 6 lb. "Stinger". Paul had his purple ball and worked with Stephen. Bruce knew Robert would be dying to try out the Darth Ball sooo, without hesitation worked the big ball. Interestingly, in the steady rain the balls were easy to handle and not too slippery. One did have to focus on the ball or it would sneak through and get you, as Robert found out several times. Watching the ball closely and focusing on the target brings the accuracy skill to the forefront. Sunshine is the forecast for Thursday, see you then.

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