When to Use a Medicine Ball with Handles

Medicine Balls With HandlesWhen most people think of medicine balls, they might remember their school gym class years ago. A medicine ball looked a lot like a basketball, but was much heavier. You certainly didn’t want to get hit in a dodge ball game with one.

Today, there are different types of medicine balls available, including ones with handles. Balls with easy grip dual handles can help strengthen your core by building your overall strength, endurance and resistance level.

In particular, a medicine ball with handles on one side or both sides can be used for wood-chop exercises, or any exercise that you’d normally use a dumbbell or kettlebell. Obviously, because they’re ball-shaped, these work better for throwing than, say, throwing a dumbbell around!

Not only do athletes and exercisers like medicine balls with handles because they allow them to mix up their workouts, giving them more options, but they also appreciate how they can lead to explosive power development. It’s not unusual for golfers, for instance, to use medicine balls with handles to practice and strengthen their golf swings. Those who want to work on their abs also find the medicine ball with handles to work well.

Medicine balls with handles are versatile, and Jump USA stocks a variety of them. Browse the website to see the different offerings, and choose a weight based on your current fitness level and motivation. If you’re a beginner, choose a lower weight like 6 pounds; advanced athletes can ask their coach to recommend the type and weight of medicine ball that’s best for their personal development.

What is the Best Weight for a Medicine Ball?

Medicine Balls The medicine ball is considered an old-school, time-tested way to get your body in game shape. It’s a simple, heavy ball that can be used in a variety of ways to build your core muscles, burn fat and improve your athletic performance.

Most people would assume the heavier the ball the better because we’re conditioned to think that we need “the ultimate challenge” to change our bodies. However, keep in mind that even an 8-pound medicine ball, which may seem “light” to some, can give the average person a great workout. Indeed, most people use 6-, 8-, or 10-pound medicine balls for strength and conditioning purposes. Women tend to use 6-pound balls while men head toward the 10-pounders. Interestingly, medicine balls aren’t meant to build muscle mass; they’re meant to build muscle power. So, ideally, an 8-pound ball works best for anyone who wants to start exercising with a medicine ball.

When using a medicine ball, a person should feel extra tension in their core muscles while doing the exercise. The ball shouldn’t be so heavy that a person’s arms get worn out before completing all of their intended repetitions.

JumpUSA sells medicine balls as low as 2 pounds and as heavy as 20 pounds. Depending on a person’s weight, level of fitness, and motivation, they should choose a weight they’d feel comfortable with–yet challenged, too–to see results with proper use. If a medicine ball isn’t easily accessible, but you intend to buy one and want to see what a certain weight feels like, you can always test out bowling balls at your local alley or barbells at your local gym to get a feel for the ideal weight for your needs.

Tips for Choosing a Medicine Ball

Medicine Ball Choosing the right medicine ball to build strength and endurance during your workouts involves a number of factors.

First, there’s the weight. Medicine balls come in a variety of weights-JumpUSA has them as light as 2 pounds and as heavy as 20 pounds, for instance. The weight you’ll want to use is the one that adds resistance to your strength training and plyometric exercises without totally wearing you out after a little while of use.

Consider what types of exercises you plan to do, as well as your current strength level and how many repetitions you’d like to complete. Then choose a weight based on your speed of movement, accuracy and control/range of motion. In other words, you should be able to throw and catch it well enough to use it for several minutes at a time without your arms wearing out or complaining, “It’s just too heavy!”

Most people tend to stick with medicine balls in the 6 to 8 pound range. If you’re going to do multi-joint exercises like throwing it over your head, then make sure you get a ball that’s large enough to fit both of your hands. For abdominal workouts, go for smaller balls when you’ll be holding them away from your body and want to maximize your speed.

Here’s the thing: don’t overdo it. Start out with a lighter medicine ball before you graduate to a heavier one down the line. Your body needs a good challenge, but it doesn’t need to overdo it during the first workout– sure, you might want to look cool by picking up the heaviest medicine ball available to “show off,” but be realistic. You don’t want to get injured, so choose a weight, shape and size that makes sense to you and your skill level. Later on, as you become stronger, you can upgrade your medicine ball to something heavier and/or more elaborate for the sake of the challenge.

Tips for Coming Back From An Ankle Injury

Ankle InjuriesNo one wants to injure their ankle. But if you or someone you know does, realize there are several ways to come back from an ankle injury by building strength and balance through specific exercises.

In order to come back from ankle injuries, try doing two to three sets of these helpful exercises three times a week, working both legs:

1) Single leg stand – Stand up with all your weight on one leg for up to 60 seconds and then switch legs and repeat this balancing act.

2) Heel-toe walks – Following a straight line across a room, put one foot in front of the other, heel to toe, moving forward and then backwards, at least three times.

3) Towel scrunching – As you sit in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor, use a towel underneath the one foot while trying to pick it up using your scrunched toes. Keep your heel on the floor while doing this. After about a dozen times with the one foot, switch and use the other.

Besides these exercises, consider using the Jumpsoles v5.0 Ultimate Proprioceptor Advanced Increase Vertical Leap & Speed Training Kit. Complete with an instructional video and written training manual, this kit will find you utilizing your ankles in productive ways to help them get stronger. With repeated use, you’ll find you’re able to jump better than before as your ankles are able to work faster, harder and more explosively when you need them to during intense athletic activities like basketball.

Is It Possible To Take Your Vertical Leap to New Heights?

Vertical Leap Some animals are famous for their vertical leap. Kangaroos, frogs, and grasshoppers all have a leg up when it comes to jumping. When it comes to our own species, some humans also seem to have that natural ability to jump higher than others.

But is it possible for the rest of us to catch up with the high jumpers? Fortunately, the answer is yes. There’s no magic involved. No fancy shoe or sports drink will bring you to the heights you desire. In actuality, improving your vertical leap depends on old-fashioned practice and exercise.

Whenever you’re looking to improve a particular ability, your first step should be figuring out the major factors that contribute to it. For example, the height of your vertical leap depends on a few basic things. The first—and most obvious—is the force that is exerted pushing towards the ground. The second factor is the speed at which this force can be applied.

Improving your jump becomes pretty simple at this point. You’ll just need to increase the force on the ground and decrease the amount of time it takes to do it. But how?

Everyone knows that hitting the weight room is the most important part of increasing muscle strength. But which exercise will most efficiently improve the strength in areas important to jumping? Probably the one that most closely resembles the motion of jumping itself: the squat.

For many, the squat is considered the Holy Grail for a higher vertical leap. Different types of squats work out highly important muscles, particularly the glutes. Plus, increasing the speed of a squat can get those fast-twitch muscles involved.

While squats are hugely important for improving a vertical leap, other exercises addressing calf strength and flexibility training can help as well. Also, the right equipment, like this Squat Flex Vertical Jump Building System, can take your training to the next level.

What are you waiting for? Get to the gym and start squatting!

Tips for Staying Hydrated While Working Out

When you work out you sweat. You perspire. Therefore it’s a good idea to take fluids in, to make sure you stay hydrated when working out.

Most people carry a water bottle with them while working out. That way they can take sips of water when they feel especially thirsty. Most gyms have water fountains where exercisers congregate to refill their water bottles. Indeed, gyms often offer other drinks for sale, like sports drinks and protein shakes, which can also aid in hydration.

Besides water, exercisers should consider drinking Powerade or Gatorade, which help replace electrolytes (aka minerals) lost by sweating. These drinks help give people the needed boost to exert themselves for intense workout times. Coconut water, too, is becoming a popular drink for hydrating during exercise.

Speaking of coconut, fruits generally contain some water so it’s not a bad idea to bring along a banana, for instance, and eat it during a workout. Bananas in particular have a high level of the electrolyte potassium.

How do you know if you’re drinking enough water? You can check your urine color. If you urinate during exercise and notice it’s pale yellow in color, you’re fine. If it’s dark yellow, you need more water in your body.

The American Council on Exercise has suggested the following basic guidelines for drinking water before, during, and after exercise:

• Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising.
• Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up.
• Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
• Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.

How Video Games Can Help You Become a Better Basketball Player

BasketballBasketball will never be the same thanks to the brain experts at Applied Cognitive Engineering. They came up with a video game project called Basketball Intelligym Cognitive Hoops Training that trains a person’s brain to play basketball better in real life!

Did you know that your awareness and instincts can actually be increased by training your mind to think faster? Intelligym programmers considered every mental skill needed on the basketball court, came up with exercises that would heighten those skills, and put them into a format young people would enjoy using: a video game.

The old way of physically practicing and actually playing games to get better has been improved via technology. Now, with the availability of Intelligym brain software, an athlete’s mind can receive the same kind of mental training a fighter pilot in the Air Force gets in order to make quick, beneficial decisions.

Basketball players who want to train their minds can use the Intelligym to get their brain into non-stop decision mode for 30 minutes straight. With a couple uses per week, and after about 8 to 10 sessions, players will start to notice a “spider sense” whereas they’re hyper aware of what’s going on around them on the court. Furthermore, they’ll be better with rebounds, assists and steals while cutting down on their turnovers.

Want proof that this sort of mental training really does work? College level teams including UConn and Florida have used it and, as you’d imagine, won games…and tournaments…and championships.
JumpUSA sells an Intelligym Monthly Subscription. If you’re a basketball player who wants to improve your game, definitely consider it.

Reasons to Pick the Basketball Back Up

Women and BasketballCan you believe it’s already August? Not just August, but the middle of it, which means that Labor Day is just around that corner. That means the end of summer. We’ll allow you to take a moment to let that sink in, the inevitable downheartedness that goes along with trees slam-dunking their leaves into the cold, wet ground. Before long, the daily grind will set in and you won’t have time to play the game that you love.

This is especially true for women; women, it seems, are giving up on basketball when the summers of their youth turn to dust, as discussed in this NPR article.

Tom Goldman writes, “The United States is basketball crazy. For boys and girls who play sports, basketball is the most popular choice. But as Americans age, a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reveals, there’s a widening gender gap when it comes to hoops. Why are adult female basketball players giving up the game they once loved?”

A very good question and one that deserves to get answered. After all, it’s not healthy to give up your dream, even if you can’t make a career out of it. Maintaining a consistent hobby is just as important as making money off your dreams or as Tanya Martin, a 30-year old mother who works for Child Protective Services, puts it: “It’s kind of like my beach. It’s not one time that my mind can actually just not think about anything else but…but playing.”

Basketball is not only incredibly fun to play,it’s also a very healthful activity. In fact, playing basketball burns countless calories, builds cardiovascular endurance and helps to improve balance, coordination and muscle. It’s a wonderful way for men and women to get the exercise they need; after all, an hour of basketball feels like 15 minutes, while 15 minutes on a treadmill feels like an hour.

Playing basketball is like enjoying a summer that never ends. Men AND women, don’t give that up!

Versatility is Key For Modern Basketball Players

Basketball TrendsAt JumpUSA.com, we feel sports are an essential part of life. Honestly, where would we be without it? We watch games on TV, play them with our friends, or talk about them with total strangers; sports are the glue that holds American society together. It’s not religion. It’s not love. It’s sports. Sports has combined the virtues of religion with the phenomenal rush of love and what you have is something no other activity can replicate. We’ll ask again; where would we be without sports? If you said nowhere, you’d be absolutely correct. We must learn to embrace the power that sports has in our lives and utilize that power for something power – changing our lives for the better. Let’s take a look at the NBA.

The NBA has undergone many changes over the years, with a specific position being important one year and the next, that position is useless. To survive in the NBA, you have to evolve, whether you’re a coach or player. Isn’t life the same way? You have to evolve to survive, like an NBA big man. Dan Favale of Bleacher Report writes, “Once exclusively considered human billboards for ground-and-pound basketball – for clock-killing half-court sets, for brutal and bruising post-ups, for inside-the-paint-only repertoires – many of the NBA’s towers are now poster boys for versatility.” Versatility is key for players like Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, and Serge Ibaka. In Favale’s opinion, these players must adapt or die. Again, life is the same way – you must adapt or die.

At JumpUSA.com, we will help you adapt with the world’s coolest sports products. With our basketball hoops, medicine balls, or shoes, you will be able to apply the lessons from sports (such as the versatility of big men in the new NBA) and apply them to your own life, physically and mentally. Contact us today for details!

Make an Investment For Your Heart With a Treadmill for Your Home

TreadmillJumpUSA’s treadmills are wonderful investments for your home because they allow you to get your heart pumping and your body moving anytime day or night, no matter what the weather outside is doing. Rainy day? Stay inside and use the treadmill. Snow measured in feet outside your living room window? Thankfully there’s no snow on the treadmill. Or is it sweltering hot outside where you’d be drenched in sweat and feeling like you’re ready to fall over when just stepping out of the house? A treadmill in a cool, air-conditioned room is a lot nicer environment on those type of days, for sure!

Besides being able to exercise on a treadmill at any time since it’s indoors, away from the weather, treadmills are also great investments for a home because anyone can use them, young or old, to “get in shape.” Put a treadmill in front of a TV or computer screen and you can walk or run while seeing an entertaining show. Indeed, many people do just that– or they listen to music or a favorite radio show. That way the time goes by faster– you’re getting a workout for both your body and your mind at the same time, and it’s especially fun to walk or run in time with the beat of a song you love.

Finally, treadmills, which are conveniently available from JumpUSA, have a way of calling out to you when you pass them by: “Use me! Come here, turn me on, and let’s go!” If you make the investment to have your own treadmill, then in your mind you’ll always be thinking, “I spent the money on this thing so I had better use it.” Plus, “It is right here. I don’t have to drive to a gym to do it. It’s so convenient, I might as well use it.” Having your own treadmill to use when you want to use it is an ideal situation.

Using a treadmill helps people look and feel better, and it’s especially nice to have it at one’s own home, indoors, away from the elements, available at anytime day or night to use.