One piece of equipment that I recently stumbled upon is the tornado ball. If you are unfamiliar with what this device is just from the name alone, it is essentially a medicine ball attached to a rope. The rope allows to you swing the ball in many different directions and patterns, and is a great way to build shoulder and core strength.
The tornado ball was created by Paul Chek. Paul is one of the premier exercise and training experts in the world. He is a practitioner, educator, inventor, and a writer among many other things! He hold numerous patents for his creations and even has an entire program focused on teaching exercise and healthcare practitioners about his methods. Paul also has an interest in golf and has written a very significant book, The Golf Biomechanic's Manual.
When looking to purchase a ball, they come in a variety of different weights, with common sizes ranging from 2 pounds up to 10 pounds. Obviously, if you are a beginner, starting with a lighter weight is highly recommended until you have mastered both the grip and the proper technique.
Amazon has a handful of choices for different tornado balls, but this set offers a lot of versatility and choices in resistance levels:
One key note for many of these core strengthening exercises is that you must have a sturdy wall! And by sturdy, I mean concrete/cinder block or anything else that will allow the ball to rebound and won't be damaged by the large force present at impact.
Just like with a golf club, utilizing the proper grip with a tornado ball is extremely important. This is true not only to maximize the benefit from the particular exercise but also to help reduce the potential for injury.
Start by grasping the rope a few inches down from the end. Next, grab the rope with your other hand and wrap it around your wrist twice, so that it forms an X across the back of your hand. Hold your arm out directly in front of you and then release your grip( with the first hand) from the current position and grasp further down on the rope as it hangs in front of you. Finally, wrap your other hand around the one grasping the rope, and you are ready to go!
I know that may seem kind of confusing, so that is why I included this video as well :
1. Standing Double Arm Rotation
-Grip the rope accordingly and stand with your back against a sturdy wall.
-Stand with a wide base, shoulder width or slightly wider. Bend your knees slightly. keep your head and your hips facing forward throughout the entire exercise.
-Engage your abdominal muscles and begin swinging the ball rapidly from side to side, slamming the ball against the wall. The ball will bounce off of the wall allowing you to maintain momentum while you move side to side.
-This is one of the more intense tornado ball exercises, and should only be performed in repetitions of 10-15 seconds.
2. Seated Overhead Chops
-Sit on the ground, with your legs in front of you with your knees slightly bent. Also, make sure that your back is straight.
-Grasp the rope using the above mentioned grip.
-The intention is to rapidly move your arms from side to side in a "rainbow" type fashion overhead. The ball will slam against the ground and rebound up allowing your to quickly transition to the other side.
3. Single Arm Diagonal Chop
-Grasp the rope accordingly with your right arm, and stand with your back against a sturdy wall. The setup position is very similar to the Standing Rotation Exercise mentioned above.
-The goal is to make a diagonal, across the body motion. With your right arm, lift the ball up and the to right quickly so that it makes contact with the wall at your shoulder/head level.
-Rapidly chop down and to the left so that the ball impacts at around the level of your left knee. Repeat!
-Of course, perform this on each side!
4. Single Arm Horizontal Chop
-This is a great exercise for specific rotator cuff strengthening. Grasp the tornado ball with your right hand using the method mentioned above.
-Stand against a sturdy wall with knees slightly bent, and feet shoulder width, or slightly wider.
-Bend your right elbow to a 90 degree angle, and keep your upper arm against your side.
-Begin to rotate your arm at your shoulder in and out, slamming to ball against the wall to your right, and then across your body to the wall at your left.
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