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A brief history on Medicine Balls
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History of the Medicine Ball
Medicine Ball has been known since the ancient times, training with Medicine ball is one of the oldest conditioning training. They were used by athletes such as wrestlers to increase strength and stamina. First data about medicine ball appears in Persia nearly 3000 years ago, later 2500 years ago the father of medicine Hippocrates use medicine ball for curing and rehabilitation.
The first known forms of medicine ball were often animal bladders or animal skin stuffed with sand. Hippocrates recommended the use of animal skins in rounded form, also stuffed with sand. His patients threw them back and forth for injury prevention and rehabilitation. For better bouncing, balls were also made out of catgut (animal sinew) wound into a sphere and wrapped in leather or deerskin.
Medicine ball appears in the texts of Greek physicians and in drawings of wrestlers. “Someday we will discover drawings of two cavemen throwing a round rock back and forth,” says Istvan Javorek, a former Romanian Olympic weightlifting coach and a member of the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame. “As long as there have been athletes, there have been medicine balls”. The Greek game of Episkyros was later adopted by the Romans, who renamed and transformed it into Harpastum (meaning “the small ball game”).
The middle ages that followed were a dark period for rational physical training, but the noted Renaissance physician Hieronymous Mercurialis brought medical gymnastics back to life in the mid-1500’s. He renewed interest in Greek wisdom.
The German educator Friedrich Froebel added a metaphysical dimension to ball training in the early 1800’s. From its ancient origins, medicine ball training for both the fit and ill found life in American physical culture. Early physical trainers commonly used four hand-held tools. Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett, curator of the Harvard College Gymnasium in the mid-1800s was photographed with them.
The United States Military Academy used medicine balls in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Medicine Ball training gained popularity in Great Britain in the 1930’s.
It has rolled through the centuries, its elemental formula unchanged and unsurpassed: Sphere + gravity = fitness. The medicine ball has toned presidents, altered Olympics and sculpted empires. It has survived wars and plagues.
In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the words “health” and “medicine” were synonymous. The so-called “Four Horsemen of Fitness” were the dumbbell, the Indian club, the wand and the medicine ball. This is where the beginnings of the modern medicine ball originate.
Today the medicine ball serves much the same function as mentioned by Hippocrates. Stay with us and continue to follow our blog if you want to read and learn various facts about Medicine Ball.