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A medicine ball (also known as an exercise ball, a med ball, or a fitness ball) is a weighted ball roughly the diameter of the shoulders (approx. 13.7 inches), often used for rehabilitation and strength training. The medicine ball also serves an important role in the field of sports medicine. However, it should not be confused with the larger, inflated exercise ball.
Medicine balls are usually sold as 2–25 lb (1–11 kg) balls and are used effectively in plyometric weight training to increase explosive power in athletes in all sports. Some medicine balls are up to 14" wide and up to 14 lbs weight, or in the form of weighted basketballs. Modern exercise balls are larger, up to 36" diameter.
Hippocrates is said to have stuffed animal skins for patients to toss for “medicinal” purposes. Persia in 1705 used similar large balls. The term "medicine ball" dates back to at least 1876, in American Gymnasia and Academic Record, where Robert J. Roberts claims to have originated the name, after a story of a sick king who was cured by rolling a large ball filled with herbs (reprinted in Good Health, vol. 51, 1916), or 1894, in Education by Plays and Games, or 1895 when the term "medicine" was synonymous with health as in the "art dealing with the maintenance of health".
- "Merriam Webster - Medicine Ball". Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- Internicola, Dorene (6 October 2014). "Medicine balls are ancient fitness tools that keep bouncing back". Reuters. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Merriam Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 21 April 2015.