Wednesday, 25 May 2011

How to make a medicine ball (Attempt 1)

Making a homemade medicine ball.

Note - I have since made a second medicine ball and took more progress pictures while making it.

I’ve wanted a medicine ball for awhile now, mostly for backyard training, and for weighted hikes (I love weighted hikes), but the commercial ones I’ve seen for sale are around the NZ$100 mark for only 5-10Kg. So I looked into making my own and found lots of articles showing how to make one at home with a basketball. So I went out a bought myself a basketball (size 9 for NZ$8), and used the sand I had left over from making my Bulgarian training bags. The sand cost only NZ$6 for a 25kg bag. So the main materials needed are super cheap.

So my build ended up being a two and a half hour ordeal, but you can all learn from my mistakes and could probably do it in 30min - 1 hour max.
Here’s the how to:

The basketball I got was flat packed so I blew it up and let it sit for an hour or so.
- Mistake one, if you buy a flat pack ball leave it blown up overnight or for a week or something to work out the folds, otherwise it makes it hard to get a nice round ball.

I then drilled a hole through the valve to fit my funnel.
- This was the strongest part of the ball so it made sense, but next time I might save the valve so the ball can be pumped up so it’s super round and hard, if that’s what you want.

So I put my funnel in and loaded it up with sand, and nothing happened
- My sand was not as dry as I had hoped, so I ended up forcing wet sand through the funnel with a stick for 2 hours, not fun. Use dry fine sand. It might cost more, or be harder to find, but well worth the hassle

I packed mine super tight, since I wanted a perfect round ball, as heavy as I could get it. Final weight was just over 10.5kg, or 23lb.
- Next time I might consider a larger ball, less packed. This ball is super hard, but I'd like another one with a bit of give in the sand, it will be kinder to my shoulder that way.

I finished it by packing in some cotton balls, then a small piece of folded paper to keep the sand off the sugru patch. I used sugru because I think it is amazingly useful, and I had some around, but you could use a tire/ball patch or epoxy, or even just layers of duct tape. Finally I finished it with some duct tape. Note – Sugru is awesome stuff, it’s like a silicone epoxy prefect for all kinds of mods, hacks and repairs.

Finally all done and I'm really happy with it, I'd say it’s perfect for lifting and throwing, but not slams. For slams it would need to be wrapped up in something to protect the ball, and the ground.
After taking it for a short hike (1 hour and 15 minutes) I’m happy to say it worked very well. I carried it on each shoulder, over head and out in front. It was somewhat difficult swapping it between positions, which is what I wanted, to get lots of different muscles working in different ways. I would say this weight activated more muscles than when I walk with my Bulgarian bag since I have to carry the ball with my hands and move it around as opposed to resting in on my shoulders the whole way.

May 2011

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