So much focus is placed on larger pieces of exercise equipment, such as machines and racks.
These machines are great for what they’re used for, but smaller pieces of equipment allow us to execute quick and highly effective workouts without bells and whistles.
Sometimes, you don’t need to break out the big guns to focus on specific muscle groups, and tools like medicine balls or agility ladders allow us to do just that.
If you’re looking to refine specific skills or put additional focus on certain muscles, having an agility ladder and a medicine ball in your home gym will allow you to get in some remedial practice.
Maybe your legs are right where you want them, but your arms deserve a little more focus.
Maybe you’re comfortable with the speed at which you can run, but you don’t feel agile enough to tackle challenging hikes or obstacle courses.
Practice makes perfect, and these tools allow us to specialize our practice.
Targeted focus delivers real, visible results that are easy to track and measure.
If you want fine-tuned control over your personal fitness goals, supplementing your arsenal of heavy duty workout equipment with a few small pieces for spot training is the only way to go.
Using Medicine Balls
Medicine balls are for more than just weight training.
There are certain exercises where it is unsafe to use something like a barbell, because it’s difficult to balance.
You can’t bounce or throw a barbell safely, which limits which muscle groups you’re able to engage. Medicine balls have been used in gyms for decades because they serve a purpose the barbells simply cannot.
Using a wall as your workout partner, you can throw and catch your medicine ball.
You’re gaining strength while improving your coordination at the same time. Nobody wants to get hit with a ball that heavy, and your eyes will have to stay sharp.
Another advantage of using medicine balls over barbells while exercising is the balance they provide.
Barbells balance their weights on the left and the right, where medicine balls balance from the center. This means your action of lifting, hugging, or pressing the medicine ball will have to serve as its counterbalance.
It’s a little more challenging to use a medicine ball because the weight is so dense, but the result is a more concentrated focus on your active muscle groups.
Using Agility Ladders
Agility ladders serve a purpose that is vastly underrepresented by other pieces of exercise equipment.
If you want to become lightning fast, develop cat-like balance, and teach your brain and muscles to communicate at maximum speed, you’ll need an agility ladder for this purpose.
Every agility ladder exercise is basically a running drill.
You’ll use the spacing of the rungs and the outer walls of the ladder as a grid while running and jumping.
Having clear points of focus drives your brain to think a little harder, incorporating your mind into your exercise routine. In doing this, you train yourself to have better mastery over the way your body interacts with your workout.
The Best Medicine Balls
Despite how straightforward medicine balls seem, they aren’t all created equal.
Depending on your level of fitness and current skill, you may need to make some special considerations when it comes to purchasing your medicine ball.
1. AmazonBasics Medicine Ball
If you’re a beginner or you don’t need intense training, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a regular medicine ball.
The AmazonBasics Medicine Ball is all you’ll need for the light stuff. It comes in three sizes – 8 pounds, 10 pounds, and 12 pounds.
When you’re just starting out, sticking to an 8 pound ball is the wisest option.
Since these medicine balls are so affordable, you can always purchase the next size up when you’ve outgrown your need for the smallest one.
These are also a great alternative for people who won’t be using their medicine balls every day.
You won’t need a heavy duty medicine ball if it’s not going to be put through intense use that would increase the risk of damage.
The durable rubber coating and the textured grip surface will provide you with everything you need.
2. Empower Fingertip Grip Medicine Ball
If your hands get sweaty or you have a weak grip, you may find that the surface of regular medicine balls don’t feel secure enough while you’re using them.
If you’re worried the ball is going to fly out of your hand, or it feels to difficult to grasp properly, you’ll love the innovative design of the Empower Fingertip Grip ball. Most other medicine balls have a rubberized surface that’s similar to a basketball, but with more divots.
Empower really breaks the mold.
The grips on the Empower ball are large, oval shaped indentations.
They’ll grab onto the palms of your hands, and your fingertips will have a deeper place to rest. Since the grips cover more surface area on your hand, you’re less likely to accidentally throw or drop the ball.
If you want peace of mind with your medicine ball, these special grips will keep you safe.
3. Valor Fitness Slam Ball
Valor makes equipment for hardcore workout pros, and the Slam Ball is no exception.
While most medicine balls only come in low weights, the Slam Ball goes as high as 50 pounds.
If you plan on making your medicine ball a regular part of your workout routine, you may find that most medicine balls come in low maximum weight variants. Valor shatters this stereotype.
Using a Slam Ball means you’ll be able to graduate to heavier weights as you become more comfortable using your medicine ball.
As you gain strength, go for the next size up. The Slam Ball is also great for experienced lifters, who won’t see benefits from using a traditional low-weight medicine ball.
If you’ve already got a few years of experience under your belt, opt for one of Valor’s heavier alternatives.
The Best Agility Ladders
There are inexpensive agility ladders that will get the job done when used infrequently, and heavy duty agility ladders that will last you for the rest of your life.
Think about how you intend to use your agility ladder before you make your purchase.
1. Yes4All Durable Agility Ladder
Yes4All’s agility ladder is just as basic as they come, and they’re also a great value for the price.
Coming in varieties of 8 rungs, 12 rungs, and 20 rungs, they’re inexpensive enough to purchase as a complete set to help you improve your agility skill.
The nylon and plastic construction makes these ladders affordable, but the quality of the materials makes them durable enough for light use.
This agility ladder is a equipped with a snap-button system that will allow you to just the positioning and rungs on the ladder.
If you want to expand an existing ladder or reduce it for more focused agility exercises, it’s simple and convenient with Yes4All’s version.
2. Speedonym Non-Adjustable Agility Ladder
It may seem like a drawback that Speedonym’s agility ladder is not adjustable, but a lot of people will find that it’s exactly what they need.
This ladder is the standard size and specifications for professional agility ladders – 12 flat rungs, spaced at exactly 17 inches apart.
The vast majority of agility ladder workouts can be executed with this ladder.
Another bonus of a non-adjustable ladder is that it’s less likely to be damaged. It doesn’t have any moving parts, and its construction is solid.
Since it’s not made to be taken apart, the materials are a lot more durable than most on the market.
3. Power Systems Pro Agility Ladder
Power Systems makes the most hardcore agility ladders on the market, and that’s why so many professional training gyms use this brand.
They’re a lot more expensive than alternatives, but it’s worth the money. It’s nearly impossible to break them, and the size is so large that users will never outgrow them.
They’re also much heavier than other agility ladders, and the weight means they’re less likely to slip and slide while someone is using them.
The Power Systems Pro Agility Ladder also comes with a unique feature that’s exclusive to the brand. Since most ladders snap or slide for adjustment, they sometimes become weaker from overuse of their adjustable parts.
The Power Systems ladder adjusts with heavy duty latches, which will not damage the sides or lose integrity over time.
It may be an expensive investment initially, but you’ll probably never need to replace this agility ladder.
Sometimes, a few small equipment additions can be all that’s standing between you and your ambitious fitness goals.
Agility ladders and medicine balls are simple solutions to common issues, and it’s worth spending a few bucks to tie up the loose ends in your workout routine.