08 July, 2011
Tornado Ball Exercises
The Tornado Ball is a piece of exercise equipment developed by Paul Chek. It consists of a solid polyurethane ball that is not unlike a medicine ball, but it has a thick length of sailing rope protruding from its core. It is meant to be swung in a series of exercises that can increase rotational strength and flexibility, overall upper body and core strength, coordination, balance and agility.
For safety and maximum effectiveness, make sure you have a proper grip on the Tornado Ball rope before beginning any exercise. With whichever hand you want to be the dominant hand in your exercise, grasp the rope slightly below the end with your thumb pointing toward the ball. With your other hand, wrap the rope around the dominant hand's wrist twice. Next, let go of the end of the rope with your dominant hand and grab it just below the second loop over your wrist, as if to choke up on the rope and leave the excess wrapped securely around the wrist.
Shoulder rotations are designed to strengthen the shoulders and increase rotational flexibility. They're less intense than most Tornado Ball exercises, so they're an ideal way to get comfortable with the equipment and warm up before more intensive exercise. Make sure you're several feet away from any people or objects before beginning. With either hand, swing the ball at your side in a continuous circle. Your arm should come all the way up to point straight at the ceiling at the top of the rotation, and should be pointed directly at the ground at the bottom of the rotation.
Start slow, then gradually increase your speed to a comfortable level. After about 30 seconds, switch to the other hand and repeat, taking care to resume proper grip. After another 30 seconds, grab your dominant hand with your free hand, and using both arms together, swing the ball in a figure-eight pattern directly in front of you. Again, gradually increase your speed for 30 seconds, then rest.
The wall chop is a basic Tornado Ball exercise, but it is very intense, so it should not be performed longer than about 10 seconds at a time. Stand with your back facing a sturdy brick or concrete wall, with your heels a few inches in front of the wall. Make sure no one is in your immediate area. Grasp the rope properly, then grab your dominant hand with the other hand. When you're ready, swing the ball as hard and quickly as you comfortably can to one side, then immediately to the other, and repeat for up to 10 seconds. The ball will bounce off the wall, helping you maintain a fast rhythm, and you should be able to feel the centrifugal force of the ball throughout each swing. As you go through the movements, keep your head and lower body facing forward -- only your torso should pivot with each swing.
Three-Point Kneeling Chop
For this exercise kneel on a pad on a concrete or rubber floor. Grasp the rope properly and grab your dominant hand with the other hand. Start with the ball resting near your foot on either side. When ready, swing the ball over your head so that it hits the ground at full extension directly in front of you. On the bounce, forcefully swing the ball back to either side so that it hits the ground at full extension slightly behind you and to the side. After this bounce, swing the ball back to the front and center -- and on the following bounce, swing it back and behind you to your opposite side. Continue swinging in this triangular pattern for up to 10 seconds.
- "Tornado Ball Exercises: Stability, Strength, Power"; Paul Chek; 2008
- T-Nation: Tornado Training
- lolostock/iStock/Getty Images