We have been throwing different size exercise balls lately. Tossing them against a trampoline in a movement we call rebounding. The exercise also involves practice with targeting. The trampoline rebounds the ball back to me, where I’m required to make the catch. The ball then gets thrown back against the trampoline, repeating the cycle. For years, we used an exercise ball that weighed ten-pounds. It had soft sides, which limited the pain it would cause if the rebound catch was missed. Recently Bernard has placed different types of exercise balls into my hands. Attempting to progress the movement forward by adding more challenge. In his first attempt to move forward he placed a smaller ball in my hands. This one a little lighter in weight and smaller in circumference. The major difference was the firmer exterior. Meaning that if the rebound catch went missed, this ball could hurt. The smaller ball, though adding challenge in many places, wasn’t especially challenging to adjust to using. We only worked with it during one session of the trampoline rebound exercise. Bernard might have been feeling like he could produce something more challenging. Which he came up with this past week. It surprised me when he placed the 20-pounder exercise ball in my hands. Made of the same material as the 10-pound ball, this one had an unforgiving exterior from the weight. Bernard had mixed in the heavier ball with the lighter 10-pounder. Having me use one for five reps and the other for the same. My struggles with the 20-pound ball over the previous few months, had me thinking he would move away from its use.
Using the 20-pound exercise ball was tough from the beginning. Even when it was being worked in with the 10-pounder. The extra weight made it challenging to handle. Getting it above my head in order to launch it against the trampoline. Then, I had a 20-pound object flying back toward me, without knowing if it would catch me or I would catch it. Over those first few times, it took my entire body to catch the 20-pounder. It would hit by hands, power past them, and get cradled against my body. The hands weren’t strong enough to secure the heavier ball on their own. There was actually some fear being felt when the heavier ball was added. During this rebounding movement, we stand in from of some racks, holding workout equipment. Always making me feel like losing my balance backward wouldn’t feel nice. I was convinced this heavier ball would come shooting off the trampoline and hurl me backwards. So, the first few times, I was more concerned with not falling backwards. It was the beginning point of comfort I needed to achieve. An understanding that at the very least, my body could put a stop to this balls trajectory. Doing so without me falling over. Once that was determined, I could work on how to catch the thing. With all of the internal struggles around using the 20-pound ball to rebound. I was surprised when Bernard took away the rotation with the 10-pounder. Having me move to only using the 20-pound exercise ball for the trampoline rebounding exercise.
Now, the 20-pounder was going to be the only ball used in the rebounding exercise. We would start doing 10 repetitions with the 20-pounder. It would increase the challenge of the movement. Catching the ball off the trampoline required everything the other two balls required. The hand-eye coordination to watch the ball into the hands. Along with the coordination to make the catch. The added weight brought about new elements. My wrists would be required to exhibit more strength and stability. Trying to catch the heavier ball in my hands. Instead of allowing this exercise ball to hit my hands, eventually becoming cradled by my arms and body. Achieving the catch with just my hands would help monumentally with hand stability. Because the ball was so heavy in weight, there was nowhere for my hands to hide. If the fingers weren’t fully extended and the hands sturdily ready to handle the rebound. There was almost no chance of making a clean catch. Meaning only using my hands to handle the rebound reception. The occasions of making the clean catches were feeling unexpected to begin. Each time giving me an intense sense of accomplishment. The rare emotion making all the hard work feel worth our commitment.
Working with this heavier exercise ball didn’t seem possible just weeks ago. When the 20-pound ball was nearly knocking me off balance. At least making me feel it was possible to fall over. But, with each set of using this ball, catching improved. At first, getting to five reps comfortably. Then, feeling there was little possibility of making it to ten repetitions. It took really concentrating from the reps of six through ten. Those last four repetitions have been most often caught with my forearms and body. Having challenges as my hands begin getting tired during each set. I find myself getting to points of feeling like I can hardly lift the ball for the toss. My faith remains, that I will improve on working with the 20-pounder. Just as working with the 10-pound exercise ball was challenging to begin. The hands and wrists will become stronger and better balanced. My coordination will improve, making the rebounding easier like it has been before. The process will help in many of my daily activities. In which, the hands are relied upon. I have experienced it with so many movements we have improved through progression. Something like typing becomes all the sudden more efficient. It often hits me out of the blue. All the work we have done is making this task less challenging.