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How to Sell: Medicine Balls

The medicine ball – basically a weighted ball -- is quite simple and one of the oldest fitness training aids in the world. It is a very versatile piece of strength-training equipment, especially useful for core training as well as plyometric training and can be used in everything from football-style exercises to games to sit-ups.


This Training Center article is written by the editors of SNEWS® :

The Basics

  • Know Your Customer and Sell to Their Needs
  • Sell the Workout
  • Stress Versatility
  • Include the Ball as Part of a Larger Regimen
  • Upsell a variety of Balls and a Holding Rack

Top Three Selling Points:

  1. Versatility
  2. Price
  3. Ease of Use
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What Is a Medicine Ball?

The medicine ball – basically a weighted ball — is quite simple and one of the oldest fitness training aids in the world. It is a very versatile piece of strength-training equipment, especially useful for core training as well as plyometric training and can be used in everything from football-style exercises to games to sit-ups.

Medicine balls have changed in the last decades. These are not those gigantic balls your customers pushed back in forth in elementary school gym class. They are weighted leather or rubber balls, usually around the size of a basketball, but available today in a variety of sizes and weights to meet different training and individual’s needs. The aspect that makes the ball such an important strength-and-power training tool is the weight, which can vary from 1 pound up to about 25 pounds.

Retro cool training tool

Weighted balls were used by ancient Greeks, Romans and Persians. There’s even a memorable scene in the Roman-era TV epic I Claudius where future-emperor Tiberius and his brother Germanicus toss a medicine ball back and forth as they talk. The Greek physician Hippocrates—from who we get the Hippocratic Oath—prescribed their use to his patients. And most of us remember Sly Stallone getting serious with the medicine ball in those vintage Rocky montages. So the medicine ball definitely has some retro-cool, gladiator cred to it, but it has also become a favorite with creative modern trainers and pro athletes because it offers so much versatility for strength training for everyone from pros to senior citizens.

It’s a complete training tool. A medicine ball can work any muscle group. More importantly, it trains stabilizers and promotes functional strength, which are benefits that isolated strength training don’t provide. Since it’s often tossed back and forth, it can also develop agility. It’s a great tool for partner exercises and partners of different conditioning levels (couples, families, coaches and athletes) can work together easily. Once a customer develops a training regimen that integrates a medicine ball, it can provide a far less expensive alternative for home training than machines or gyms, or it can be a supplement.

Selling medicine balls

  • Know your customer’s needs: The best aspect of a medicine ball is its versatility. Establish what your customer is looking for (core training? sport-specific agility? a quick home workout?) and most likely there will be a set of medicine ball drills that can adapt. Also, the ball can be useful for elderly customers or pro athletes, so it should be something you can sell to anyone who walks in the door.
  • Stress versatility: Don’t limit your pitch of the ball to one exercise. Remember, the ball can work on a wide range of exercises, satisfying your customer’s initial needs.
  • Sell a workout: The ball by itself is nothing. You need to learn drills to go with it. Suggest books, videos, or trainers to teach your customer how to use it. But don’t limit yourself to one workout. The ball is a component of a whole training program. Sell that larger program too.
  • Use it: Demonstrate the ball for your customer. Make sure you know several exercises to show, including something a little more unusual. It’s easy to demo in the story. You could even be playing around with a medicine ball while customers browse the store to pique interest in the product.
  • Match to a sport: In your initial chat with a customer, find out if they play any sports. The ball can be used to improve a golf swing, a basketball shot, a football toss, etc. Recommend it as a sport-specific product.
  • Talk coupling: There are many partner medicine ball drills. Recommend the ball to couples looking to work out together or even to a father or mother who may want to work out with a son or daughter.
  • Add it on: Show med balls in tandem with other products as an add-on sale for other products they are buying such as a BOSU, step, or rubber resistance.
  • Think price tag, low or high: Customers looking for value will be pleased to buy one small, inexpensive product instead of investing in a complete home gym. Customers buying a complete home gym won’t mind adding on a little extra such as a medicine ball for more versatility in their gym.

Top tips: Selling

  • Recommend professional grade medicine balls with high-density rubber for bouncing and rebounding and a good grip texture so that they are easy to catch.
  • Don’t hesitate to show quick demonstrations on the floor.
  • Make sure customers get their hands on the balls and participate in a few game-like exercises.

Top tips: Merchandising

  • Stock more balls in the more popular mid-weight ranges.
  • Display floor models so that it will be easy for customers to play with them.

In the End

You are selling a workout, so make sure your customer has some education or help. That means either a trainer, or a DVD or book that you may also sell. If your shop works with a trainer or offers training services, this sale can be used to augment those services. Like many products, it may seem like a no-brainer to use but knowing the variety that’s possible will keep your customer interested in both the ball and you as a retailer.