Product Type: Powerball Fitness
Newest Review: ... what I was looking for. And for 10 pounds how could you not simple just give it a go. When you unbox the item you get a very simple and e... more
The Weird and Wonderful Workout Widget!
Powerball 250 Hz
Member Name: DonPaolo
Powerball 250 Hz
Advantages: Fun, challenging, genuine benefits
Disadvantages: No LCD display to track your progress
Many of you will be wondering what a "Powerball" actually is, and until a few months ago, I wouldn't have been able to help you. I now own 2 of the strange things, and use them regularly, so here goes...
The Powerball 250 Hz is the basic model. I also now own a White Pro Signature model, which I reviewed a couple of weeks after I bought it, but having owned both for several months now, I feel I am much better placed to tell you about them.
I bought these on a whim, having heard that they were a good aid for sportsmen and women, and could be used for a 'non-impact' workout, or for therapy for sports-related injuries of the wrist and arm, as well as just being fun. First I'll let you know what they are...
<<< About "Powerballs" >>>
A powerball is spherical and around the size of a tennis ball, but heavier. It contains a weighted gyroscope, and the idea is that you start the gyroscope moving and maintain the movement via controlled and rhythmic motions of your hand. Following this, you can gradually make smaller, faster movements which increase the rotation speed of the gyroscope, thus generating a greater internal force - it becomes a challenge to maintain higher speeds, and the muscles and tendons in your hand and arm work hard to keep up the momentum. That's the concept anyway...
<<< Frustration >>>
At first, I really could not get the powerball to 'work'. Holding the powerball firmly in your hand, you start the internal gyroscope by feeding a cord through the ball, winding it up around the internal mechanism, and then giving a sharp tug on the cord to begin the spinning. This feels like a small rumbling in the palm of your hand, and it's now up to you to manually maintain the momentum. The best way to describe the motion is to keep your arm relatively still but to roll your wrist in wide, slow circles, but I am certain you will not get it right immediately.
Many times the gyroscope clattered loudly against the inside of the casing and sputtered to a halt, or I thought I had the rhythm but the ball became slower and slower before stopping. You will need patience and persistence, and the help of a few youtube technique videos to get started, but when you do get it right, it's a very strange sensation.
<<< What's the Big Deal? >>>
Maintaining the motion in the first step, and then you have to speed it up in order to push the powerball further. The powerball really can generate substantial forces, and it won't be long before you increase the speed so much that it feels as if the ball will escape from your hand! It's for this exact reason that some models come wit ha wrist strap to prevent you from dropping the powerball and damaging it, or something else nearby!
The principle is very clever; the stronger the muscles in your wrist and arm, the greater the momentum you will be able to achieve, and the greater the momentum, the more strength it takes to keep the ball under control. The way your muscles are stimulated isn't immediately obvious, but soon your arm will begin to ache and you will really feel as if you are working hard.
<<< Does it Work? >>>
Powerballs were initially developed as a training aid, designed to work various muscles in your hand, wrist, arm, and shoulders. They are also praised for their role in rehabilitation from carpal tunnel syndrome and similar conditions. Thirdly, for those who get the hang of them, it's also a bit of fun!
I wanted to use the powerballs to aid a regular workout, to increase my grip strength, and to help my wrist strength and technique in games like squash and badminton. I've been using them most days for a few months now and found the following:
- The powerball has helped me tone my arms, and especially my forearms in a noticeable way. To achieve this it's necessary to always push for higher speeds and 'embrace the ache'.
- The powerball has not turned me into the hulk; it can help with toning and conditioning, but will not result in you building masses of muscle.
- My forearms and wrists feel much stronger and sturdier when playing racquet sports, letting me hit the ball harder with a better action.
<<< The 250 Hz Model >>>
The major difference between this and the Pro model, and definitely the major shortcoming, is the lack of an LCD display. On the Pro model, the display can tell you the number of revolutions, and the highest speed achieved, which is incredibly useful for making sure you push harder and achieve better results each time. It's also fun to use this as a contest wit friends, and see who can achieve the highest speeds!
<<< A load of balls, but which one to buy? >>>
Once you get beyond the initial novelty value, some people will embrace the powerball, and others will quickly forget and fall out of love with it. For me, it is a great challenge, and a fun aid to a regular workout, which I have definitely felt benefits from.
Personally I would recommend the Pro model with the LCD display as opposed to this 250Hz regular model, but this is a good starting point to test whether you really will take to it...
Summary: A great starter powerball, but you really should go for the Pro!