How to Make Your Own Medicine Ball




This instructable will show you how to make your own medicine ball, for use with all different kinds of exercises, for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one!

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Step 1: Get a Basketball!

I bought my basketball from Wal-mart for $6, so you can definitely find one for under $10.
To fill the basketball, you have a few choices:

1.) I cut two slits in the ball, making a triangular flap.
I then taped the flap back, and filled my ball with sand.
Closing a flap is a little messy, but I had intended on taping the ball anyway, so it made my filling quicker.

2.) You could use an awl or a drill to put a hole in one of the black stripes on the ball.
Fill the ball with a small funnel, and then patch with a radial tire patch kit.

Step 2: Fill the Ball

-If you fill using my method, you can use a dowel or a broom handle or something to occasionally pack down the contents as you fill it.
-If you fill using the small hole/funnel method, I think the only thing that you can do to pack down the contents is occasionally shake the ball to make sure that everything settles.

To fill the ball, I used an empty drink pitcher to pour sand through the opening cut in the ball.

Using a bag of play sand purchased from Home Depot ($4), the ball ended up at just below 25 lbs.

Dry sand has a density of around 1600 kilogram/cubic meter
Wet packed sand around 2000 kg/cu.m.
Some lighter household materials that would work for this instructable are:
Coarse salt is around 800 kg/cu.m.
Fine salt is around 1200 kg/cu.m.
Granulated sugar is around 850 cu.m.

Or improvise for your contents!
Just remember, sand makes a pretty heavy medicine ball by itself!

Step 3: Last Preparations & Closing the Ball

After your basketball is filled, make sure it's really packed so that the contents don't settle much once it's sealed.
If using a funnel, tap the ball on a table or floor and attempt to fill more.
If you cut a hole in the ball, you can just compress the contents with your thumbs through the opening.

Make sure that there are no soft spots around the outside of the ball, as these indicate air pockets.
Just push your thumbs around the sides of the soft spot until it fills in,
then settle the contents of your ball and add more if possible.

If you used the funnel method, congratulations! You have much more patience than I do!
And you don't have to wrap your ball in anything to keep it stable or give it grip.
You can fill the hole by following the directions on the back of the radial tire patch kit I had suggested earlier. I haven't actually done this method of sealing, so I'll leave the instructions up to the packaging.

If you used my method, now it's time to seal back the flap on the ball. I glued the flap down with Gorilla Glue, but the glue was probably unnecessary due to the possibly excessive amount of duct tape that I covered the ball with next. I taped three layers of duct tape, gray-black-gray, using the color difference to tell if my taping pattern had indeed covered the ball entirely.

I started at one point on the ball, and taped around the ball, ending at the same spot.
I then taped perpendicular to my first strip of tape in the same fashion, starting from the opposite side of the ball.
Fill in all the surface area using this method, and you're almost guaranteed not to end up with any thick or thin spots of tape on the ball. It should theoretically be rather uniform in shape still.

The taping probably didn't need to be so meticulous, but I go big on details.

Step 4: Add Some Grip, and You're Done!

I found out quickly that duct tape became very slippery after only a few throws,
or a few exercise repetitions.
To solve the problem, I bought a 3 pack of cloth hockey tape from a sporting goods store.
Following the same method of taping that I used with the duct tape in the previous step,
I covered the ball in 3 layers of hockey tape.
The layers go in opposing directions so that even if the tape does start to peel,
only the top layer can peel.
Once you've got your cloth tape on, you're done!

Your very own medicine ball, for a small fraction of the cost of buying one!
The heavier you go with the ball, the more money you essentially saved.
Heavy medicine balls can be upwards of $80 depending on where you buy.
And good luck even finding some of the medicine balls above 12 lbs or so.

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    28 Discussions


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I thought about it, but haven't tried it yet. The ball would be lighter (I think) since common sense makes me think the density of sand is more than the density of water. But I sure wouldn't want to risk any of the seams bursting if it WERE filled with water.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    sand is more dense then water, but water fills more area. Something "filled" with sand is probably about 1/3 air.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    True. I still don't think you'll be able to cram 3 and 1/8 gallons of water into one basketball though. So the sand will still be heavier, air and all.


    Reply 3 years ago

    But if use a plastic bag as a liner, fill that with sand, then add water to fill in the gaps, you would optimize the amount of weight you achieve.

    Not only that but you can add only the right amount of water to gain the desired weight.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks. I made one like how you described. Yes sand alone is heavy so in making the second I used packing peanuts mixed with sand so it wouldn't be too heavy.kickballs work good too.


    Reply 2 years ago

    That's a good idea with a stability ball. Easier to fill with water.


    3 years ago

    Will this hold up when you do medicine ball slams, or will it likely break/burst?


    4 years ago on Introduction



    oh yesh, this is awesome. I love to do 'ABCs' with a medicine ball, but my 6lb ball us getting too easy, and I can't afford a heavier one. Fortunately I have the materials for this! I will post photos when it's all done.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work

    If you have access to a metal stamping shop, try asking for some small metal slugs to fill the ball... My basketball is only 3/4 full and weighs about 25 pounds, I find the ball pretty easy to hold.



    Just a tip for your consideration....apply a back massager (or anything that vibrates) to the side of the ball while filling it up. This way the air will work it's way out and more sand can fit in.


    9 years ago on Step 4

    Thanks for the great instructable. I have been looking for a cheap medicine ball and this is perfect.


    9 years ago on Step 2

    I've found cutting the top of a soda/ water bottle works well as a funnel.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    you should fill it to nearly the brim with sand then miz with some water the sand will expand making it Alot heavier


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I followed this instructable a couple months back with a deflated basketball I found while on a run. My ball came out to exactly 20lbs. I use it for ab work mostly. Great job!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    awsome instructable, I can't wait to do this over thanksgiving break I think that if someone is smart enough to make one of these for themselves then they should be smart enough to know not to drop it on thier foot. LOL