Hoover-Ball is fun for all

Having fun while exercising is not an oxymoron. 

Why should kids be the only ones having fun while running, jumping and playing? As adults, we can have our workout and enjoy it too! 

And what better way to spend a holiday workout on Labor Day then to have a little fun with a game. 

Enter Hoover-Ball. The game, played with a 4 or 6 pound medicine ball, was invented by 31st President Herbert Hoover’s personal physician Admiral Joel T. Boone to keep him fit, according to the Hoover Presidential Foundation. 

Sports Illustrated summed it up well back in the day: 

"Two teams of three players heave a six-pound leather ball back and forth across an eight-foot high net. This cannot be accomplished graciously."

Basically, it’s tennis with a medicine ball. Hello, core. 

 Hoover-ball is traditionally played with a volleyball net. But for this Labor Day Spears Strong workout, tennis courts work too. It was some action packed 3-on-3. 

Hoover-ball is traditionally played with a volleyball net. But for this Labor Day Spears Strong workout, tennis courts work too. It was some action packed 3-on-3. 

The game is scored and played like tennis. The server throws the ball. The opponent must catch it on the fly and immediately return it, attempting to put it where it cannot be reached and returned. The side that misses the ball or throws it out of bounds loses the point, according to the Hoover Presidential Museum. 

Here are the complete rules but house rules trump all. For Monday’s workout, Jonathan had us playing on a tennis court at the end of the workout. Smiles, laughter and heavy breathing ensued. 

The game gets you working all of your muscles while revving up your competitive sprit. Below is a video from the Hoover Presidential Foundation that shows just how it's done. 

"It required less skill than tennis, was faster and more vigorous, and therefore gave more exercise in a short time," Hoover wrote in his memoirs. 

Boone and Hoover designed the game in 1928 after bull-in-the-ring, a medicine-ball game popular on naval ships Hoover learned about while on his way back from a goodwill trip to South America, according to the Hoover Presidential Museum. In bull-in-the-ring, players stand in a circle as the “bull” in the center tries to intercept it. 

And it was popular with the elite crowd around Hoover. About 18 people who made up the “Medicine Ball Cabinet” would show up daily to the lawn of the White House every morning except Sunday to play, almost always outside. 

Ray Lyman Wilbur wrote in his memoirs: “Only absence from Washington kept us away. We paid no attention to the weather except for a very heavy rain. We played in cold and wind, snow and rain, and in the four years we were driven indoors only two or three times, because of an unusually drenching downpour."

And the game is still popular today. The National Hoover Ball Championship is held every August in West Branch, Iowa, Hoover’s birthplace. 

Hoover-Ball, a total body workout, fits right in with Spears Strong's mission to get you fit while having fun. You never know what to expect at a Spears Strong workout. But be sure if you come often enough, Hoover-ball is bound to make an appearance.  

 That Hoover-ball took flight.

That Hoover-ball took flight.